Back from the Netherlands:

Hello Friends!

Today’s post will be structured a bit differently! I’m going to give you all the run-down of my time in the Netherlands in an itinerary based way, if that even makes any sense haha! It’s a bit of a long/chatty post, so grab yourself a cuppa or a snack and read on! 


Where: Amsterdam, Netherlands | Haamstede, Netherlands | Haarlem, Netherlands

When: February 15th – 18th, 2017

Day 1: February 15th — Arriving in Amsterdam:

  • We had to take the train to get to Haamstede, Netherlands which is where our airbnb was located in.
  • The train was easy enough to understand, but for some odd reason, we couldn’t get the train doors to open at our stop. We ended up missing our stop, having to get off at the wrong stop, waiting 40 minutes for the next train back to our actual stop! —  We didn’t know this at the time, but if we hadn’t made the train back, we would’ve had to walk all the way to our bnb, in the freezing cold. It would’ve at least made for a good story!
  • By the time we reached the bnb it was already 1 in the morning, and we hadn’t eaten anything since lunch! Unfortunately since we were staying in a quite a small town there was nothing open. Thankfully we all had some snacks on us, but it definitely was an interesting meal. My dinner consisted of a bag of crisps (chips) and chocolate oat crackers. Very healthy and nutritious I know!!
  • We had yet to plan for our day tomorrow, so we spent a good hour or two planning out our itinerary and ended up getting to bed at good ‘ol 3:30 in the morning!

Day 2: February 16th — Exploring Amsterdam:

  • I forced myself to get up at 9:30 am to get ready for our day ahead, only to find that my friends were still asleep!
  • We didn’t end up leaving for Amsterdam until about 3 in the afternoon haha sleep got the better of us!
  • Due to our late start we didn’t make it to the Van Gogh museum in time!
  • Instead we spent the time walking around Amsterdam and getting the feel for the city! — Which is never a bad idea!
  • We walked by and took pictures with the “I AMsterdam” sign, as typical tourists would do!
  • It was bloody freezing, so we headed to a cafe to chill — or rather warm — yes a terrible joke I’m sorry!! 
  • Before heading back to our bnb we went to an area in Amsterdam where you can see multiple canal bridges from one spot! The bridges were all lit up with lights which made for a pretty sight!

Day 3: February 17th — Continuing to Explore Amsterdam:

  • Today was an actual exploring day!
  • My friend and I went on a ferry ride to another side of Amsterdam, to get the opportunity to explore the canals!
  • We then head to Bloemenmarkt (yes that is spelt correctly)!
    • Bloemenmarkt is a flower market that floats/built on top of the canal!img_7533
    • Unfortunately due to the time we came, we were unable to see the tulip fields that the Netherlands are known for, however I was able to see some tulips at the market!
    • It’s a wonderful stroll, and the perfect opportunity to “stop and smell the roses tulips.”
  • Afterwards, we went to the Van Gogh museum — got to see some of his most famous works such as “Sunflowers.” fullsizerender-12
    • There are numerous museums in Amsterdam and most of them are not free, so depending on your tastes/what you want to explore pick and choose the ones you’d like to see the most! 
  • We had actually meant to go to Vondelpark before it got dark, but by the time we had finished exploring the museum the sun had set, but that didn’t stop us from exploring the park!
    • Although it was dark and freezing – it was really beautiful, I just wish we had gotten the chance to see it in the daylight haha! It’s a great place to just sit and talk and that’s exactly what we did!
  • Before heading back to our bnb we walked past the red light district… that’s all I’m going to say about that.
  • By the end of the day I had checked my iphone’s health app and it said that we had walked a total of 12 miles in 13 hours! The stamina we had haha — at least I got my workout in for the day!

Day 4: February 18th — Exploring Haarlem:

  • Many of you may not think of going to Haarlem when you think of the Netherlands, however I recommend that if you come to visit Amsterdam, visit Haarlem!
  • Haarlem is a quaint old historic town about 30 minutes away from Amsterdam! It gives you a much different side to the Netherlands than Amsterdam offers! If I’m being honest I much preferred Haarlem!
  • The first thing that we did was visit the farmers market! We got some waffles
    which were absolutely delicious, seriously the best I’ve ever had and freshly made too!
  • Right next to the market and the town center is St Bavo’s Church! The church had beautiful stained glass windows and a massive organ! Even more special was that Mozart played the organ here when he was only 10 years old!
  • You can’t visit the Netherlands without going to see a windmill! Windmills can be found in various places throughout the Netherlands, the one is Haarlem was called Adrian’s Windmill!
    • We chose a good day to explore Haarlem as the sun was out. We used this opportunity to sit by the dock near the windmill to enjoy the sun and talk! I could’ve sat there all day!

Day 5: February 19th — Back to London:

  • Today’s the day we head back to London, not by flight but by bus!
  • It’s quite a long journey about 8-10 hours but it was quite exciting because we actually drove though Brussels and France!
    • In fact, we had to go through French immigration before heading to the England border!
  • We also boarded this massive ship that took us to England! All the cars and buses were loaded onto the ship taking us back — super cool experience!

My recommendations for anyone planning to visit the Netherlands:

Duration of Stay: 2-3 Days

  • If you are going to Amsterdam, 2 days would be enough time to see everything that you would want to do, however you would have to plan out your days very well!
  • If you have an extra day to spare, and if you’d be interested, I highly recommend exploring a smaller city/town such as Haarlem!

Where should you stay:

  • This really depends on what you want to do and explore. If you only want to explore fullsizerender-11the city of Amsterdam I would recommend finding a hotel or hostel located in the city. Therefore you can save money on transportation and walk or bike everywhere!
    • Amsterdam, if you did not know, has more bikes than its population — I’m not joking you can google it!
  • If you would like to get a taste of a smaller city as well as Amsterdam, I would recommend doing what I did, and stay in a bnb located about 30 minutes from Amsterdam city! But just know that train tickets cost anywhere from 5 – 10 euros for the day, depending on where you are going, which can add up depending on the duration of your stay and how much you budget is for your trip!
    • The one good thing about the bnb is that it had a kitchen, so we ended up saving money by buying a few groceries ie: bread, eggs, cereal, milk instead of eating out for three meals everyday — we only ever ate out for lunch!

Hope you enjoyed a slightly different style of post than usual! Another adventure is happening this week so keep your eyes out for that!

Until next time! Cheers!

– Varsha

 

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