Written by Iztok
Aug 27th 2014
I felt a bit odd exploring Amsterdam. A bit old and out of place. Like I had come there 20 years too late. Don't get me wrong. Amsterdam was as lovely and lively and special as they had always said it would have been, but there was something missing.
Until I decided to take my family on a little day trip.
We couldn't decide where to go, really. Considering several options, we took an advice to check Volendam. Being fairly close, with a beautiful countryside in-between is probably what sold the idea, so off we went.
Volendam is NE of Amsterdam, just some 20 km away, which takes less than 30 minutes’ drive through a beautiful countryside and lovely farms. It wasn't for the first time we were missing our bicycles. I knew Holland had an excellent network but the number of people using bikes still surprised me.
We left the car on the outskirts of Volendam and decided to attach ourselves to an organized tourist group.
They should know where to go, right?
They did take an interesting route through narrow streets, full of picturesque houses (at least one quite fed up of tourists), across little canals, right to the cheese factory which also serves as museum and shop. It hit me I was in a municipality of Edam.
Being a lovely sunny day we didn't spend too much time inside and just rather hang out ouside and although a small town it was really lively and vibrant. I did treat my kids with a special treatment though.
They strangely asked for a fish therapy. It sounded beneficial for skin, so we bought the tickets. They took off their shoes and socks, dip their feet in a water and immediately put a big grin on their faces. Fish ran into them like crazy. We had such a big laugh out of it and amazed how soft their skin was after the therapy was over.
Our day trip didn't end in Volendam though. For some reason windmills had eluded us thus far in Holland, except one in Amsterdam, so we decided to continue our trip to Zaanse Schans. It was less than half an hour away from Volendam, NW of Amsterdam.
Zaanse Schans is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the region, with almost a million visitors each year. It is a collection of historic windmills and houses. With tourist, domestic animals and wildlife it doesn't look like an open museeum at all.
We didn't stay for long though. Parking costs € 8 for a day ticket, but only € 1 for 30 minutes. Thus we hurried up a bit.
We were more than satisfied at the end, though. At least I finally got what I felt I came to see in Holland.
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