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…
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.
I would like to believe that I am finally figuring out how to conquer airports. I am deathly afraid of taxi scams now thanks to watching dozens of Youtube videos related to the tragedy in various airports. But when I arrived in Amsterdam and met up with my dad, we took a bus, a subway, and a tram all to get to our hotel. It makes me feel savvy. First thing you notice about Amsterdam is all the bicycles and their never-ending bell-ringing at you to move out of their way. It is a bit of culture shock to see that bicyclists have greater rights than both pedestrians and motorists. Amsterdam is incredibly accommodating to cyclists as the city has a million different bike paths.
The second thing that I noticed from Amsterdam(which really should have been the first but it was not as loud and obnoxious as people on bikes) was the amazing canals all throughout the city. I suppose this is why they call it the Venice of the north, because it really is a floating city—with all the same sinking risks of Venice too! But the city views were everything I wanted from the city because every angle looking down the canal with the building wrapping around it looked like a work of art. I could very easily imagine Vermeer or Rembrandt getting so much inspiration from the city.
My family and I ended up stopping at a few different grocery/market type places in deep search of food as always. We went to this little one called Hema, the one that was the most our style was Albert Heijn, and then this one, Marqt, the fanciest and most aesthetic of the three. I just had to take a pic with that sign, it was calling my name.
This windmill was just a little one in the city, we went to more and bigger windmills. But still, it is just something you have to do as a tourist in Amsterdam is pose with all of the windmills