We set off the next morning for a tour that we had opted for with AFC Holidays that took us on the coutryside of Holland covering Rotterdam, The Hague and Madurodam.
Rotterdam was approximately one and half hour away from the hotel NH Jan Tabak. The ride was absolutely stunning with numerous wind mills and canals on the way. An extremely picturesque landscape indeed.
The skyline of Rotterdam is dominated by the tall buildings that were constructed after the town was destructed during the world war II. It is a fairly a new town now and there are bits and parts preserved of the old town as well. It is quite different from Amsterdam and is the largest city in Netherlands. Rotterdam is known to be home to the largest harbor in Europe.
Erasmus bridge connects the north and the south parts of Rotterdam. It is a sight to see and its magnificence steals the show. This bridge is also known as the SWAN.
We stopped by the pencil building and the cube houses that are also a highlight of Rotterdam. They were built on the concept of “living as an urban roof”. The design represents a village with a city where each house represents a tree and altogether a forest. Quite an interesting design and representation indeed.
After a tour around the Erasmus bridge in Rotterdam when then headed towards Delft. Delft is a region that lies towards the north of Rotterdam and south of The Hague. Delft is largely known for its historic canals and the stunning Delft blue Pottery.
As a part of the tour we visited the Delft pottery factory dated back to the 17th century when it all started. It was a great experience walking through the entire factory where they demonstrated how the pottery is made. It is quite a long process until you get the final product. Very fascinating indeed!
It was pleasure walking up this beautiful building which looked like a home in the middle of a residential area in Delft. This is the last remaining Delftware factory from the 17th century. The royal Delftware is entirely hand painted like the centuries-old tradition.
This factory has preserved its first artifact to the latest and its a beautiful little factory that brings about the most luxurious Delftware. The artifacts here are more expensive for its originality as compared to the printed ones that are found at souvenir stores or markets. There are six full time painters and 3 that work out of their homes. It was Sunday when we visited, so we couldn’t interact with any of the painters though. Probably next time, would like to hear their stories and thoughts behind such gorgeous pieces.
This was the view right opposite the Delft pottery factory. It was absolutely breath taking and calming. Looks like a very relaxed neighborhood.
There are quite a few cafes, shops and restaurants on either side of the square. Visit the cheese shops for some free samples or photo ops… or even buy the famous Dutch cheese. You can stop by for some souvenir shopping or probably grab a sumptuous meal at a rustic little cafe, like we did. This also square holds a weekly craft market.
While we were prancing at the Delft Square we were on the lookout for a quaint cafe to have our lunch in. We were attracted to this typical Dutch cafe in midst of all the other cafes for its interiors that looked very cozy and interesting. I shall be doing a detailed review on our experience for here is just a gist of what I ate and drank at the cafe on a rainy afternoon in Delft. There is so much to do when I visit Europe that I when i sit to eat I can’t wait to go out and explore and when I’m out to explore I can’t wait to eat in these gorgeous little cafes. Sigh!
The Hague is the third largest city in Netherlands and is known mostly for its constitutional buildings as the Dutch government is situated in The Hague. As we were strolling around the streets of The Hague we noticed that The Hague came across as quite a serious city as all the decision making happens there. Whereas Amsterdam on the other hand is a party town.
Binnehof is a complex of buildings in the city centre of The Hague. It lies right next to the Hofvijer lake and has a large amount of tourists visiting the centre everyday. It was built in the 13th century and has been preserved since then and we were told that it shall be closed for a few months for restoration of the property. Before you head there you might want to confirm before hand! Binnehof boasts about being the oldest house of parliament still in use.
Our last stop of the tour was at the Madurodam. This is a miniature park and a major tourist attraction in The Hague, Netherlands. We were quite excited to explore the miniature park and understand the concept behind it as it is one of its kind. Madurodam was renamed after George Maduro a soldier who died in the second world war.
Overview of Madurodam…
….And that was the end of our tour at Madurodam.
We headed to Amsterdam after a fabulous tour around the countryside for some photo op at the famous IAMSTERDAM icon. The place was bustling with massive amount of tourists and locals enjoying the vibe and we could smell everything from freshly baked waffles to crepes to frankfurters and marijuana in the air. People enjoyed getting photographed at IAMSTERDAM, some sqeezed between the letters and some managed to climb on top of them, a must visit when in Amsterdam. The area has a few food trucks that sell amazing Dutch delicacies and fast food and on the other side they have an interesting craft market.
From Iamsterdam we hopped on to tram and got down at Dam sqaure. This was our second last night in Amsterdam and we wanted to discover the place at night. It gets even more stunning at night with all the streets lit up and canals reflecting the lights on the streets. Its a view that I wish I could capture for a lifetime. Already smitten by its beauty by the day and at night it got even better. This makes me so nostalgic !!!
After a long walk through the city, almost peeking into all the cozy cafes and homes that we could spot, we proceeded towards Amsterdam Central to catch the train by 11pm. We walked from length to length and we could not feel our feet when we sat down in the train. But the feeling of discovering Amsterdam by foot was inexplicable!
Day 3… coming up