Like many travelers, for me, Holland was equal to Amsterdam, until we did our great Germany-Holland road trip with our super car a few years ago. After a few days of traveling around the Rhein and Mosel rivers, with fine riesling tastes (Which you can read from my previous posts), we headed to further North on a Monday morning, in late August, leaving our 4-day-home in Unkel and moving to our new 4-day-home in Den Haag. Holland trip was first time for our son, but second time for us.
Before reaching our new home, our first stop was Utrecht. Utrecht is a very typical Holland city, lots of canals and lots of bicycles, tiny cafes and restaurants around the canals and a huge bell tower. It was about 12.00 noon when we parked our car and found ourselves by a canal and heard the musical sound of the bells. We first just lost ourselves on streets, looking, shopping and searching for something to eat. After lunch we took one of the canal boats to listen the tour guide about the city a bit and see anything if we have missed. And finally, at the last (and the first) stop of the canal boats, just across the canal there was a famous De Oude Munkelder a pancake restaurant where you find dozens of kinds of Pancakes. Our stomachs full we went on driving to Den Haag, to our hotel.
A few hours after leaving Utrecht, we were at our hotel, which was very convenient in parking (which is very important if you have a BMW 740) and were just by a little shopping area, with some nice restaurants by the lake.
The next day, we drove our car to west, to visit Rotterdam and Antwerp. It is a pity that I did not have much time to study these two nice cities in advance. So in Antwerp, we did not do anything special. Just wandered around, with the main principle of “follow the crowd”. We came across with a big pedestrian road of shopping area. Fine by me, not for “the boys”. After a few hours, we got on our car and drove to Rotterdam. Again I remember nothing special about the city, except the cubic houses and the tower we got on, so that we could view the city from one point.
When we decided to return our hotel, we still had time to go around, so we decided to stop at Madurodam, I suppose it is among the first of the “mini cities” sights in the world. With our son, we have been to Mini Swiss in Lugano and Miniaturk in Istanbul before. We and our son love to visit these sights which provides chance to explore the culture and best places of the country. The canal houses, airport, concert hall, stories of water, flower gardens and much more to see.
Next day, we went to Amsterdam. With my husband, we have been to Amsterdam before, which we loved to visit, but with our son, it is not the best place to visit. Why? First of all, a BMW 740 is not a perfect car, to visit this city. We already knew that, it would be hard for us to park the car or drive in Amsterdam, so we decided to use public transport to go from Delft to Amsterdam for the day. Secondly, to visit Amsterdam, you either have to be a fast and long walker, or a good biker. Neither fits to our travel habits with our son.
First from the train station, we walked to Anne Frank Hus, in about an hour. When we got there, we saw a long long queue of tourists waiting to visit the museum. What a pity. As you can imagine, we decided not to visit the museum and tried to find a place to take the canal boats. However, it was already lunch time, so we first wanted to find some nice place to have lunch. With the help of our Eyewitness book, we found a very nice restaurant with lovely dishes. But again, we were not the only one who found it, so we came across with a very slow service. It was already nearly 4.00 pm, when we finally could find the first stop to get on the canal boats, which were supposed to be a hop-on-hop of tour, but unfortunately we did not have time for any “hop off’s”. So here is the “Do your remember game” of Amsterdam:
Me: What do you remember of Amsterdam?
Our son: Walking and tiring in boring streets.
Thanks God, I have a very dear friend living in Amsterdam, and he took us to a fine Turkish restaurant, where we enjoyed an evening and returned to our hotel with the comfort of his car.
Next: Our final day of our trip, Markem, Volendam and Zaanse Schans