I want to share my memorable moments of travelling in Holland for 6 days (11-16 April 2017).
I got 1 week Easter holiday at that time, so, without thinking twice, my friends and I (3 of us) arranged our Holland trip. The sad thing was one of my friend lost her wallet along with her Residence Permit in Sweden. So, she couldn’t go to Holland as the check-in security will not let her in. The funny thing was almost all Indonesian student who study in Stokcholm will also go to Holland. So, somehow we met each other along our trip.
Being in heavenly flower garden of Keukenhof
Cut the pre-story short, we have arrived in Schipol airport.
Our first destination absolutely was Keukenhof flower garden. We used the bus directly from Schipol airport to Keukenhof.
It was a sunny day with cold wind. So, be prepared with jacket and sunblock if you easily get tanned like me.
After done some research, I found that there were 7 million spring-flowering bulbs exhibited by 100 participating companies in the area over than 200 hectares.
I found many people from different nationality and ages coming here. The young ones got busy of taking photos to immortalize the moments. The old ones just walked around just to enjoyed the old days with serenity.
It was also happened to me. All the stress was washed away along with the enthralling beauty of flower bulbs.
Walking around in Unesco heritage of old windmill in Kinderdijk
In the next day, we went to the small village named Kinderdijk in the Netherlands’ South Holland province, known for its iconic 18th-century windmills.
The journey from Den Haag took around 1.5 hours. Along the journey, I saw beautiful and typical Holland old town. Orange brick wall with brown roof along with neat and ordered park.
As we arrived in Kinderdijk windmill area, as far as I can see was a long way pedestrian road with chubby windmills on both side of road. The spring breeze hit our face, made us automatically tighten our jacket and shawl.
As I walked along the way and surrounded by more than 200 years old of windmills, I felt like I was sucked to the past. I can imagine the people of the past with the Holland traditional cloth, get busy on operating the windmills and pumping stations so that the flood can be avoid.
Pay a ticket fine as I hadn’t get used with train system
On our way back from Kinderdijk windmills to Rotterdam, we used the train. On travelling around Holland, we used OV card, a multifunction card for train, bus, tram, and metro. The system in here is a little different with the system in Stockholm. In Stockholm, I have to tap in the card with no tap out. But in here, I have to tap in and tap out the card.
So, everytime we went to the station, I always make sure that I have tap in and tap out the card. Btw, in holland, there were several train provider. So, the tap in machine for each provider is different. I didn’t know that I have to tap twice in some specific station: tap in when I went inside the station and tap in again in the train provider machine. I only tapped in when I went inside the station.
Then, I found myself checked by the security officer in the train. She asked me to go out in the next station to do the tap in correctly and pay 20 euro for that. Oh my God, I am totally annoyed with that, as there was no explanation at all. How can a tourist like me know that I have to tap in twice?
In the same train with Ajax Amsterdam football club’s supporters
After enjoying the nature and heritage of flowers garden and windmills, now I found myself in the busy street of Amsterdam. Let’s forget the ticket fine story, I will just keep it as a learning.
I have been living in Stockholm for 8 months which is famous for providing a quite place despite the fact that Stockholm is the capital city of Sweden. Though Amsterdam is also a capital city, it gave a total different vibe with Stockholm! It was more crowded and looked more busy. I found more people from different background and nationality. One note, there were so many Indonesian tourist.
The hostel I stayed that night was located near from Ajax Amsterdam stadium. It was 15 minutes from Amsterdam central station by metro. We were tired enough after walking around in Amsterdam all day, so I expect that I could take a rest in the metro’s journey.
But, it was totally not!! I was on the same metro with Ajax Amsterdam’s supporter! The guys beside me said that tonight was an European league match between Ajax and Schalke. Amsterdam citizen were so happy that Ajax succeed until quarter final that almost all the young guys went to Ajax stadium to support the team.
First, the metro was so full with the supporter that I couldn’t move even for an inch. Second, they were so hype and enthusiast that they started singing (or more like screaming) Ajax’s anthem along with standing and jumping in the metro’s chairs. To make it more hype, they didn’t forget to hit the metro’s walls and glass (maybe they think that would be a great musical accompaniment). Almost all of them brought alcohol drink. In summary, I was like a small sheep trapped by gang of drunken bison.
