Visiting Holland – from Amsterdam to Keukenhof
Holland in May, the perfect time to visit Keukenhof
Weather in May: 45 – 70 degrees
What to Pack for a four day trip:
Wear – a Watch, sneakers, comfy clothes. Also wear a waist belt with Tylenol PM (so you can force yourself to sleep and change to their time), camera, passport, $, palm wallet, eyeglasses, cell phone, hand sanitizer, floss, air tickets.
Back Pack: Water bottle, pen, notepad, book, sweater, brush, toothbrush & paste, phone numbers, digital camcorder.
Carry on/Suitase – copies of passport, copies of traveler’s checks, clothing underwear, socks, swimsuit, shoes, trip information, hotel reservations, directions, umbrella, light rainproof coat with hood, 2 pairs of pants, 4 T shirts, long underwear. (For a woman who is on the go):
Black cotton pants, lightweight cargo pants w/lots of pockets, 4 tops w/ fleece jacket, one wool sweater for cool nights. Be sure not just to get a converter but a VOLTAGE converter as well when traveling to Holland.
Getting there: KLM/Northwest – did not enough baggage space, so be aware, get your bags in the overheads quickly. There are some definite advantages to business class: three movies – “Chicago”, a guy thing “Catch me if you can”, while we got one Evelyn. We figured we should sleep anyway.
In Holland: Traveling by canal is a blast, we chose Holland Int’l . canal tour over ( lovers.nl.) as they were nicer 950 euros. There are 2500 houseboats in Amsterdam.
Amsterdam Bus information – A strippen carte – which is 5 Euro’s, which once punched is good for any bus, tram or metro and does not need to be restamped with in one hour of last trip.
Finding a Hotel: There are hotels around every corner. If the hotels on the net are sold out – don’t worry, be happy! You’ll find many when you arrive…if not get a train for 7 Euro, and in just 20 minutes you can go to Delft or Rotterdam for a day. Trip to Alzmeer for Hotel Victoria / Central Station is about 5 Euro with your strippen carte. Take bus 172 (info dated as of 12 May 2003). Bus numbers are said to be unlikely to change.
Everyone speaks English!
About our trip:
Flight left Albany 4PM Wednesday – We took Tylenol PM & Slept 5 hours and arrived at 9 AM in Holland.
Day 1: Airport to Keukenhoff (The Flower Gardens and Market) & Back to Amsterdam Upon arrival we went to the tourist office and they pointed us to the airport bus tour to Keukenhoff. There was a tour offered but it cost 50 euros and was restrictive. We decided after talking to others, that 1 ½ hrs. at Keukenhoff (The Flower Gardens and Market) was not enough time & 50 euro each was too much. We took the train to Leichen, 10 minutes (5 Euro) and bus to Keukenhoff (20 minutes) including entrance fee 16 euro for me, 14 euro for mom – senior discount – it was quick, easy. We took our time in the Gardens & walked aimlessly enjoying the views for nearly 4 hours. We enjoyed resting & eating at the expensive restaurant at the gardens (a salad was $8.00).
Our ticket included the return to Amsterdam Central, where we bought a strippen carte 6 euro, which we used to board the tram to BW Eden 5-10 minutes. There we dropped our bags. I tried to use my American breast pump but with the 120 volt max in the 220 volt outlet broke the pump so off we went running to Prenatal to buy another. It was 5 PM and stores close at 6 PM. Next time buy a better voltage converter! All the great shopping was on Kalve Stratt (a street with great shops). There we saw a well-dressed man who suggested dining at Louden. Since they didn’t serve mussels we were told the Oester was the best Seafood Restaurant in Amsterdam. At the Oester bar they sent us to yet another restaurant Stoop de Stoop. There we were finally told that mussels were awful this time of the year as they were out of season. We then went across the Street to Pisa, an Italian pizzeria – where we found the food was not so good – very disappointing. Next time Louden’s! It pays to research restaurants ahead of time.
Holland is relatively a small nation. Rotterdam is just 1 Hr south of Amsterdam – take a train for less than $10. Visit the Zoo. A pleasant area for walking, cycling or a visit by boat. Hotels are 69 Euros, which includes breakfast for two. Where in Amsterdam hotels of the same caliber are $30 or 28 Euros additional for breakfast for two. If you want to see more of the region the train trip is lovely too.
Day 2: Delft – famous for fine Royal Delftware ceramics, whereby blue is applied in a method of nuances dating back to the 17th Century. You may visit the pottery.
We stayed on the main square in Hotel Tiraedthuys in a very basic room with large windows that viewed the canal. It had a a private shower but a shared bathroom across the hall. We had first checked into a room that was too smoky but with a great view into the main square and of the Cathedral. So we switched – Be kind but persistent! It’s worth it! The room was very inexpensive $50.
We arrived Saturday for the market, which was a typical European Market. There are so many hotels in Delft. We took a chance in Delft and it paid off. No phones or hairdryers but firm beds, and great location. Great weather! The Best Western was in OudeDelft, a nice residential side of town near the old Church , which leans. I preferred the location of a cheap hotel over the location of the Best Western.
For Dinner, we followed the crowds to “Billy Bear”, a very Dutch restaurant that cost 30 Euros for two w/drinks & tip. Very large shrimp, we had ribs with 4 sauces, skewered pork/peanut sauce, excellent ? w/fries and salad. I think we were the only tourists in the restaurant. Typical Dutch and very good food – not gourmet but delicious nonetheless. We really enjoyed it!
Afterward we came back to the hotel and set off to walk the city to the old Church & all around looking in the windows at the elegant & modern décor of the “natives”. Most Curtains were open or did not have them.
At the market we bought snacks: breakfast croissants, pastries, brie and oranges – 6 Euros. Water 1 Euro.
Day 3: Kinderdijk – Kinderdyke, Holland – The Netherlands – An adorable town with 19 windmills on an island way below sea level. 45 min. from Brielle and 30 min. from Rotterdam. Absolutely worth a trip! You can go into a working windmill. You can take a canal boat to Kindeedict or the train. Public transportation is so easy in Holland. Weather mid 60’s-70’s
Day 4: We took a train to Amsterdam arriving at 11:00 A.M. Had a coffee/cappuccino & met a Dutch friend. Dropped off our bags at the hotel to be locked ( Check-in is at 2:00) and walked through Amsterdam stopping at a café for a coffee. Went to a grocery store and bought drinks, bread, cheeses, chocolate and had lunch in Vandel Park, where there is a nice Youth Hostel – which is booked far in advance. There is so much to see in Amsterdam, it is fun just to grab a map and walk around.
The next morning we took a early train to Schippol / Airport. 12 minutes later we were at the airport & very hungry. The Brasserie was highly recommended – lobster Bisque, asparagus soup, salmon tartar and a Salad ran over 40 Euros but the food was delicious, healthy served with heavy whole grain bread, a lovely olive oil tapanade. Then on to the plane (allow 3 hours for Security).