My usual visit to the Netherlands started this time in a special way! During the first two weeks, Aei Ling, Aric’s sister, stayed with us in Amsterdam. As it was her first visit to the Netherlands, we showed her many of the Dutch tourist destinations. Here is a report.
Monday 15 April
We arrived early morning at Schiphol airport, took the train to Amsterdam Zuid station and decided to walk to my apartment, although it was only a few degrees above zero! Just outside the station we saw our first tulips 🙂
After a few hours rest (and having our first Dutch strawberries) , we went into town. It was cold but sunny and everywhere the “cherry” trees were in full bloom. Aei Ling would have liked to ride a bicycle, but I thought that would not be wise…:-)
We took the metro to the center of the town, the Dam square with the National Monument.
Back home we had our first Dutch dinner. Of course with potatoes.
Tuesday 16 April
We visited the windmills of the Zaanse Schans, one of the top tourist attractions of the Netherlands. Several of the mills are working and you can visit them. In this picture Aei Ling is standing on the jetty at the left.
After coming home, we had another Dutch traditional dinner, mussels with fries. Yummie.
Wednesday 17 April
Our destination was the Muiderslot, one of the historical castles in the Netherlands. We took a ferry from Amsterdam, which lands at the castle itself, a very romantic approach.
The history of the castle goes back to 1280. In the 17th century P.C. Hooft, a Dutch writer and poet has been living in the castle, many of the rooms are furnished in the style of the Dutch Golden Age. It must have been many decades ago that I visited this castle, so it was a nice experience for me too.
It was my 75th birthday and I had invited a few people for dinner at the Zoku restaurant. A very pleasant evening.
Thursday 18 April
My sister Lous had offered to show us around in the tulip fields of North-Holland. We arrived by train, enjoyed their garden and had lunch with them.
The Keukenhof is the most famous flower garden of the Netherlands, crowded with tourists from all over the world. Not many people know about the Poldertuin in Anna Paulowna, a miniature Keukenhof, quiet and F.O.C ! We were lucky, it was a perfect time to visit.
There were so many species of tulips, daffodils, etc, that I kept taking pictures…:-)
After visiting the garden, Lous and Arend drove us around through the flower fields.
We visited one garden where you could pick your own tulips, for 25 euro cents per flower.
We had dinner near the beach, it was not cold, we could even sit outside.
We stayed overnight, enjoying a beautiful sunset.
Friday 19 April
The famous Cheese Market of Alkmaar was the destination for this day. Arend dropped us near the Waagplein, where the market is held every Friday morning. It is a colorful spectacle, attracting massive crowds of (mostly foreign) visitors. Background information can be found here.
It is a honour to become a cheese carrier and you need years of training. Each cheese weighs 12-13 kg, and a barrow carries eight of them. The market started in 1365 and the whole process is steeped in tradition.
Alkmaar is a beautiful historic town, where you could easily spend hours.
We took a train back to Amsterdam and had a late lunch in the Pancake Bakery, one of Aric’s favourite eateries. And at home a late dinner with escargots. By the way, Aei Ling is drinking 0.0 % alcohol beer, getting more and more popular these days .. 🙂
Saturday 20 April
The Amstelpark is in walking distance from my apartment. Many years ago I had visited in this park the rhododendron valley, and after breakfast we tried our luck. It was a nice , easy 20 minute walk to the park, you can easily forget that you are in a suburb of Amsterdam.
And lucky we were, the rhododendrons were in full bloom
Near the park a beautiful windmill is located, the Riekermolen (1636). Almost any time of the day tourist buses stop here., we had to wait a bit for a picture without people ..:-)
Before walking home we had lunch in the park. I had an uitsmijter, a visit to the Netherlands is not complete for me without this traditional lunch of fried eggs with ham and cheese on bread 🙂
Later we went out again, because a tourist visit to Amsterdam is also not complete without a visit to the Red Light district. Too many tourists, the ladies of the night are not happy about it and often close the curtains of their rooms.
It is actually a beautiful, old part of the town.
We had snack food at a FEBO outlet, a typical Dutch institution with vending machines for the different foods provided.
Sunday 21 April
Easter Sunday! My friend Inez had invited us for lunch. With eggs, that is the tradition.
In the afternoon we visited the Vondelpark where lots of people were enjoying the nice weather and even sunbathing. We joined them and also had a look at the Boomzagertje, a hidden jewel near the Leidseplein
The next day we took the train to Paris, where we stayed four days. I have written a separate post about it, Paris, April 2019, and continue this one, after we came back to Amsterdam.
Saturday 27 April
Koningsdag! The celebration of the King’s birthday is very popular in the Netherlands. Unfortunately the weather was not very favourable this year, cold with rain showers. But of course we went to town. The Vondelpark is a huge freemarket on this day, where kids try to earn a few coins by playing music etc. Pity that it was so cold.
Sunday 28 April
My friend Yolanda is singing in a choir and they were performing Mozart’s Requiem in the Dominicus church this Sunday afternoon. Before the concert we had apple pie in restaurant Winkel 43, supposedly the best apple pie in town 🙂
It was a beautiful concert, in a beautiful church.
After the concert we had a drink in a cafe nearby with Yolanda (left) and friends.
Monday 29 April
Aei Ling was flying back in the evening, still time enough for a last activity, a visit to Leiden. During my last stay in Holland I had “rediscovered” this beautiful town, near my “hometown”, see my report Leiden 2018
Only a few pictures here, to give an impression.
Then it was time to say goodbye. It was very nice to have Aei Ling as our guest!