Friday, November 26, 2010

Amsterdam: Rotterdam, Aalsmeer, Delft, Den Haag ...

After my fun group tour to see the windmills on Tuesday, I decided to take a second group tour called the "Grand Tour of Holland" with the same company.  By the way they are located on the main street in front of the train station (close to the sex museum).

First on the agenda was to stop by a small town called Aalsmeer to visit Flora Holland and the Flower Auction.  Although we missed the morning auction we were able to see the after effects and it was very cool.  Flowers are bought during the auction and then moved to a distribution area where they are then shipped to places all over the world. There were these driving carts zipping here and there and flowers loaded and transported and it was buzzing with activity.

Next we do a drive through in the City of Rotterdam. It is the second largest city in Holland, next to Amsterdam and is nicknamed Holland's little Manhattan because of the highrises.  We drive through the city where you can see these very creative and modern architecture. There were these really interesting cubic houses.  We have a brief stop near the Erasmus bridge for a brief photo opp.  It was built in 1996 and is called De Zwaan (the Swan) by the locals because of its shape.

Next we visit the city of Delft with a brief stop in a Delftware factory.  There are many imitations of this very lovely product but only the real ones are authenticated with certificates and a signature at the bottom.  It was pretty cool watching the painters at work and seeing how each piece is made.

And the final products are just stunning . . . (I bought a couple of small pieces, which I do allow myself at least one splurge souvenir on each trip).

Next we drive into the City Center of Delft where we get about an hour for lunch.  I remember Marta mentioning Delft as another good day trip town to visit and so I was glad that this tour included it because Marta is right.  Delft is a lovely town with a beautiful center square. 

On the tour there was another girl from Los Angeles so I had lunch with her at this pancake house restaurant which is supposedly the building that was next to where the famous dutch artist Vermeer was born.   I like his paintings so that was pretty cool.

This is a pancake with Ham (ordered by my tour mate) . . .

Here's my little pancakes swimming in sugar (I had to dust a lot of it off as it was a tad too much. It was still very good) . . .

After our lunch break in Delft, we head over to Den Haag which is the captiol of Holland. Here we drive through several of the embassies and see some of the houses where the embassadors live. Pretty nice places they live in. Holland has an interesting government.  They have the Queen and also a Parliament.  We have a brief photo opp in front of the Peace Palace before we drive to our final distination to visit the Madurodam park.  Here's a photo of the Peace Palace. 

And here's a couple of photos that I took in the theme park, Madurodam. This was such a cool place. Thanks to another fellow Slow Traveler, Maria, who shared her experience visiting Madurodam years ago with her family. 

I purposely left a couple of my tour mates in these photos so you can get a sense of the scale of these miniatures.  Kind of reminded me of Disneyland.  The pieces have such detail, there are moving canal boats, there are sound effects to go with some of the scenes like the football stadium cheers and some of the buildings have lights along with the canals.  There are even moving people on the streets.  Very cool. We arrived there a few minutes before it started to rain and with just enough day light to see the park.  Still I had to move quickly to take my photos miniature Holland before the rain started.  Good thing I didn't have too much ground to cover . . .  :)


After our one hour stop here we head back to Amsterdam. Today, is the coldest that it has been during my stay and it looks like my scarf and mittens will be a staple from this point forward . . .

Thank you to my fellow Slow Travelers, Marta and Maria, for your tips and for sharing your experiences in the City of Delft and Den Haag visiting Madurodam. It's pretty much why I really wanted to take this second tour and it was so worth it. I enjoyed seeing these additional dutch cities and towns a lot.

1 comment:

  1. You covered a lot. I love the pancakes. The little pancakes - poffertjes - can be very rich. And fun to end in Maudordam.


It's me Trekcapri (aka Kathy). Thanks so much for visiting and leaving a comment.