Since the bus stopped in front of Hotel Victoria which is located just 5 minutes walk from Amsterdam Centraal, we directly headed to the building to buy train ticket to Zaanse Schans. Amsterdam Centraal itself is very pretty from the outside with the fade reddish Victorian look and it is quite big actually.
To get to Zaanse Schans, we bought tickets to Koog Zandijk which cost about €5.80 if bought from ticket machine or €6.30 if bought from the counter. Yes, it cost more if you buy it from the counter. I don't know why, maybe it's because they charge service tax as well? We walked to platform 10a and waited for the train there. The train has two classes; one is first class and another one is second class. We bought second class ticket obviously. The journey took about 20 minutes and then we walked for another 15 minutes to reach our destination. We dropped by a bakery to buy something to eat for lunch. I bought a few croissants and it was totally delicious. Crispy from the outside, and soft in the inside.
So, what's so special about Zaanse Schans? Well, it is a village where you can find everything. From windmill to museums and shops. It is located at the riverside. A lot of museums could be visited here such as bakery museum, wooden shoes museum and cheese museum. There is four or five windmills here. So, it's a good opportunity to take photographs with them. Surprisingly, we bumped into Woon Chit here. Here's our classmates from IMU-Strathclyde. Looked like a lot of people went to Amsterdam this spring.
The first stop we visited was a spice and herb museum. Here, they exhibits the equipments used to mill the spices into fine powder. They also sell the spices and herbs along with some souvenirs. My target was souvenirs of course so I grabbed a couple of pin badges and postcards.
Then, we're off to see a row of windmills. It's quite huge actually when looked closer. We didn't climb into the windmill because it's not free.
Next, we went inside a cheese museum. There's a lot variety of cheese sold here ranging from Gouda to Blue Cheese. I went to hear the briefing from the staff, however after she talk about rennet and stuffs, I knew that we could not eat the cheese because it contain animal source. Luckily I didn't taste the sample. I bought a windmill miniature and fridge magnets here. The miniature cost about €5 while the magnets are €1.95 each.
We walked further to the back of the village to see the production of wooden shoes. Wooden shoes are famous in Holland apart from tulips. They were so colourful and nice. A lot of designs as well. In addition, there were a few sets of giant wooden shoes outside the museum for us to take photos. Niceeee~ =) There a couple more of souvenir shops around this area but their price range was merely similar.
Back in the city centre, we bought our lunch outside Amsterdam Centraal. Luckily there is a kebab shop there. So each of us bought something to eat. Then, we took the tram to find our hostel. From Amsterdam Centraal we took the tram to Van Baerlestraat. We were staying at Hotel Van Gogh (previously known as Hostel Van Gogh).
Hotel Van Gogh
Van de Veldestraat 5, Amsterdam Oud Zuid, 1071 CW Amsterdam
This hotel was not cheap after they charged us with city tax as well. So we had to pay approximately €60 for 2 nights (per person). After checking-in our hotel, we rested a bit before going out again to take photo with the 'I amsterdam' word statues. It's located just a few minutes walk from our accommodation. The nearest tram station if you wanna go here is Hobbermastraat.
We continued our city tour by visiting and shopping at Hard Rock Cafe Amsterdam. It's located just beside the Holland Casino and it's very easy to spot. The nearest tram station is Leidseplein. I bought a t-shirt and a pin badge as usual. We hopped in several shops to find things to buy such as souvenir and whatnot. However, the price were kinda expensive in there so we postponed to buy souvenirs until the next day. We also took the chance to take photos at the famous spots in Amsterdam such as the canal and the tall buildings.
At night, we went back to the 'I amsterdam' place to take photos again but it was so dark. They should put some lights to make it more interesting. I went back to my room to take a bath before I went down to the cafe with Bella to lepak2 and drink coffee. Plus, we took the time to skype with Ida through my tablet. After spending hours downstairs, I retired to bed.
We were gonna to visit Keukenhof tomorrow. It's a garden full with tulips!