Bikes, Cheese and Flowers- My Stop in Holland

(Once again- I’ve proven to be a terrible ‘on the road’ blogger. I’m not taking it too hard, I’m here to see and not blog, and I am certainly doing that.- Don’t forget to follow my social media sites- my personal and blog Facebook pagesTwitter, Instagram (esmith7273) and Untappd– I have been doing better on those.)



Four excellent days in Iceland, I was ready to head to Amsterdam. I was excited for a couple reasons- first, I was going to be able to spend a couple of days seeing the sights with my friend Toni (the talent behind the wonderful blog Reclaiming My Future), and I was headed back to a city I knew well and had always enjoyed.


Toni loving the pesto cheese


Frites & Mayonaise!

Having been to Amsterdam so many times allowed me to approach this visit with a little more casual pacing than I usually take on my trips. After dropping out things off in our rooms at the hostel. We headed out for a nice long walking tour. We loved the cheese sampling near the Flower Market, and also indulged in some Vlamese Frites, that is, fries with mayonnaise.



We also had a chance to visit my favorite Amsterdam spot, The Begijnhof- a small 15th century courtyard where nuns used to car for women, the ill, and the destitute. Today there are two beautiful churches and some pretty green spaces.


Royal Palace on the Dam


View of seven bridges


On the tram

After a brief stop in the Dam, it was time to catch a canal cruise. Despite having been to Amsterdam on numerous occasions, I hadn’t actually done a canal cruise since my initial visit in 1997. It certainly provides a different perspective, seeing the city from the water.


The Red Light District at dusk

In the evening, we took a brief stroll around Amsterdam’s infamous Red Light District. It did’t take long to tire of that, so we headed out to wander around the pretty canals to the east.


The action starts early in Aalsmeer


Auction Hall

I met Toni early the next morning for an excursion we were excited about- a visit to the Flower Auction at Aalsmeer. I’d done this on a previous visit and was really looking forward to a return trip. I wasn’t disappointed. I can’t wait to write the much longer post on Aalsmeer later.


Plethora of good available at the Albert Cuypmarkt




And Waffles!!

On my previous visits, I spent many days wondering around the Albert Cuypmarkt, a fabulous local market located just south of the Heineken Experience. We headed out there for a look around and to grab a small bite to eat.


Anne Frank House in background


Ready for the Tour de France

One of the things that Toni really wanted to do was bike around the city like the locals do, and in the afternoon, we accomplished that. Continuing with the good weather luck, the previously gray, drizzly skies we had encountered broke and gave us some sun for almost the whole bike trip.


No Tulips 🙁


Pretty, but still no tulips

The next day we headed to the Keukenhof, the expansive gardens about an hour from Amsterdam. About a week and a half before, we had heard through the blogosphere that the tulips weren’t really blooming due to an exceptionally long and cold winter in Northern Europe. Upon arrival, it was clear that they hadn’t started to bloom yet. It was a little bit of a disappointment, but the gardens were still lovely and the weather couldn’t have been any nicer.


Orchid exhibition

Since the fields and gardens lacked the tulip colors we were looking for, we spent a lot of time in the pavilions, where we were able to appreciate the many varieties of flowers that should have been blooming in the gardens.


Tulips in the main exhibition hall

Especially interesting was the main pavilion were all of the tulips Holland is so famous were on display.


We did find some tulips 🙂


Let the Eurail Journey begin! 

Then, for me, it was off to Belgium. Toni had a solo night in Amsterdam before her flight out the next day. It was a pleasure spending the time with a friend who I admire so much. I can’t wait to read her posts about the experience (Again, Toni’s blog is Reclaiming My Future. Follow the link, you won’t be disappointed!)

9 Responses to “Bikes, Cheese and Flowers- My Stop in Holland”

  1. Scarlett says:

    great pics Erik – those churros look amazing!! I have to visit Amsterdam x

  2. Scott says:

    Yep, Amsterdam sure is a classic, isn’t it? I had been a couple times but didn’t fall in love with it until this last November when Julia and I housesat there the entire month. We are going back in July for a few weeks and I am really excited to see it in the summer and to finally find that Begijnhof as we missed it in November after I read about it on your blog a couple years ago.

    • Erik says:

      I can’t wait to read about your experiences. If you can’t find the Begijnhof, tweet me and I’ll send along a better map- it’s too awesome to be missed. Have fun and I’ll be following (and super jealous!)

  3. So many things to love about Amsterdam; frites and mayo, tulips, canals and cheese to name a few. Looks like a fabulous time was had, love the photos 🙂

  4. Kris Koeller says:

    Looks like a blast!

  5. Maria says:

    That auction hall is intense! I wouldn’t be able to leave… mainly ’cause I doubt I’d be able to find the exit. *laugh*

    Do you think that’s part of the plan? *grin*

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