Three days in Amsterdam During May
Day 3 - Wednesday
This was our last day in Amsterdam. We woke up around 8:00AM to catch a ferry that would take us up to see the windmills. We took the tram to Amsterdam Centraal and then bought train tickets that would take us to Zaandam. When we used Google maps to find the ferry port, we couldn’t find it. So, I ran into a cellphone shop and asked the locals in Zaandam. Unfortunately, they had no idea. When they Googled it they found out that it was at a bridge. Then I checked that City Card Amsterdam booked and noticed that the damn ferry was not sailing this day. So we went to look for food in Zaandam. It was a pretty quiet town and very different from the busyness in Amsterdam. We didn’t see any tourists and when we stopped by a bakery, they spoke to us in Dutch. Of course we were confused. After walking around for about thirty minutes, we stopped by a café. There were two super gorgeous Dutch white women at the register. I ordered a croissant and a glass of milk for 2€. Finally we headed back up towards the train stop to take it up two more stops to Koog Zaandijk.
11:00AM – En route to Zaanse Schans
The train ride up took about 15 minutes. When we got off, we walked past another bakery, which we would stop by on the way back. We crossed a bridge to get to Zaanse Schans and immediately went into a clock museum. After which it started to rain so we looked for shelter. When the rain died down, we went back toward the clock museum and at lunch at Restaurant de hoop op d’Swarte Walvis. I ordered a ham and cheese sandwich. The group also split the bitterballens (Dutch meat based snack with a mixture of beef). For dessert we split a slice of apple pie. After lunch we walked through a couple tourist souvenir places and then went to the Zaan museum. It was not very interesting in whole, but there was one part where they showed how chocolate biscuits were made. At the end of the tour, we got a free biscuit. The museums were all very empty; it must have been an off day or not many tourists come up here. At one of the souvenir shops we stopped by at we watched someone create a wooden shoe from fresh wood. He used a machine to carve the frame and then used a machete to create the finishing touches. Finally, we stopped by the bakery museum, which we were sorely disappointed with. It was two rooms and basically had a bunch of old shit. Luckily it didn’t cost us extra and was included in the city card. We went to De Kat Verfmolen, which was a windmill. This was probably one of the highlights. It was interesting to see the windmill grinding the limestone. We took pictures and then went up and down the windmill.
3:00PM – De Bijenkorf and Dinner
On our way back down to Amsterdam, we stopped by a department store (De Bijenkorf). The department store was located near Dam square. It looked like a regular mall and was five floors. We collected our gift at customer service, which was a voucher for coffee/tea/hot chocolate and a cake. It was a great slice of cake. Then my buddy wanted to head back to the bakery we found the first day. We took the tram and went to the Heineken Brandstore to pick up a third free gift. Lucky for us the bakery was on the way and was open. After the bakery, my buddy and I went to Hema, which is like a Target. I bought some mini Stroopwafels to take back to the States. Then we meet our local friend at a restaurant for drink. After sometime, more of our local friends came and then we ate at a Thai place near Rembrandtplein. It was not that good to be honest. We talked about how to pronounce certain words in Dutch and how to ask for the bill (rekening (ray-kuh-ning) alstublieft (ost-too-blief)– bill please).
10:00PM- Red Light District
The night before, we walked through the red light district. One of our local friends told us that there were hidden alleys. He took his through the red light district after dinner. We went through several alleys and also what was called the “race track”. Most of them are behind glass doors, but there was a part of the “tour” where they were like literally inches from you. One of them slightly grabbed my arm. I looked back and yes some of them were extremely do able. But, just the social awkwardness of the situation resulted in us not doing anything. Afterwards we just chilled and I had a carbonated ice tea at Leidseplein square. Then we headed back to the hotel.
Day 4 - 5/17/12 – Thursday
Our flight was at 9:50AM. One of my buddies got up extremely late and we were rushing already. First we took the tram 16 to Amsterdam Centraal then bought a ticket to the airport. We checked in to KLM and then checked in our luggage. We barely made the flight with 15 minutes to spare. I’m so glad we booked a direct flight because after 11 hours we arrived back in the States.