I was surprised and shocked naturally. I didn’t feel comfortable too as they unconsciously pushing me (as they were to hype). But, I guess it was memorable thus I took some video and pictures with Ajax’s supporters. They were quite nice and easygoing actually. After 15 minutes that feels like forever, we separated and we went on our own way.
Deep down in my heart, I prayed that Ajax will win. I couldn’t imagine what would they do if Ajax lose.
Going to red light district in Amsterdam
After took a rest for 2 hours in the hostel, at 10.00 pm, we went to the red light district in Amsterdam. Just short description, red light district is a legal prostitution area where women with sexy cloth stay behind the glass just right next to the road. Man can freely choose the woman and have sex directly behind the glass.
I knew that place is not good for me. But, I am really curious that I can’t help myself but to go there. I promised I will just go once in my life.
On our way, we past through the Ajax’s stadium. We could hear the scream of the supporter. What a hype!!
Back to red light district story, we arrived there and found many people walked around. Man alone, several people went together in group, young and old couple. I felt like this place was weird, it gave a weird aura in the air. I didn’t feel comfortable at all.
Worse thing was, many people smoked marijuana and I didn’t like the smell at all. As we would soon finish 1 round in the area, we found a live sex show theater and prostitution museum. I was totally shocked! I was pretty sure I have to get out from that place.
Before we went, we saw a man with a doubt face staring at a woman behind the glass. The woman smiled at him, went out from the door beside the glass, took his hand and they went together to behind the glass. Then, the woman covered the glass with black purple curtain.
I guess I will never forget what that scene happened right before my eyes.
Stay di hotel in Steenwijk
Let’s forget the Amsterdam things. Let’s roll on to the story of nature and village scenery of Holland.
We made a mistake in planning our Holland trip. Despite knowing Easter holiday is a busy holiday when almost everybody travelling in Europe, we looked for hostel 1 month before the trip only to find all cheap hostels was booked already. So, we have no choice but to stay in 3 star hotel in the small city named Steenwijk. It is near canal town name Giethoorn, 15 minutes by car or 1 hour by bus.
From my experience in travelling, I never stay in hotel. I always stay in cheap hostel with mixed room or female room of 4 to 8 people in the room. Even, I have stayed in 2 drunk men with me as the only female in the room (That was the worst experience! I will never choose mixed room anymore!).
So, when I arrived in the hotel. I was totally hype with happiness. The facilities and the services were really good. I slept very well. The best thing was the hotel is located near canal and farm. Thus after we arrived there, we walked around the canal and the farm. All my stress from staying in Amsterdam was gone, replaced by the serenity again.
Enjoy the nature of canal town of Giethoorn
On the last day of trip, we went to canal town of Giethoorn. In here we would not see asphalt road for car. That was replace by canal with more or less 4 meter width.
We took the boat tour and the driver told us the history of Giethoorn.
There are over 700 bridges and 170 boats. Thus canal traffic is likely to happen. Almost all canals have 1 meter depth and they were dig out by hand!!
in 1952, an important meeting was held. People discussed whether canals would be maintained or cover it with asphalt road, as not all people are comfortable to move around by boat. Neverthelss, by 1 vote difference, canal won over the road. Then 6 years later, there was a movie advertized the Giethoorn canals and the canal town started to become a tourist site.
Going home to my beloved Stockholm
After enjoying Giethoorn, we went to Schipol airport and arrived there in 20.30. Our flight was in 6.50 in the next day. So we have to spend the night in the airport.
What a life! before we stayed in 3 star hotel and in the next nigh I was stranded in the airport. We found many people just like us, stranded in the airport. So, we did our best to look for the best place to sit down and have a sleep.
I really want the time to pass quickly as I didn’t feel comfortable sitting in the chair with cold temperature and I already miss Stockholm.
As a closing, I really enjoyed this Holland trip. I got so many memorable moments here. But I guess I don’t want to repeat the trip again. Haha.