Monday, September 17, 2012

Europe - Pit Stop 5 - Zaanse Schans

It was our last day in Amsterdam and we decided to venture out of the city for a bit. I wanted to visit one of the open air museums and we decided on Zaanse Schans. It's about a 15 minute train ride and then a 15 minute walk to the museum from Amsterdam. 

Unlike the other museums, this is an open-air museum.  It almost feels like you are visiting a small countryside town. They have re-created a 17th century Dutch town and is devoted to the traditional lifestyle along the Zaan. Zaan was once lined with hundreds of windmills. Today it's heavily industrialized and houses a giant corporate chocolate factory. 

I'll now let the pictures speak for the place.
A typical windmill as you enter the town 
Sid posing in front of the windmill 
Plenty of tourists just rent bikes and bike around the museum 
The lush green scenery 
Picture perfect, straight from a fairy tale

We toured one of the several old fashioned windmills. This particular one was used for grinding the spices. Try to choose a windmill that is spinning, that ways you will be able to see more action inside. 
This man selling delicious gelato caught my attention. His cart was small but full of colorful objects. The two brass lids are huge pots where he keeps the gelato. The gelato was creamy and simply delicious!!
The gelato cart
There are plenty of museums all around and in some places you could pet animals :) I don't know who was more scared, the goat or me??
It was a beautiful day and i thoroughly enjoyed just walking around aimlessly. The sun was warm and bright and it was a scene straight from fairy tales. It was unbelievably picture perfect. Our next stop was the Clog museum (or the wooden shoe workshop). This one in particular is more engaging that the other attractions. You can catch a live demonstration of how clogs are made.

Colorful clogs from different regions of Netherlands were beautifully displayed in the museum. Excitedly, I tried one on but decided against buying it. They were a bit heavy and would require getting used to it. I loved the bright colors and the patterns imprinted on each one of them.
Sid, tries his hand on these, finally after a few attempts manages to perfectly balance on it :) 
The De Catharina, Hoeve Cheese farm is really a giant cheese shop which shows you how cheese is made. A costumed Dutch maiden explains the process in detail and in the end dispenses samples of cheese hoping to allure customers into buying some :)
At the cheese making museum
Spotted this cute post on the way
Zaanse Schans is a fun place to visit for a few hours during the day. There is a festive mood in the air and people are generally very relaxed and happy. They are lounging in their boats, drinking and having a good time. You might catch a live band playing in the evenings.
A live band entertaining the crowd

There are not very many food options at the museum. In fact to be precise there might be only two places to eat. We decided to try the De Hoop op d'Swarte Walvis. They have beautiful outdoor seating and an ambitiously priced menu. The food is nothing to rave about, but it's probably the best you will get out there. 
Outdoor seating at the restaurant
Chicken Wrap
Tomato soup
The best experience about this outdoor dining was the live music. Every few minutes there were boats and boats of sailors singing out loud. It was so much fun to watch them. What a festive feeling :) I've never quite experienced something like this and loved it!! Here is a small video:

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Zaanse Schans and would highly recommend it if you are visiting Amsterdam. It's unique, fun and a very Dutch experience!! 


Julie said...

Those windmills are amazing!!!

Nathan Niche said...

Such a fun trip, seeing these pics I really wanna go and have fun there, it looks like a make-belief child's play world for adults too! so cute and I love those wooden clog shoes and windmill! So glad I clicked on your comment that led me back to your blog, and oh yeah I totes followed you since your posts' contents are info and image juicy so expect to be seeing some regular comments from me, you don't have to follow me back don't worry. Ok, I've just uploaded my five looks for five days of London Fashion Week, so if you're looking to judge what this UK blogger/provoker wore to LFW, then may I suggest you in having a lil' look see, provoking comments are always appreciated big time lol.

xx The Provoker

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Shruti Kapoor said...

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Melissa Blake said...

Those shoes! How fun! Looks like you had a great time.

Shruti Kapoor said...

Thanks Melissa, this place was magical. A lot of fun!