A weekend in the Netherlands
A weekend in the Netherlands
The tulips are out for about one more week, and the windmills are spinning! It is a great time to go to the Netherlands. I recently spent some time there and you can squeeze a lot into a weekend away. Our “home base” was Delft, and from there we were able to drive, train, tram and bus to Den Haag, Gouda and Kinderdijk.
The Keukenhof Gardens are famous for their tulips … really famous. Famous enough that one really should book their tickets online a few days prior to their visit; especially if you are trying to go on a weekend day. We did not book our tickets in advance. However, missing Keukenhof did not deny us the terrific tulips. My mother-in-law was quickly on her smartphone and found us an archipelago where the locals go to look at beautiful tulip fields. We began our day driving out there and pulled off at various stops and photographed plenty of fields. (Not to mention all of the tulips we saw on our other experiences)! After the tulip drive, we drove to Kinderdijk and saw centuries-old windmills. We even got to walk around inside one. We had time for one more experience to finish off the day and made our way to Gouda.
In Gouda, I did what you HAVE to do in Gouda…all things Gouda cheese. We did the Gouda Cheese Experience. We hadn’t eaten lunch yet, so we started with a two-person cheese platter and a shot of stroopwafel liquor, then began our adventure in the interactive museum experience. The cashier handed us a questionnaire to fill out as we perused the rooms. We went on a multi-room scavenger hunt and learned all about the cheese-creation process. The scavenger hunt ended with more cheese tasting; yet, this time we knew more about the different types of cheeses we tried. At the end of the tour, we submitted our filled-in questionnaires and the cashier handed us our new “Cheese Master” pins.
In Delft, you can view the beauty inside of the Old and New Churches; each filled with historical artifacts and gorgeous stained glass windows. Within the interior of the Old Church, one can try and guess where famous artist, Johannes Vermeer is buried. The city center is filled with a variety of shops and restaurants to shop for souvenirs and eat delicious food. From Delft, we hopped on the train to Den Haag.
We began our time in Den Haag at Madurodam, the miniature park of the Netherlands. As someone who is 5’4”, this place made me feel like a giant. There are so many 1:25 scale replicas of locales and buildings across the Netherlands. Similar to the Gouda Cheese Experience, Madurodam is a very immersive and interactive experience. We participated in mock cheese price bidding, got our boats across the dams, manufactured a pair of miniature clogs and so much more.
In Den Haag, we thought we’d go see the famous “Girl with a Pearl Earring” (the actual painting- not the many recreations and interpretations we saw across the various cities) at Mauritshuis. We thought wrong. Much like Keukenhof, it would behoove you to purchase your tickets to Mauritshuis in advance. We still got to go to an amazing museum, however: The Haags Historisch Museum. This museum took us through the history of Den Haag and the Netherlands with special attention to women’s rights and the Dutch colonial past.
While you are meandering around the city center looking for a bite to eat or souvenir shopping, watch out for seagulls! We were just innocently walking towards the history museum and watched a seagull swoop down and take a hot dog out of a man’s hand in front of us.
There was plenty more we still could have done, but I feel like we squeezed a lot into two days. Next time I think we will try and see the canals of Amsterdam.
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