After a full day drifting the electrifying city of Amsterdam, my next plan was to visit the countryside. Nothing beats nature and we all deserve the quiet side of that crazy city.
Unlike what I did in Amsterdam where I chose to do the tour alone, I decided to take a Holland Day Trip from Viator. I just thought that it will save me a lot of time since there’s really no concrete means of transportation in moving from place to place. The day trip costs 109 EUR inclusive of lunch.
The local operator was Tours and Tickets and they have their office just around Amsterdam Central. It is also the meeting point for all their tours. The departure time of my tour was 9:45 AM. I made sure that I was already in the meeting place 45 minutes earlier. If you know me, you know that I’m very particular with time. Lol. I was lucky enough because there’s Mcdonalds just beside the meeting place. Mcdo breakfast is life!
A few minutes before the call time, a pleasant lady with a big placard started calling out our names and gathered us. We walked towards the air conditioned coach which we used for the rest of the day. I had companions from different countries but an old Filipino couple who came straight from the Philippines made me so happy. Kabayan!! 🙂
The tour covered villages and towns like Edam, Marken, Volendam and Zaanse Schans. Our first stop was Edam. This town is like a piece of heaven on earth. Our tour guide led us to an informative walking tour around the town’s charming churches and famous former shipyard.
Combined with Edam is Volendam which forms the municipality of Edam-Volendam. It is well known for its old fishing boats and traditional clothing still worn by some residents. We headed to a local cheese shop which I really enjoyed. Being a cheese lover, cheese tasting was unarguably the best part. It was my first time to see a green cheese, which is surprisingly pesto flavored. But my most favorite discovery is the Mosterd Dille Dip. Google and try it. So good with cheese, I had to buy one for home.
We also went went to a Stroopwafel Museum which is also around the vicinity. It is a waffle made from two thin layers of baked dough with a caramel-like syrup filling in the middle and it’s very popular in Netherlands. A local Dutch lady showed us how to make one and of course, free stroopwafel for everyone. Yuhooo!
After satisfying our taste buds with all the free taste, our group was gathered again by our tour leader. Then we were off to our next stop, Marken. It is the traditional fishing town famed for its preservation of Dutch culture. For us to get there, we needed to climbed aboard a boat. Along the way, we were able to witness the stunning views of Lake Ijssel. Upon arrival, quaint boutiques and picturesque harbor of the fishing village welcomed us.
We were not able to explore much of it since we had to convene again for lunch. The tour included a lunch at a local restaurant which was just in front of the harbor. De Visscher Taverne is a traditional diner tucked in this scenic calm village. The interior reflects so much of the Dutch culture and the staff was very nice.
The last stop of the tour was the province of Zaanse Schans. It is one of the famous attractions in Netherlands because it has a collection of well-preserved historic windmills and houses. It’s actually surreal to see these windmills in person. We also had the chance to see first hand how it works. Really fascinating! Historically, it has served many purposes but the most important was pumping water out of the lowlands and back into the rivers so that the land could be farmed. It was only restored for viewing and has become one of the tourist spots of the province.
Before the ride back to Amsterdam, we were dropped to some local souvenir shops where they also demonstrated how to make their customary wooden shoes known as clogs. I am familiar with clogs because I once used it during a United Nations school program when I was in Kindergarten. Haha! I did not think that it still exists. Some locals were actually wearing it during our tour.
After the last activity, we moved to the coach and comfortably sat our way back to the city.
Amsterdam deserves the popularity it is getting because it is really astonishing. But if ever you have the chance to go to Netherlands soon, do visit the countryside also. Believe me, you will get to experience a different kind of ecstasy. ❤