Lalla's travel in Holland

In Amsterdam anything concerning tourists is quite expensive... to begin with hotels, to end with transport means, not to speak about souvenirs. On the contrary supermarkets, restaurants, bars, newspapers, museum tickets... are more or less as in Italy. My advice is to find an accomodation out of Amsterdam... for instance in Hoorn (33 km. north of A'dam), a very romantic and cosy small town, the ideal atmosphere to rest after the exhausting days of Amsterdam sightseeing or tasting Dutch Citron Ginever in some central pub.
In Hoorn you'll find two small but clean and comfortable hotels at five minutes from railway station.
I was at the Petit Noord 53-55 (0031-0229/212750), a four stars hotel kept by a very friendly Japanese family (a double room with bathroom for 175 florins per night), if you are a fan of Japanese food (I'm not!) you may also try their Japanese restaurant in the hall of the hotel, a little expensive but very accurate.
As an alternative you might stay in Harleem, a very beautiful university town, or in Volendam, a sea resort on the Ijselmeer, or in any other small town around Amsterdam.

From anywhere you may get there by very clean, punctual and comfortable trains, and Amsterdam's Central Station is connected to any area in the city, even the remotest, by tram, bus, bike or boatbus. Moreover, Place Dam, the most important and famous one, is nearby.
I strongly warn you from staying in Amsterdam, beside being very expensive (they went as far as to ask 200 florins for a bathless room in a one star hotel), accomodations are sometimes even unclean or uncomfortable!
So, when you have found a suitable accomodation my advice is, as soon as you get in Amsterdam, to go to some Tourist Office (the first one, opened till to 16 p.m., is just in the Central Station square) and there make your "Amsterdam Cultur and Leisure Pass". It costs about 20$ and gives you a lot of discounts and some free access to museums, transport means, canalbuses and restaurants.

You should surely visit the picturesque red lights district, with its crowded and colourful streets full of shops selling everything, from wooden clogs to decorated dishes, t-shirts, leather garnments, whips, and all kind of curiosities...
Don't forget to go to Van Gogh's Museum and to Rijiskmuseum, then to Anna Frank's house in Prinsensghracht, and don't lose a picturesque motorboat tour in which you'll see the whole historic center by the channels.
If you stay a little more you might go to the ArtisZoo Park: it's a big scientific center with an acquarium (though nothing confronted with Italian Genoa's one), a planetarium and a very rich zoo. Of course any city guide will tell you the things to see, but the ones I have just pointed out are not to lose!!!

Then another city that might strike you favourably is Rotterdam, the biggest port in the world, and a very original city for its experimental modern architecture cleverly mixed up with very classical northern architecture...
In my opinion the best accomodation in Rotterdam is to rent a miny-flat in the Home Hotel in 38, Witte de Withstraat, they have a small kitchen and are in an excellent position, near to a supermarket and in front of a good greek restaurant wher you may take a pleasant supper.

Then, if you want to know some other aspect of Holland, you should go north: crossing the big Afsluitdijk dam go as far as Holwerd, a tiny village at the north top of Holland with only little wonderful hotel "'t Amelander Veerhuis", kept by te family of Mr. and Mrs van Duinen, where you may get a typical dutch meal. But be careful. It might prove a little heavy...
As for food... when there don't lose Gouda cheese and chocolates, they are wonderful!!!
Still going north there is anoter nice one day trip to do: the one to Ameland island. Take the motorboat from Holwerd, when on shore rent a bike and explore the whole island: you'll see the most beautiful beaches overlooking North Sea!

When in Rotterdam you can't lose the tour of the harbour, leaving from Spido pier; have a good look at Erasmusbrug beside the pier and climb up te Euromat, the higher building in Holland, a 185 mt. tower.
Kinderdijk, a little south of Rotterdam, is also nice to visit: it's the widest complex of mills of te country (19 working in turn).

If, as it may happen, you have only one day to spend in the capital city, Den Hag, go to visit Madurodam, a very accurate miniature Holland that'll give you a general idea, visit the center to see the classic House of Parliament, and go as far as Scheveningen, on the North sea, Holland's Cote d'Azur...
I'm convinced Holland is really a fascinating country and rich of different and all equally charming places. The beautiful architectures or the huge Rotterdam port, the wonderful pictures in Amsterdam museums, or its unique picturesque little roads, or the endless silent spaces of the north polder, where the cold wind from North Sea is ever blowing, are difficult to forget. I've finished, for the moment...
As a matter of fact...GOOD TRAVEL!!!!!

F.G.

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