Sunday, July 27, 2014

Europe Fall 2013 - Windmills, Cheese and Clogs! (Day 8)

Hopefully today's gonna be a relaxing one since we are joining a full day local tour by Lindbergh Tours. We didn't which tour company initially since we booked it via Viator.
Its a full day, approx 9.5 hours called Amsterdam Super Saver 3: City Tour, Zaanse Schans Windmills, Volendam and Marken Day Trip at 50/pax. Which is a steal since the windmills and the cheese factory are pretty far away and it will be a hassle going there by public transport. We believe the tour price varies depending on the travel period.

Remember to print and bring along that e-tickets and redeem the actual tickets at their center.
Some random snaps since we were arrived there before the departure time. Very cartoon like buildings :P
Here are some snaps on the bus along the way.
Heineken factory, my colleague said there isn't much to do there, but if you are a beer lover, you get a pint upon leaving the factory :P
The city tour wasn't worth the time as we spent quite a bit at the diamond factory... well, its a good experience though since there's a walk through on how diamonds was processed before reaching the market but at the end of the this tour, it feels like they are trying hard to sell you something :P
 Machines used for shaping and polishing:
 One of their largest diamonds, the black one:
The famous iAmsterdam taken from afar:
Some random snaps on the way back to the center.
After the city tour, there around an hour and the half before the windmill tour starts. So we had a quick bite at Greenwoods, just a stone throws away from the tour center. Ranked 4th in Amsterdam by Trip Advisor, unfortunately we didn't know how to appreciate it :(

We ordered almost all of the specials of the day.
Breakfast omelette (with 4 kinds of cheese), the eggs is nice but there's one or more cheese that has quite a pungent smell...
 Beetroot with celery soup, pretty much tasteless...
 Lunch special, too sour :P
Anyway, the presentation was good and the staffs were friendly :)
And we forgot to snap the receipt... its around 20+

We headed back to the tour center to continue the second part of our tour which covers Zaanse Schans Windmills, clog factories, Marken and Volendam Cheese factory.

First stop is Zaanse Schans, a small quiet and cozy village, loads of info on the web, won't repeat them here :)
There are some with entrance fees, some are free. This is inside one of the windmills, its used to make spice:
Caught this beauty while leaving to Volendam and Marken:
Next stop is the cheese factory, here they explained how cheese is processed and there's also tasting for a lot of cheese! Being a cheese lover, I tried most of them and bought the smoked one! Unfortunately forgot to take a photo of it :(
We took a walk in the village to the clog factory, beautiful and pleasant, perfect weather!
Very pleasant and amusing guy! He explained the entire clog making process and even did a sample on the spot!
Plus, he took and handful of saw dust and handed over to me and said, "This is Dutch custom, put them in your pockets" :P
Used to be a very manual process, now with machines, they just put it in and the machine does the rest. Below is the "freshly" sample :)
Wife wasn't feeling very well and slept the entire trip back... took her back to the hotel then I went out to buy dinner, bought "Char Siew" and "Siew Yuk" rice from Nam Kee.

Along the way, I took some beautiful night shots! Looks like a piece of art, doesn't it? :)
Noticed the crowd on the bridge in the middle of the photo? That's Red Light District! The restaurant was on another direction so i didn't pass that area!

And when I tell people that, they said "Are you for real, mate?! That's like going to Paris and skipping the Eiffel Tower!!". Next round we will return to this place! I promise! :P
Basilica of St. Nicholas just opposite the Main station:
 The Central Station:
Let's hope my wife get's well soon tomorrow :)