Tag Archive: Amsterdam



My last visit was in 2003 but that was on official business so it shouldn’t count. In 1986 and 2000, I was there. First as a student, the next as a tourist. Most things remained the same, but for the price of West End tickets. As a newbie watching musicals for the first time, I was very lucky to be there when Les Miserables first showed some 3 months before my arrival in 1986. With my student discount, it was a steal watching it and quite frankly, I was beyond awed. I’ve never seen the likes of it till then. I’ve watched it several times since, both in West End and Broadway, and even back in my home country. This Cameron Mackintosh was my new hero. Fast forward 2019. Ticket prices have spiralled. Lowest-priced musicals still hovered from Β£30 upwards. Some at Β£200 and up. And I mean really upwards. If you’re aiming to watch only one or 2, sure you can splurge. But not if you’re meaning to watch more. And so, rather than stay longer in London, we moved to stay nearly a week in Amsterdam and then another week in Brussels before heading back to London and onwards for 8 nights in Bath and The Cotswolds. We made many day trips from our chosen city base using trains, buses and vans. This is our Trip Summary from May 19 to June 12, 2019.

London

https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2019/05/21/touchdown-london/

London

Day Trip from London: Stonehenge

https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2019/05/23/one-in-a-million-stonehenge/

Amsterdam

https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2019/05/25/its-been-awhile-amsterdam/

DayTrips from Amsterdam

Giethorn

Zaanse Schans

Volendam & Marken

Delft & The Hague

Brussels

https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2019/06/01/touchdown-brussels/

Day Trips from Brussels

Bruges

Ghent

Antwerp

Back to UK

Bath

The Cotswolds

Day Trip to Cardiff, Wales


Say that again….. Giethorn or Giethoorn. Either way, you pronounce the “o” or “oo” like a single “o” as in horn. But roll your “r” and have an imaginary “e” between r and n. Got it? Oh, never mind. North of Amsterdam is this water village popularly called “Venice of the North”. Don’t ask me why but I do think Giethoorn’s beauty is so different from Venice and it won’t be fair to compare the two. With its centuries-old thatched-roof houses lining the canals, its charm can be appreciated from a boat or by walking its many footpaths and bicycle paths. It is worth the 2-hour trip from the capital, for sure.

Village of Giethoorn

Village of Giethoorn

There is a Museum and art galleries and curio shops abound. Plus you’d love the quaint coffee shops, aromatic cheese shops and dining areas where we partook of a delectable steak and some fish with chips and garden salad. Fortified with a good meal, we had the energy to walk around the village, crossing many tiny bridges and even checking out the gelato bars. All that time, the waterways were filled with boats, some manned/rowed by tourists who likely held an oar for the first time in their lives. I have to give credit to the professional boat men who never lost their cool while watching them amateurs navigate the canals, bumping left side, right side and rowing in a circle!

The Village Of Giethoorn

I’m told the waterways aren’t that deep. Was actually thinking how many bikes (and bikers) may have lost their balance and dropped/slid to the waters. I’m also curious how the residents can put up with a village teeming with boatfuls of visitors, some too curious nosy to actually step on a private garden just for one damn instagram shot. We went on a weekday and can just imagine the crowds and the noise on weekends in this car-Free village lying in the northeastern Dutch province of Overijssel. I can’t even imagine how crowded those tiny, narrow 170 bridges could be while punters carrying nosy and noisy tourists pass under.

Village of Giethoorn

Village of Giethoorn

Most tourists who rode the boats took time to walk around the water village, the church, cheese shops and ice cream bars. The narrow bridges make for “friendly encounters” especially when you cross paths many times. I’ve also met many dogs πŸ• who seem to enjoy seeing the colourful boats plying the canals. By the 3rd time you cross paths with someone, you’ve grown “close” . πŸ˜‚ If I were to head back here, I’d likely go much earlier in the morning or much later in the afternoon when the crowds have gone or haven’t arrived. It must be quite an idyllic experience to take one of those small boats called punters or to simply walk around crossing as many of the 170 wooden bridges connecting the tiny islands. Yes, that’s what I’d do. Nonetheless, it is still a wonderful experience. Let me just say I can do with less noise.

Village of Giethoorn

Village of Giethoorn

Village of Giethoorn


The first time I (solo) visited Amsterdam was in 1986. I couldn’t get Keukenhof out of my mind then. The next one was in 2000. Quite a long time till this visit. We snagged a free walking tour of the City, a (first) lunch in a pancake house before visiting the Anne Frank House, a 2nd lunch in that Bohemian Jordaan neighbourhood and finally a quick visit of the Red Light District.

This tiny country packs a lot. This time, I won’t miss the chance to do more day trips in the next 6 days out of Amsterdam. There’s Giethorn, Delft, The Hague, Leiden, Haarlem, Volendam (this one I visited in ’86) and many more. Never realised how easy this was to do with each out-of-the-city site a mere half-hour to 2 hours max away. The train and bus systems work, and there are plenty of things to do even within the city. The museum and art scene is very vibrant. Think Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Vermeer and Bosch. And the coffee and bar culture? We even found a tiny church converted into a bar complete with a pulpit, a cross on the panelled wall and some Turkish lamps! No wonder there are sooo many tourists especially at this time of the year. There’s always something for the art and culture geek, for the camwhoring tourists, the gay lovers (the first gay marriage was legitimised here), and yes, there’s the “sex and drugs” scene. Weather was a very pleasant 17-20C — perfect weather for walking.

There’s something about (clean) canals that fascinate us. Like Venice. But unlike Venice, the bridges crossing the canals are wider here, and not as easy to get lost πŸ™„. I could have skipped the Red Light District but we have a couple of first-timers in our group of 6, so we went. Our 24-hour travel pass was put to good use. More so since we chose a hotel outside the city center but just a mere 1-3 stops away via the bus or train station right next to our hotel.

It was a good first whole day in this city. Since we were blessed with good weather, we thought the museums can wait. Walking around and day trips to outside towns and big cities are the order of the day. Watch this page!