Friday, August 27, 2010

Epic Journey of Summer 2010! Part 4 (Holland)

So this blog's about the second part of my trip in Holland! After Amsterdam, we spent a day taking a tour of the countryside that include all the local specialties. Everything was so beautiful and quaint - I really enjoyed it!

They don't call it the land of the windmills for nothing! We saw so many of them, and apparently they serve all different kinds of purposes, such as grinding grain or pumping water. We also saw a lot of more modern ones that convert wind into electricity. They're all over the place!

Our first stop was at a small village that had a small but wonderful tourist attraction: a cheese factory.

It wasn't a very big cabin at all, which just added to its charm, and you actually get to see cheese being made!

The cheese is being melted and churned in that big tub. Lining the shelves are dozens of giant wheels of cheese. It was a pretty impressive process.

And, of course, my favorite part... was samples! I really love cheese in general, but this was something else. Everything was so deliciously rich and creamy, and there were so many different flavors to try out. I think one of my favorites was this smoked cheese, which in the picture is the sausage-shaped one. I was in heaven~

We also got to take a little walk around the village, which was very cute and traditional. There were lots of goats and cows and everything was so green! (This is actually where it started raining a little bit, but honestly, the fact that the weather wasn't too fabulous that day didn't really take too much away from the experience. Everything was still so beautiful!)

Our next stop was a slightly larger town that was right on the cost - I guess a fishing town of sorts? We walked through the streets in order to reach the water. This was a nice little walk in and of itself.

We got to the port and were able to look at the boats for a little bit.

Then we got some lunch from the small stalls along the side of the water. Food straight from the sea! I got some sort of combo that had fish, mussels, shrimp, and so on. I'm not a big fan of shellfish, but I really wanted to try a variety of what they offered! Most of it was fried, so it was kinda greasy, but still very tasty~

After that we were allowed to walk around and shop or whatever until our next little journey. We looked around for some souvenirs and clothes (there was even a place where you could dress up in traditional Holland garb and take pictures!), but we were more interested in visiting the town itself.

There were canals crisscrossing all over the place, and the houses were all sort of squished together -  these small streets were so quiet and pleasant and pretty.

Kitty! We saw this guy a couple of times, and while he did meow incessantly, he wasn't as angry as he looks here XD



Walking past the houses, we were basically in their front yard, everything was so close together, and got to see lots of cute makeshift gardens. The architecture is very typically European and was nice to look at too.


Nice little church! Also, I couldn't get a clear picture of them, but there were a lot of ducks swimming around in the canals too. I love seeing ducklings trailing after their mother X3 

It was then time to leave, and we went from this town to a small island by boat.

Here's the shot through the window of the boat. Bye-bye, port town!

When we got to the new island, we came to a town that had ridiculously narrow streets. The whole group was practically walking in a single file line, and we could literally just look straight through people's windows if we wanted to. It was so tight and crowded (plus the line was constantly moving) so that I couldn't really even get a picture of anything. It was really cool to see all the houses up close though!

And then, on the other end of the village, we came to our last stop: a shoe-making factory. You know those typical wooden shoes from Holland? Well we got to see how they were made. 

Like a cheese making factory, this was also in a very small building, but we had a lot to see. There were shoes everywhere - both completed and still in-process. 

Here's the worker showing us how it's done. See those rows and rows of shoes above him? While I'm sure the shoes were made by hand a long time ago, now they're made with these really interesting (and loud!) machines.

The shoes were cut, sculpted on the outside, then the inside, and smoothed out. There were wood chips flying everywhere and it was really fascinating to watch a shoe being made, start to finish, in a matter of five-ten minutes.

And that was the end of our trip! We took the tour bus all the way back to the city and went back to the hotel tired yet content. I really felt like I saw a lot of Holland, both the key city of Amsterdam, as well as its rural areas, and truly fell in love with the country. Definitely wouldn't mind going back (and having some more cheese!)

The last blog post will be about a quick stop that we had in Germany. My tales of my summer journey will soon come to a close. Hope you're finding them interesting!~

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