Thursday, June 28, 2012

Tuesday, June 12, 2012 – Amsterdam, The Netherlands – Mostly Cloudy – 55-60F

A cloudy day – we are heading for the Dutch countryside.  We came up with some options based on brochures at the Hotel.  The destination was Koog-Zandijk, a little town less than a half hour from Amsterdam.

We had planned to get there by bus but when we arrived at the Central Station, we were told that our bus information was out of date.  With the help of a patient Central Station Employee, we finally got our tickets for the train instead.  It turned out to be a good call since the trains are clean, quiet, and fast.  The tickets were reasonable – 11.6 Euros roundtrip for the both of us.

The trip was short and we got off at the edge of town.  We walked a bit to the bridge that would lead us to the little Dutch Village complete with shops and windmills.  We knew we were going in the right direction when we spotted a windmill near the bridge (below).

Koog-Zandijk windmill in town (Small) 

The view from the bridge was perfect – a line of windmills lining a river (below).

Windmills in Koog-Zandijk 1 (Small)

Windmills across the bridge

We had to wait for a boat to cross under the river – it made for a nice shot.

Bridge to Koog-Zandijk village (Small)

Boat passing under the open bridge

While we waited for the bridge another tourist took our picture.

We at Koog-Zandjk (Small)

By this time, we were getting hungry so we had lunch (homemade cheese sandwiches – very good) on a bench along the waterway running through the village.  After lunch, we started our exploration.  The garden below had a elegant sundial but also had swarming gnats – a quick picture and we were gone.

Sundial in Koog-Zandijk (Small)

It was a little chilly out in the country (Ellen was dressed appropriately) so I actually had to use a scarf to keep from freezing.

Ellen in Koog-Zandijk (Small)

Ellen by the water

There were fields and animals. I got a picture of one of the fields but the animals were pretty far away – make believe you can see them.

Koog-Zandijk farm and animals (Small)

Field and animals

Many of the houses (actually looked occupied) were situated on the water.  The one below had a little dock for a boat.

House boat in Koog-Zandijk (Small)

In the wooden shoe Koog-Zandijk (Small)

There was a woman who lived in a shoe…

We entered one of the stores inside a windmill.  This particular windmill – not sure if it was operational – was used to grind spices, which were sold in the store.

Spice grinding windmill (Small)

Spice Grinding Wheels

We also visited a Cheese Store.  This one had samples for tasting – all kinds and colors of cheese.  I had no idea what I was trying but for the most part, the cheeses were good (even a green one). 

 Grazing in the cheese factory in Koog-Zandijk (Small)

Ellen trying some cheese

Swan in Koog-Zandijk (Small)

Picture perfect picture of a swan

I had heard that the Netherlands had been using a new type of DNA-based theft deterrent system.  This system, once tripped, sprays the thief with a fluorescent dye plus unique DNA sequence.  Once of the stores in the village had installed the system and displays the warning side near the store.  That should stop any theft – really.

Protected by DNA (Small)

DNA Spray Deterrent System

Before leaving, we filled out postcards and mailed them from this unpronounceable town. 

Mailing Postcards from Koog-Zandijk (Small)

We waited just a short time for the train and soon we were back at the Central Station.  We walked around a bit which gave me a chance to take a picture of the flower mart at the Nieuwe Markt (below).

 Nieuwmarkt and flower stands (Small)   

Nieuwe Markt

We purchased a cone at the supermarket for 50 Eurocents and headed back to the hotel.

We asked another person at our hotel to recommend an Italian Restaurant.  He recommended a different one near the Zoo.  As we were almost there, a waitress from another restaurant just doors away told us that her restaurant was the “best”.  On her recommendation and the fact that the pizza was just 5 Euros, we stayed.  We had salad and pizza and both were very good.  Bread and butter came without any charge and there was no discussion about tap water.  We will return to this restaurant the next time we are in Amsterdam.

Tomorrow – The Celebrity Constellation

Pedometer: 16,655 steps; 7.89 miles; 815 calories

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