Yesterday Danimal and I headed out to the countryside to see how the Dutch do things old school. We took a twenty-minute train ride from Amsterdam’s Central Station to the quaint town of Koog-Zaandijk.
In my opinion this is a town divided by a bridge. The tourist side of the bridge, which really exists for the sole purpose of showing visitors the heritage of the Netherlands, complete with kitschy gift shops where you can buy ceramic replicas of wooden shoes in every color possible. For as touristy as it was, I loved seeing the old windmills and the animals, plus it is nice to get a taste of the countryside.
The other side of the bridge is where people actually live. The coziness of the homes and their spacing reminded me of all of the things I enjoy about Carmel, California. Danimal and I had some cocktails at a boutique hotel, D’vijf Broers, on the water before heading back. We give the atmosphere, service and cocktails two thumbs up. All in all, this was a good little side excursion.
[On an unrelated note: Have you hugged your travel agent today? Danimal and I used a travel agent for the first time ever on this trip. When we returned from the countryside yesterday we had an email from him saying we needed to Skype him because there was going to be a rail strike in Belgium. If it had not been for Paul, we would have had no idea and headed to the train station tomorrow expecting to go somewhere. He had us new train tickets and adjusted our hotel reservations in warp speed. In an industry that has changed dramatically thanks to Al Gore inventing the World Wide Web, we give Paul Henry major props and highly recommend his travel planning services. Thanks for saving us, Paul!]