Vacation look back: The Netherlands
Wednesday, Jul 17 2013 06:00 | Art, culture, Entertainment, Food, museum, restaurants, travel, vacation
I wasn't quite sure what I was getting into when I decided to stay in the Netherlands for a couples days at the beginning of our trip and at the end. All I really knew was: Canals, Cheese and Windmills. What sort of interesting stuff could a country have other than that? Well, it turns out quite a lot!
As a country in whole, it seems like the Netherlands does have it together quite well. The public transportation system seemed to run on time, efficiently and it was quite clean. Their OV-Chipcard (RDIF way to use the metro) seemed pretty nice and painless to use (similar to a charlie card in Boston - the one with the chip, not the silly one with the magnetic stripe) and there was a ton to see! We ended up getting the 48 hour I amsterdam card (€54) which included unlimited public transportation for 48 hours, as many museums as we wanted to get into (most museums seem to be partners, so that's quite a lot!) and this includes discounts to some selected restaurants and stores. As far as I am concerned, bet €54 I've spent ;-)
We did visit quite a few places, as one might imagine, but my top 2 were the ARTIS Royal Zoo and the National Maritime Museum. The Rijksmuseum was pretty good too but by the end we were tired from our museum tour of duty so we didn't see all of it. The Royal Zoo closes at Dusk (10pm!) on Saturdays in the summer, so we ended up spending 6 hours at the zoo (pretty awesome!) Next time around I do want to visit the EYE Film museum and the Cobra Museum.
As far as food goes, we didn't eat out a lot in the Netherlands (or so it seems anyway), but there are two places that stood out to me: De Wasserette which had killer breakfast, and Cafe Bern which had great fondue and entrecôte.
We ended up staying in Amsterdam for most of the time in the Netherlands, but we also stayed a night in Gouda (which was a pretty nifty town!) As far as amenities go, in the Netherlands, there seemed to be free wifi almost everywhere, which meant that I didn't need to buy a local SIM card. Had we stayed more than 2 days I would have bought one, but for 48 hours you are mostly fine since hotels, museums and restaurants all provide wifi for free.
Can't wait for my next trip to the Netherlands.