Tania Dey writes:
This will probably be the most memorable conducted tour that I ever had. I knew that my stay in Flanders will remain incomplete if I don’t see the Dutch countryside and viator.com was my first choice, as I have traveled with them before (Montreal and Boston). The local tour operator, Lindbergh Excursions, had their office just a few steps away from Amsterdam Central Station (photo), which was our departure point. The tour was very informative. Our bus was equipped with GPS audio guide and our tour guide Erna (photo) seemed to have a thorough understanding of Dutch life and culture. Her personality and sense of humor added a different dimension to our tour.
Our first stop in this tour was the Village of Marken. The serenity of those cottage shaped vegetable dyed houses (photo), the beautifully decorated front porches (photo) and the ponds with duckies had a tranquil impact on me. It was raining every now and then, but that didn’t seem to reduce our enthusiasm at all. After a short walk, we reached the Clog and Cheese Factory in Beatrix Brug (photo). The inside was studded with typical Dutch wooden shoes or ‘clogs’ - some hand-painted (photo), some being raw (photo). We watched a guy making those nice shoes in front of us and a lady demonstrated some basic facts about their traditional cheese making. There was also an outlet to purchase souvenirs.
After an extremely refreshing boat tour, we reached the Village of Volendam, a stunningly beautiful fishing village on the bank of river IJ. We enjoyed our fish-n-chips dinner over here. The souvenir shops around had a good collection of keep-sake items including Delftware potteries (photo) and it felt like buying a few more. A stroll around the bank revealed some lively statues and a panoramic view (photo).
This time we walked through the village houses of Volendam with some amazingly beautiful decorations (photo) and boarded the bus again. Our final stop was the Village of Zaanse Schans, a UNESCO heritage place, famous for its fabulous Windmills (photo). Although lost in my endless photography (photo) and plunged in the beauty of the surroundings, finally I made it in time. Our driver with a huge clock (photo) showing the meeting time and with the warning of this place not having any public transportation, it was hard for us to forget when to get back. This place also had some souvenir shops, a cheese outlet (bought some mouth watering Smoked Cheese) and women with traditional costumes (photo), but windmills were the prime attraction to me.
Words are insufficient to describe this entire trip, but I tried …