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April 30th 2022
Published: May 1st 2022
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Monday 25th April – Friday 29th April 2022 Easy Jet Holidays

A short hop to Amsterdam to mainly see the tulips as we had both been to Amsterdam before but many, many years ago! Bus, train, bus for our flight at 4.35pm. Uneventful flight, other than being 45 mins late leaving and hanging around on then runway at Schiphol Airport for 30 mins also. Couldn’t find Information Office for bus tickets and our bus number had changed from No 69 to No 369, that was also confusing. Anyway, a friendly train info man helped us out, we paid for single tickets on the bus by card and after finding the correct bus stop at the Airport, and finding the correct bus stop to get off at ( 4 minute walk to the hotel!) we ended up at the Xo Blue Square Hotel, only to find we didn’t have a reservation, and we should have been at the Xo Blue Tower Hotel, a 30 minute walk away!! We got a taxi!!!

We were booked on a tour with ‘Tours and Tickets’ the next day at 12.00am for Keukenhof Gardens, so we went into the centre (very easy 15min journey on 21 bus that runs every 15 mins!) to exchange our vouchers. Found the office very easily at Central Station and as it was such a beautiful morning took the ferry across the water and back – just because we could!!! Walked around Central Station and the canals and admired the fantastic architecture! Duly caught the bus at 11.45am and arrived at Keukenhof (after seeing the tulip fields) about 12.30am with instructions to be back at the bus for 5.45pm.

It was fabulous! Tulips everywhere you looked, set off by muscari, along with lakes, windmills, fountains, bridges, stepping-stones, trees, boats, statues, clogs, ducks and baby ducklings’ as well as inside displays. Brilliant sunny afternoon – possibly one of the best gardens we had ever seen.

Wednesday was ’Kings Day’ and we had no idea what to expect, except that everyone dressed up in orange!! We walked into Dam Square and the centre of Amsterdam – it was cloudy today and forecast all day! Most of the shops were closed but there were people selling loads of orange things – caps, hats, t shirts, scarves etc. Then we saw a few boats in the canals and cafes and bars decorated in orange and as we walked further on, there were loads of boats causing a boat jam in the canals! It was basically a street party on boats with everyone getting very drunk!! We decided to do an hours’ canal cruise and join them (unfortunately we didn’t have a boat!!) and saw Amsterdam from another angle!!

Stopped off in Westergas Park and tried to get something to eat! Not successful!! So wandered through the park and caught the bus back to the hotel….and then walked to the Italian to have something to eat!! At least it was open on Kings Day!!

We had decided to do another trip on Thursday and duly arrived, as instructed, at 8.15am!! We left promptly, our first stop at Zaanse Schans - ,to see the windmills and loads of geese proud parents with their babies!! We had a demonstration in a 1672 old windmill of how the miller used to produce chocolate and various other products. Chris climbed up to the first floor…I took the pictures!! There were about six windmills overall reflected in the lake- the sun trying to come out!! Onto Volendam, a pretty seaside village, where they had built a dam across the North Sea and changed what was Zeidersee into a freshwater lake! We had a short cheese demonstration and lats of free tastings!! Yummy!! Wandered around for about an hour, and had a delicious caramel cream waffle, before we got the boat to the Island of Maarken and a demonstration of clog making at an artisan clog making factory, which was surprisingly interesting. Basically, a clog starts off as a wet lump of poplar wood, which is then mechanically shaved against a model template into a clog shape with a machine, in the same way as a key cutting machine. The inside of the clog is then drilled out, and then left to dry out for 3 weeks. The resulting clog is a safety shoe, warm, completely waterproof and can be slipped on and off very easily! We then returned to Amsterdam via the causeway that linked the Island to Amsterdam.

Back in Amsterdam about 2.00ish and we then went across on another ferry to A’DAM Tower. Brilliant psychedelic ride to the top floor via a lift with fantastic views of Amsterdam. Sat in the hot sun for a while and watched people swinging over the side of the building! No thank you!! As the sun was shining now and it was really hot, we caught the No 2 tram that was supposed to be the best sightseeing tram! It was ok – not really worth going past Museumplein as its mostly residential. Went over the three ring canals and saw a few districts that looked quite interesting. Got off on the way back at Dam Square to visit it in the sunshine!! After dinner, wandered around the canals and the red light district (in the daytime!!!) before getting the No 21 bus back!

The flight wasn’t until 19.00pm on Friday, so after packing our rucksacks up, we caught the No 21 bus and the No 2 tram to Museumplein where we had a good wander round – the outsides only!!! Spoilt for choice on museums as they had a Van Gogh museum as well as Rembrandt in the Rijksmuseum and a Banksy exhibition in the Moco Museum! We didn’t really have time to do them justice (next time!!) so we went to the free gardens in the Rijkmuseum which had fountains that you could stand in the middle of! Watched a few people mistime the jets of water and then they got soaked!! Walked back to Leidersplein and carried on walking through the narrow streets to the flower market!

It was the time to go to the airport so back to Central Station and the No 21 bus to Plein 40 – 45 where we changed bus to 369 back to the airport! The flight was due to leave at 19.05pm but was delayed – the Flyer Bus to the train station that is supposed to run every 15 mins, didn’t turn up for an hour and we didn’t end up getting home until 23.00pm!!!


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