Leaving Germany for now and moving on to Copenhagen. Just thought I would share a quick snap while on the ferry. It was an entertaining ferry ride however, as I had never been riding on a train, only to immediately pull into ferry. I did not know ferries did that or were even big enough for that! But sure enough, away we went from train, to ferry, back to train, and then to bus for the final leg of the journey to Copenhagen.
Has there ever been a more perfect naturally occurring oxymoron in the world other than visiting the world’s largest miniature museum? Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg had several exhibits featuring different countries. They had an American table which was intriguing to me as it featured the southwestern canyons, the Las Vegas Strip, and Florida. I thought they would at least have New York. Of course they are still building more exhibits which means we may have to come back. If they happen to build a Paris exhibit…I do not want to know.
But everything was beautiful and expertly crafted. You look at all the tiny details and easter eggs and think about who would have thought to do that and how to even plan for something like that. Miniatur Wunderland had some amazingly engineered pieces as well, including an orchestra hall that opened and closed so you could see the whole opera house, a huge cruise ship that actually floated and docked in real water, working space shuttle that would blast off, working airport where planes would take off, land and return to their terminal, and of course, periodic switching between night and day. Although it got annoying at times for the sake of taking photos, the day actually ended and started again with their timed lighting. You could see all the lights turn on in the night, cars had their headlights turned on, buildings were illuminated, it was all so real. All of the detail was so impressive and creative. They really wanted to make it as lifelike as possible.
The next stop on our European journey was the second largest city of Germany in Hamburg. We were there for one reason and one reason only, to go see the world’s largest miniature museum. I will share my post about that shortly, because it really does require it’s own post as it was a genuine blast. While we were in Hamburg, we hunted for hamburgers which, oddly enough, were harder to find than one would think.
But here we are, gourmet hamburgers, made from 100% prime American grown human meat (my father really hated that joke but I can’t help it, I think it’s clever).
The Dutch really pride themselves on their people, as they should. My family and I stayed at the Rembrandt hotel while we were in Amsterdam. Just thought I should bring it up since the room was so aesthetic. I feel that I truly did have the whole Dutch experience given that I was sleeping under Rembrandt every night!
Part of the reason why Amsterdam was one of the best places I visited while in Europe was because of it’s city-wide bike-friendly attitude. From the wide and spacious bike paths on the side of every single road, to specialized bike traffic lights, finally to extraordinary amount of rights given to bikers over both pedestrians and automobile drivers, it truly is far better to a cyclist in Amsterdam. Being American born and bred, car culture is a core identifying feature not like anywhere else. It is so refreshing to know a place where biking is so highly respected.
In order to truly live like the locals, my family rented our own bikes. It made all the difference immediately as we were able to move around the city with incredible ease.
So what would be the most touristy way to get around the city that is the complete opposite of biking? Would it surprise anyone if I said, of course we did that too. We took a boat tour around the canals, complete with tour guide, and an audio tour with all languages. But you know, you win some and you lose some. We are tourists after all…
Apparently we caught the windmill bug after we saw the little city windmill earlier. We just thought, this is not nearly enough mills. The thing about traveling anywhere with my mother is that she wants the full fairytale, stereotypical experience of anywhere she goes. That is not always the worst way to be. But it not always the goal when you want to feel the current vibe of the city the way the locals see it.
But we are here for the touristy things at the moment. So we ended up here at Zaanse Schans just outside of Amsterdam to understand all of the most Dutch Ducthings that ever Dutched. We basically double dutched through all of Holland. I finally learned what delft is(previously I thought all blue and white floral patterns were considered just China), and we saw too many clogs, tulips, and cheese to even process.
Just the most amazing amount of clogs making this pattern on the wall as they were hung up. It is crazy, given how colorful these pieces of wood look, that they were used only for the purpose of working on soggy farmland. But the clogs were so beautiful that I wanted to take so many photos of just how they looked from far away.
Every part of these place was beautiful despite the gray and rainy day. Even the marshy land was absolutely picturesque.
And of course we ended our little day trip in the famous Amsterdam Centraal station with the letters of the city spelled out in red and yellow on top of the station. I think I would have missed this if we had not gown out by bus. And that was actually really spectacular to see. And, of course, it made for some beautiful pictures with that nice worm’s eye view.
Our morning in Amsterdam begins with the great hunt for food as per usual. The thing about Dutch breakfast/bring cafés, that I suppose is not much different from the rest of the world but it seemed more pronounced here, was how tiny the restaurants were for sitting and enjoying. We tried one café first and were promptly turned away due to lack of space. The next one we went to was luckily nearby and we were fortunate because it had a second floor. This second floor was so nice for viewing the street below as well as the canals. And we got to this café right as the only couple on the second floor was leaving and so therefore, I quickly managed to get in a cute little cafe photoshoot with the large windows.
My family and I then took our rented bikes and found our way to the Rijks Museum to see some works by some of the mot amazing Dutch old masters such as Rembrant and Vermeer.
Of course behind the museum there are more opportunities for photos with the giant I AMSTERDAM letters, the large pond and the little garden.