Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Amsterdam | glass roof cruise and diamonds

Covering 5 countries in 9 days 6 nights, it was a wonderful summer holiday and we brought home all those sweet memories and experiences of London, France, Belgium, Germany and Netherlands.

It rained on the last day of our Europe holiday in Amsterdam. But then again, we experienced rain while in Bruges. The wettest got to be on our last day in Amsterdam. Cold and windy, trust me when I said the wind could blow you away.

Rain or no rain, we had to proceed with our itinerary.

First stop was the diamond store tour in Gassan Diamonds. I were blinded by all the sparkles. No, I did not buy any home.

Next was the river cruise. Amsterdam's houses and shops were tall and narrow in the front. They had wide windows and in almost every buildings, you will notice a hook hanging on the roof. That was how they moved their furniture into the houses or shops. Hanging and moving through the windows.

Amsterdam is mostly made of canals. And another fact about Netherlands is there is no mountains in this small and low land country! It is basically a flat and low land covered in water. And they generally experiencing strong wind all year round so you would spotted some wind blockers along the highway.

And that was how the Dutch invented windmills with the help of winds in their daily chores etc.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Amsterdam | the Dam Square

Every countries have their own squares. Such as Paris has Concorde Square and so is Amsterdam with its Dam Square. The royal palace and museum were located there. There was a Madame Tussaud building there but we did not go in. 

We spent less than 30 minutes in the Dam Square. Just took few shots and filled up our tummies with snacks from the hot dog stalls.

Pigeons everywhere!!

Cobbled walkway

Madame Tussaud

The palace

History museum

A monument

Friday, August 11, 2017

Amsterdam | windmills and clogs

On our last day in Amsterdam, we visited the Dutch village, Zaanse Schans. About 30 minutes bus ride from Amsterdam. The weather was cold and windy and the rain had just stopped. It was good that we could see the windmills at work.

Actually around Amsterdam we could see huge wind turbines along the way. You could see wind turbines everywhere.

The rustic charm of countryside where we could find the well preserved windmills from 18th and 19th centuries are still working and spinning with the wind. The historical Dutch houses were simply charming. In Zaanse Schans, I felt I went back in time and everything was like how it was back in the olden days.

The village may be a hot tourist attraction but most of the establishments are privately owned. So respect of privacy must be practised. Few windmills were opened up for publics to view. We were lucky to view a mustard-making windmill that day. Of course we got to buy one bottle of mustard home.

The windmills was picturesque by themselves; I simply fell in love with them.

Other than the windmills, we were treated to clogs-making tour as well as cheese tasting. We went for the clogs shop but did not stop at the cheese shop since we still have few cheese blocks that hubby bought back in March.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Cologne | Explore the Cathedral

After spending a night in Brussels, we embarked on a bus ride to Germany the next morning.

Cologne, about 4 hours bus ride from Brussels. We did not spent long time in Germany. Visited one place only and then we proceed to the next and last country in our intinerary.

Our stop in Germany was the largest gothic-style cathedral in Europe. The Cologne Cathedral, constructed in 1248 but along the way its construction was stopped for many years. However work restated in the 19th century and it has survived many bombs during the WW2. It remained standing on otherwise completely flattened city.

Cologne Cathedral, was one of the most visited landmarks in Germany. We did not go into the dark mysterious-looking cathedral although it was free entrance, due to the queue and time constraint. We just enjoyed the sight outside under the strong gush of wind.

Instead we spent time went to the train station which was nearby to get some nice German sausages, walked further to taste German pork knuckle and shopping for bags in Longchamp (right at the side of the cathedral, and next to LV shop). It started to rain when we left Germany for Netherlands.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Brussels | the famous Manneken Pis

We came to Brussels to watch him pee!!

The most famous boy statue located in Grand Place in Brussels, Manneken Pis with its history back during the WW2. Legend had it was on one night, the enemy was planning to blow the whole city down with explosive. They lighted the explosive and as the fire travelled through the city, one very young boy peed on the fire. He indirectly saved the city from been blown.

To commemorate him, a bronze statue was built. It was built in 1619 and the statue has over 360 costumes and usually he would be clothed. But that day whe  we were there, he was risquely naked.

And another statue, Jeanneke Pis was built in 1987 to form a counterpoint to Mannekin Pis. They weren't that far apart. Just one corner of a walkway to another walkway. She, too was in her birthday suit that day. I didn't think she has her own wardrobe, unlike Manneken.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Brussels | Sight-seeing in the Grand Place

Brussels' Grand Place is the focal point of the city; showcasing the timeless masterpiece of architecture. Flanked by rows of former guildhouses, it houses the economic and administrative hub of the city. Ideal place for markets, fairs and public events.

True enough, there was a function in the centre so a big stage was built when we visited the Grand Place. The structure blocked the view from the centre but then again, it did not stopped us from admiring the grand square We took few minutes toook some shots of the surrounding before proceeding to see the Mannekin Pis and bought some Belgium chocolate from the chocolate store.