{Zaanse Schans: A Look at Traditional Netherlands Living}

On our last day in the Netherlands, Adam and I bussed to a small town called Zaanse Schans. The town boasts windmills, cheese, clog factories, and beautiful scenery. In the clog factory, we watched how actual clogs are made, and then Adam tried on a pair of “fancy” clogs. While we hadn’t seen anyone wearing clogs around Amsterdam, obviously we know about the clog culture in Holland, so it was fun to experience a bit of the traditional Dutch lifestyle.


{Visiting The Hague}

Adam suggested we visit The Hague while in the Netherlands and we decided to take the train there for a half-day visit. If you have never heard of The Hague before, it is home to many international courts where high profile international cases are tried. For me, the highlight of our visit was the Peace Palace, mainly because of the Imagine Peace Wish Tree. And for Adam, the highlight was going to the International Criminal Court. But we both agreed that the Smule’s in the train station had amazing french fries (a common theme in Amsterdam)!

{Amsterdam// About Town}

We started our weekend in the Netherlands with a tour of Amsterdam, but a lot of our time was spent just strolling up and down the cobblestone streets. Let me tell you, Amsterdam in May is gorgeous! The roads are lined with canals, bicycles, people dining outside and to top it off, we had fantastic weather. My favorite area of the city is the Jordaan District, which was wonderfully picturesque, but in all honesty, I felt that most of Amsterdam was beautiful. Aside from the canals, another of Amsterdam’s defining features has to be its bicycles. We learned that there are more bicycles in Amsterdam than there are people and I believe it! Bicycles are a way of life in the Netherlands, and it certainly was nice to see and experience such a cultural difference, just make sure you look both ways before you cross the street!
We walked through the famous Red Light District twice- once during the day and once at night. During the day, the district is quiet and boasts restaurants, sex shops, a church and even a kindergarten! But at night, the streets are jam-packed with tourists, bachelor parties, and local regulars. I certainly would recommend seeing the Red Light District at night, if nothing else, just to see how popular it actually is.

{Amsterdam: City Snapshots}

Amsterdam has to be one of my favorite European cities so far. The city is beautiful, the people lively, and the cheese delicious. Here are a few snapshots from around the city (captions below):

{1} In a clog store. They are all over Amsterdam! {2} Behind the Reykjavik Museum {3, 4 & 5} In the Flower Market {6} World Cup Festivities in the Jordaan District {7} Amsterdam’s narrowest house {8} Streets of the city {9} View from the free canal boats outside Centraal Station {10} In front of Centraal Station