The Easter Trip Part I: The Netherlands*

We started off our trip over Easter in Amsterdam. Well actually, we started off at 7:00 in the morning with a 3 hour train ride to Copenhagen where we caught our 1 hour flight to Amsterdam. Something about the time involved there just seems wrong, but it has become apparent to me that Aarhus is not well situated for easy European travel. Even its own airport is a 25 minute bus ride from the city center, and then you have to fly to Copenhagen airport before you can get anywhere else.

Anyway, we arrived in Amsterdam, booked it over to our hotel, checked in, and then immediately ran out to enjoy the evening. We were only there Friday evening, Saturday, and Sunday morning (which was all spent traveling), so we had to get on with exploring!

IMG_0800

Amsterdam was lovely, but I felt like it was a city with multiple personality disorder. The main area of downtown, the touristy area around the Red Light District, was chockablock full of British tourists. FULL! I swear, I heard more British English than anything else during our time in the city. Apparently, Amsterdam is like the UK’s Las Vegas, and everyone goes there in huge groups on stag or hen nights.

However, if you could get outside of that little pocket, you can discover the lovely, peaceful, canal-bordering streets that you imagined. And the wonderful thing was, it wasn’t that difficult to get outside of the touristy part.

Lovel Canals

Lovely Canals

As you can tell from my outfit, despite the weather forecasts that I saw before we left – which I swear told us there was going to be warm weather! – it was quite chilly while we were there.

So we spent most of our time in Amsterdam pounding the pavement, enjoying the picturesque houses and canals, though we did stop by the Rijks Museum to see some of the great Dutch masters. And we ate so many french fries!

With mayo, which I am now totally behind, by the way. Though I still like ketchup. As long as it's not remoulade!

With mayo, which I am now totally behind, by the way. Though I still like ketchup. As long as it’s not remoulade!

I will say one last thing about Amsterdam. It is so weird to be walking down the street and smell marijuana everywhere and see half naked women posing in the doorway of their little booths. I don’t know why, but knowing that these things are legal in Amsterdam and then actually seeing them are two different things.

Sunday we hightailed it to a small university town in the south of The Netherlands* called Wageningen so Brian could register for his conference, the whole impetus for this trip in the first place. Over the next few days, Brian attended his conference from 9am until 9pm, leaving me free to wander around Wageningen.

I was a little worried about this part at the start of the trip, but it turned out that this was one of my favorite parts of our whole trip. Probably because – as I’ve recently been discovering – I am more a small town or even country girl than I am a city girl. Small towns are just so much more…manageable. And Wageningen still has a wonderfully cute pedestrian street like all European cities, so it’s not like it’s lacking in shopping or amenities.

The Town

It is a university town after all. But just a short 8 minute walk from the center of town (from anywhere in that town, really) was this:

The Floodlands

Beautiful beautiful fields full of wild grass, flowers, and sun.

Plus this is the walk to get there:

IMG_0831

So I spent most of my time in Wageningen wandering around in the sun, reading in the sun, napping in the sun. I even rented a bike and biked in the sun!

The River The Garden The Bike

Plus I got to see all of these sweet baby sheep!

Cute little puffballs.

Cute little puffballs.

I really could live in a town like Wageningen, I think.

IMG_1818

*Note: Although many people in the US refer to this country as “Holland,” the entire country is correctly called “The Netherlands.” North and South Holland are two provinces within The Netherlands. As much of what is famous about The Netherlands – Tulips, Amsterdam – comes from these provinces, it’s pretty understandable that they would get confused. Watch this really cool and useful video (Thanks Yuka!) if you’re still feeling confused:

Advertisements

9 thoughts on “The Easter Trip Part I: The Netherlands*

  1. Loved your travelogue, Allison….especially the pix around Wageningen! The “puffs” were wonderful and I especially liked seeing your Ecco walking boots. Travel on! Can’t wait to see Part II! Mom Pierce

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is true, but it still takes a bus ride of about 1.5 hours to get to that airport. So there are definitely options, but all of them require an additional journey.

      Like

    • It was pretty amazing. I liked it a lot better than I thought I would. It’s made me think that in the future we should maybe focus on smaller cities when we travel instead of just seeing the big famous city.

      Like

  2. Christa is right. I have flown out of Billund to Norway and the continent previously. Was that a dijk in the photo with the bike standing on the side of the road. Rural Netherlands is a fantastic place. I just loved the regions around Arnhem and the Zuiderzee. I will have to see where Wageningen is located. I might add it to my travel wishlist.

    Like

    • I believe it was a dijk, though they looked much different than I thought they would. I expected a huge wall, but they turned out to be just small grass covered mounds! Wageningen is located to the south, but Arnhem. It’s only claim to fame is the university, which is a big life sciences university. (It doesn’t even have a train station.) So it’s not like there are a lot of tourist attractions. But there is a lot of beautiful nature, and we were there at the perfect time to enjoy it. It’s always the things that you don’t expect out of a vacation – in this case, rural Netherlands – that end up being your favorite.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s