First Steps into UK/Europe (part 4) - Windmills and Fishing Villages in the Netherlands

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While I was in Amsterdam, I took a day trip out to see the windmills and fishing villages in the Netherlands. The destinations were beautiful, and a good breather from the central which I found quite packed on most days.

We covered the Zaanse Schans windmill, Marken island and Volendam fishing village. Although I'm not one to go on tours (simply because I prefer exploring on my own, rather than adhere to a strict itinerary), I was with family this time. And you know with family they would always prefer the safer and convenient option... And so I just decided to go along with the flow.
The sights at the windmill and village were enjoyable nonetheless.

The bus tour is about SGD$80-90. If you travelled via trains, buses and ferries, the price will be about half of the amount!

Zaanse Schans Windmills

The workspace inside the windmill.

The first stop was the windmills! When you're in Holland, the Dutch windmills just have to be on your list of sightseeing places. Apparently, there was once 100 over windmills here at Zaanse Schans, but they have now been reduced to 7.

Although relatively crowded with tourists at times, it's still a place that's worth visiting! There are also demonstrations held inside the windmills for visitors who are keen to find out how they operate, so if you're keen you can pay a small fee to see the windmill's inner workings. Or well, you can just hang around the porches and fields with the windmill in the background like 95% of the other tourists to take photos LOL.

Zaanse Schans also has really charming green houses and small farms which just adds to the quaint atmosphere of this town.

Marken Island

Marken is a seaside island that is accessible via a ferry. Similarly to Zaanse Schans, there are a lot of quaint green houses that lined the harbour when we first set foot onto the island. It's an island with a strong fishing community and culture.

We didn't spend too long here (probably cause we were rushing for time), but the tour group brought us to a wooden clog factory for us to have a first hand experience to see how the Dutch clogs were made. Still kinda amazing that people still wear them even today lol.

Volendam Fishing Village

The last, and probably my favourite stop of this day trip would be the Volendam fishing village!! Volendam has a couple of restaurants, cafes, bars and souvenir shops right at the harbour, so there is a lot more to do here. The bars/restaurants have some of the freshest fish dishes here.

There is a cheese factory here that allows you a whole range of cheese to sample (I tried like 10 types at least) before I settled on a smoked cheese and two years aged gouda cheese to bring back for Han. I also got a few tins of stroopwafels for my girlfriends here :')
The souvenir shops here are kinda similar to the ones back in Amsterdam, but some things are cheaper here.

The whole day trip with the tour group was done in half a day, so if you're doing it on your own, you can dedicate a couple of hours more for each stop. That's what I would have done haha I wish it was slower paced.

But like every other one of my experiences with tour groups and buses, this itinerary was jam packed. We rushed from one place to the other and barely have any time to soak in what the town has to offer or interact with the locals. I haven't taken a tour bus in years because I'm usually with family when I do, but this day trip just reaffirms my not-so-positive stance on tour buses.

BUT, if you're someone who prefers to have everything planned out for you without having to worry about navigation or when you'll have to catch the last bus back, then consider a tour bus. I'd admit it's very convenient. You pay a sum upfront and have all the transportations laid out for you so you don't have to stress about anything. It feels good to be able to just chill/crash on the bus and wake up at your next sightseeing destination.

Personally, I don't think it's for me or anyone who prefers having more control over their own time and itinerary. But to each it's own y'know.

I'm also left with the final part to my Europe/UK posts, that's going to cover my day trip to Bruges, Belgium! Can't believe the Europe series is actually coming to an end.

But that's a good thing cause I've been wanting to work on my Bangkok trip video (on the Ayutthaya Temples, sunflower fields and monkey temple) before I'm tossed back into the hectic school curriculum in mid August so... Hopefully I'll get around to completing that soon too heh. It's been eight months since my trip to Bangkok omg haha.

Check out my other travel posts:
▶ First Steps into UK/Europe (part 1) - City of London
▶ First Steps into UK/Europe (part 2) - Edinburgh, Scotland
▶ First Steps into UK/Europe (part 3) - Amsterdam Central
▶ First Steps into UK/Europe (part 4) - Windmills and Fishing Villages in the Netherlands
▶ First Steps into UK/Europe (part 5) - Bruges, Belgium

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