Monday, April 18 Day 6. Amsterdam.
Omg today was so fun and so packed with events!
First, we had continental breakfast downstairs at the Hampton Hotel and it was nice! 🙂 Breakfast was a bit rushed though since I had gone down a little later than usual.
Good decent breakfast with a fair amount of choices. The scrambled eggs and sausage were a bit dry though. The cold cuts were good and soft!
The first big stop and attraction of the day was the Keukenhof Gardens. Finally! I got to see Holland’s famous tulip fields and windmills ^___^. We were inside the big botanical garden by 9:30 a.m. and got to spend three hours inside.
Since we were one of the early ones inside the garden, barely anyone was inside and we got to take a lot of photos by ourselves with the tulips.
We started off with some basic tulip flower beds and I was anxious to see the huge ones.
We took a ton of photos and especially inside the greenhouse where all the tulips were lined up immaculately and displayed so nicely. 😀
There were a lot of photo ops along the way too. Finally, we reached the big windmill where the huge tulip fields lay behind it.
Unfortunately, it was still early in the spring and the tulips hadn’t all bloomed yet in full color so the field didn’t look entirely multicolored as it should be. Nevertheless, I was still so grateful and happy because the weather was gorgeous, sunny, a little breezy, the tulips were all opening, and even the tour guide said that it was rare to see such great weather in Holland (it usually rains and us very windy).
We went up the windmill to take photos and then I got my first Stroopwafel to try! Stroopwafels are Amsterdam’s famous waffles that are made with two thin dough with a caramel-like syrup in between. It was pre-made and heated up upon ordering. We ate it in front of the huge windmill. I was so thrilled to try!
It was actually really good and the gooey, chewy caramel middle made the otherwise normal thin layers of waffle taste delicious. Yum!!
After some more photos, it was time to leave. We left promptly at 11:30 a.m. (after a few more jump shots of course 😉 ).
After that, we went next door to Zaanse Schans where there was an entire little village of historic windmills and lots of small shops.
Here we saw Amsterdam’s “three treasures”: cheese, wooden clogs, and windmills.
We toured a small shoe museum of all clogs of different styles and types!
They were literally slicing out lots of cheese for people to try and ultimately to buy. I literally could have stood there all day just eating all the samples hahha. It was my first time eating green and red cheese. The smoked cheese was unique and they even set out cheese dips and mustards to go along with the cheese samples too. I never knew that mustards and dips were to combine with cheese.
After that, a few more photos and shops and we left. It was very windy there..
I also bought another Stroopwafel to try. This one was cheaper at €2. This one was also crispier and the caramel centre more chewy and overall more delicious than the one in the morning. ^_^
Then we left and did some sightseeing in the bus of Amsterdam’s houses on the street (tiny doors and big windows).
We went on a canal cruise on the Amstiel. So cool and we listened to devices too to learn more about the city. The ride was more than 75 minutes long.
It was uber sunny in the cruise because the ceiling of the boat was all glass. It was a nice gentle cruise to see more of Amsterdam.
Then we visited Coster Diamonds shop to see some diamonds being made and watched a demo.
Then we took photos in front of the big Amsterdam sign (just like the Toronto one now downtown). There were a lot of people there so it was hard to get a good shot.
The last big attraction of the day was to Amsterdam’s Chinatown and Red Light District.
We transversed through the streets, saw the canals, Chinatown, and the red light district. What a fascinating part of Amsterdam it was! You saw a lot of hemp stores too and smelled it on the street as you walked past haha.
We were walking around at 5 p.m. so not all the girls were out “working” just yet. We did see a couple of them standing and available in the storefronts however. They looked so perfect and gorgeous with perfectly shaped bodies (I wonder how much of it is all natural haha). As the night goes on, more action comes to life with all the shops and cafes that have red lights installed on their storefront. Again, what a fascinating part of town!!
Then, we had some free time so we went to line up at the popular and apparently number 1 Holland Dutch fries at Mannekin Pjs.
There was a lineup but we didn’t have to wait long at all. We ordered two large Dutch fries with curry and mayonnaise topping (my friend’s suggestion).
The large size was indeed large and we wondered if we would all be able to finish it at one point .
The large fries were good and the mayonnaise was so good and classic! The curry wasn’t your usual yellow curry and wasn’t spicy either. It was red in colour and kind of sweet.
I actually thought that the dutch fries from Vlaamse Frites yesterday were already really good and these ones were just average. Hmm, overhyped perhaps?
After our fries adventure, I was already quite full but to appease the others who wanted more Asian food, we ventured to Chinatown and ate wonton noodle soups at New King Mandarin Cuisine. Pretty surprisingly great huge wontons!
And then, that marked the end of a highly productive and busy day. I was pooped! We walked over 20,000 steps the whole day!
Tomorrow we go to Belgium for a short spell and then back to Paris! 🙂