27.05.2016 - 29.05.2016
On Friday (the 27th) I decided to get out of the city for a bit and see the country side a bit. So I hopped onto a tour called the "Charm of Holland" and went for a day trip! For some semantics- Most people (myself included before this trip) think Holland is synonymous with the Netherlands, probably because at one time the Kingdom of Holland included what we now know as the Netherlands but currently if you ask a native where Holland is they tell you currently out of the 12 provinces that make up the Netherlands, there is a North Holland and a South Holland. So today calling the Netherlands Holland would be like calling the United States -Dakota. Not the same. Ok back to my trip. I went on a day trip to a windmill village where we saw a windmill that dates back to the 1700s, one was recently restored and fully functional as a wood saw windmill! We got to go inside and see it in action- super cool. But very slow, really not time efficient but hey what do I know. On a windy day it can saw 2 meters an hour. Also included on this trip was a cheese factory, a ferry ride to a cool island called Marken, and a trip to a wooden shoe factory! Some of the old towns were really cool! What interests me most is how on average Amsterdam and this area of the Netherlands is 1.5 meters below sea level! Which required them to built crazy dykes and dams to prevent farms and houses from flooding! Sometimes it worked and sometimes not.
That evening after the day trip I decided to rent a bike and bike around Vondelpark which is a huge park adjacent to my hostel; it's about half the size of golden gate park but with twice as many stoners as Dolores park if you can imagine! I stayed mostly in the park because the biking in the city is so intense I was frankly terrified. I know my limits haha.
The next day was pretty relaxed, did some more biking, went to the Rijksmuseum which houses a lot of Rembrandt and some more Van Gogh and had some lunch on the canal. That night I met a bunch of people at the hostel bar and we watched a big soccer match between two Madrid teams. I was sad to leave Amsterdam because it was my favorite city so far but excited about what's next!