At the end of April, I took a bus tour to Holland with a local travel company. It started with a morning departure and late afternoon arrival in Holland. The weekend’s weather was very windy and chilly but that didn’t stop me from exploring. The first stop was at Irene Hoeve’s cheese and clog shop where we learned how cheese and wooden clogs were made. We had the opportunity to try different cheeses and buy some clogs.
Then we headed to Volendam which is a fishing village where we had dinner. The village had some shops and restaurants but most were closed by the time we arrived. I choose fish for my main course and it was super yummy. After dinner, we checked into our hotel which is in Emmerloord.
Saturday morning, we headed to Amsterdam to spend the day. I took a ride thought the canals on a glass covered boat then walked around exploring a few sights like Dam Square and Red Light district. Time was limited so I wasn’t able to see many of the places I hoped, so a return visit is in the works.
After a quick lunch, I headed to Zaanse Schans which is a recreated 17 century town which has museum, shops and windmills. I took a tour of Verfmolen “DeKat” windmill which is the last remaining wind powered paintmill in the world that grinds pigments and dyestuff. I was able to see the stones grinding and then was able to climb to the top of the windmill to have a great view of the park. I had some time to explore some of the shops. We had a 3 course dinner at our hotel this night and it was yummy!
Sunday morning, we headed to Keukenhof which is Holland’s biggest flower attraction. It is quite popular between late March to late May when the bulbs are blooming. It is the most beautiful spring garden in the world filled with millions of flowering tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and other bulbs. The theme for this year is “The Golden Age” which was a flourishing period for the Netherlands in the field of trade, arts and sciences and when the tulip trade thrived. I never realized how many different species of tulip there are until I walked around the gardens. On the way to our next stop, we stopped at a small tulip tent where you got buy some bulbs or fresh tulips. I got some tulips bulbs which are currently growing. The tent we stooped at is a friends on our tour guide who she has known for years.
Next, we traveled to Haarlem where we were able to see the flower floats from the parade which was the day prior. The floats lined the street and were surrounded by vendors and rides. It is just incredible how the whole float was made of flowers and the details that was captured. We were given some free time to explore the area. While exploring I came across the Grote Kerk (church) and was able to go inside. Some think including myself, you seen one church you have seen them all, but I no longer believe this! Every church that I have had the chance to see inside has an unique characteristic which makes them each special in my memory. This church was no different and had amazing sites inside including the stone floor and organ. The organ is one of the world's most historically organs and I would have love to hear it being played. As I walked around I notice numbers and words on the stone floor. After some research I learned those were family gravestones. There is a story that only the rich could afford to be buried in the church. Regardless of wealth, the corpses rotted as they laid under the stone floor, producing a foul odor. This gave rise to the phrase "Stinking Rich".
After Haarlem, we started our trip back home, stopping for dinner at a rest stop along the autobahn and had a late night arrival.
A teacher who loves traveling the world.