Saturday, August 20, 2016

Volendam to Amsterdam

It was a fun evening in Volendam, experiencing the Dutch fishing village on the sea.  
This was taken from my hotel room.

The next morning, brought gray skies and a 30 minute ferry ride to Markem.

Joel and Julie fighting the wind and the rain on the way to the lighthouse.
The lighthouse.
Much of the day it was raining, sometime driving rain with wind.  It was not terribly enjoyable, but it was memorable.  
Stopped along the way to say hi to the cows.
It took us along a dyke and we finally stopped in Durgerdammerdijk for some time to eat (croquettes for me!) and drink some hot coffee.   

We were able make it to our hotel, but it was a pretty wet ride, sometimes the wind drove the rain and sometimes it was just raining really hard.  I was glad to see our hotel.

Made it to the hotel, a little wet. :) 
Our hotel had art on the walls as you can see from the background in the above picture and the walls in the entry.

The final day was a wet, rainy day, but still was a great way to see the country.  Each day I felt blessed that I was able to do this trip with Joel and Julie.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Zaandam to Volendam

On our third day of bicycling, we started with quite a shower, but we were able to continue on and end up having beautiful weather for the rest of the day.  We stopped at a lake and just enjoyed the country side.

We did bicycle through a storm or two that morning.

One of our selfie pictures we took on our ride.  
Enjoying a coffee and goodie at a quaint cafe.  
A Reformed church.
We did stop at Kaasboederij de Kaas Hoeve.  The picture below is Joel standing in the cheese storage room.  Many different kinds of cheese, many of which we were able to sample in the store at the end of the mini-tour of how to make cheese.  I purchased some cheese slicers here.  Dutch should know how to make good cheese slicers!
From the cheese farm all the way to Volendam, we were on a road beside the dyke called the Hoogedijk.  It was an interesting feeling that where we were bicycling, was probably right at sea level.  The Dutch certainly know how to manage water.  I was told on this visit that all streams and canal levels are controlled.  So, if you have a exceptionally rainy day, they move water out so the water levels remain within a foot of the water level.  We saw a number of pumps
Taken on top of the dijk

Panorama view of the Gouwzee 
Volendam from my hotel window
Volendam is a Dutch fishing village along the sea.  It was a fun place to be.  There were still a few active fishermen in Volendam.  Most of the boats moored there, appeared to be vacation type of boats.  Along the water they had a number of stores and restaurants.  Many of the restaurants served seafood, mollusks seem to be the most popular.  It had a different feel than Amsterdam, Haarlem and Zaandam.  Volendam was very touristy, but did give us a different view of what The Netherlands is like.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Haarlem to Zaandam

Our second day continued from Haarlem to Zaandam.  The day started out cloudy and a bit wet, but by the end of the day, the sky was very blue and a lovely day.  This was the day of the windmill.  We were able to visit some pretty neat villages.  This day we went past a number of windmills that tourists were able to visit.  It is called the Zaanse Schans.  We also had to catch our first ferry to cross the river.
Windmill in Haarlem (I apologize for the angle of the windmill.  I was taking it while on my bicycle.)
Crossing on the ferry
A couple of the windmills on the Zaanse Schans
Bicycling into Zaandam was a very pleasant experience.  We bicycled along one of the canals in the industrial section of Zaandam.  Zaandam is known for industrialization and one of it's products is cocoa.  Yes, we smelled cocoa off and on for a kilometer or so.  
Our hotel in Zaandam was located by the train station, but there were also a street where there were a number great shops for souvenirs or for regular shopping, like clothes, shoes, furniture, groceries and chocolate.   :)  

The headboards in the rooms were pictures of some sort of industrialization company.  There was a mini-picture outside the door.  It was an interesting decor decision.

I have never been to Zaandam, but I found it a pleasant place to visit.  I enjoy the little themes the tour company shares in the booklets we received each day.  It's a fun way to see a country.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Getting the bicycle tour started

One more picture I took in Utrecht.  It's a monument of Queen Wilhelmina.  She was the queen of The Netherlands when my parents lived there.  I don't know if it's a great representation of her, she looks sort of small and bundled in this statue.
Sunday, August 7th, we moved from Utrecht to Amsterdam.  We went to the hotel where our bicycles were.  This was a train ride to Amsterdam.

Central station in Amsterdam
Central Station in Amsterdam
Canal cruises
Sunday afternoon, we decided to try out our bicycles and took a bit of a ride down the road.

Monday morning, we had our maps ready to go.  Our destination was our hotel for Monday evening, in Haarlem.  
Our first stop was to see the Anne Frank House.  We did not have tickets to tour the house, but we decided to bicycle past it.  
Anne Frank House
Streets of Amsterdam
Along the way to Haarlem 
One garden, very beautiful
A beautiful day for a bicycle ride 
St Bravo Church in Haarlem

Market in the square

One of the streets in Haarlem
In honour of those who were involved in The Resistance 1940-1945.
Haarlem station taken from my hotel room
Close up of Haarlem station
Our first day of bicycling was a great day.  The weather was wonderful and the scenery was quite beautiful.  I'm thankful for this opportunity to explore this country.