Friday, June 8, 2018

The Countryside

There is so much to The Netherlands, and I wish we had more time to visit and explore beyond the "normal" areas. But at least we did one excursion.
Viator offers a Countryside Tour with Zaanse Schans, Edam and Volendam. We met up at 9:00 am across the water from Centraal Station. got on the bus and headed away with our wonderful tour guide Juliette. She was wonderful. She gave us just the right amount of information as we headed out of the city and just when you started to formulate a question, she answered it for you. Or if you did have some question she didn't answer, she was ready with the information.

Did you know there is more than one Iamsterdam sign in Amsterdam? We didn't either!

Our first stop was the small village of Volendam.  

It was such a bright beautiful day. It was turning out to be one of the warmest day Amsterdam had seen in a long time! 

This hotel has an interesting story. As it was told to us: Long ago the owner wanted to attract visitors, so he invited artists to stay for free in exchange for painting the local scenery. Many great famous artist painted here and now most of the painting are hung in galleries all over the world.

After we finished our lovely walking tour, we got back on the bus and headed over to the Cheese factory!

This lady was great! She told us all about the making of cheese, they use non-animal enzymes rather than cow rennet to turn the milk into cheese. 

Jay tasting some cheese.

Oh, my gosh. We have entered Heaven. We fell in love with Edam. 

Look at the Tea House! Long ago people used to take guests out to have tea by the river.

Aging cheese in the attic.

The oldest building in Edam, built around 1530.

After we returned to Amsterdam, we grabbed some snacks from the store and rested up a bit. It was hot outside and we were not interested in walking around in the bright sunshine. So we waited until the evening and took a 15 minute train ride to Haarlem. The train station is seen in Oceans 12 by the way. It's such a cute quaint station. I failed to get any photos inside, but it felt like it sent you back in time. 

We walked to the main square, Grote Markt. There was a carnival going on there, lots of people and so many restaurants surrounding the main church, Grote Kirk. 
We grabbed some dinner and enjoyed the atmosphere. Took a lazy walk along the water and headed back to the hotel.

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