Tomorrow I will pick up my guests, an American couple, from Amsterdam. Tuesday is the start of my customized 2 day trip! During this 2 days Holland Travel may accompany my guests and drive them through the Netherlands. I think it’s quite exciting, because the intention is to drive to Friesland and end up the 1st day in Zwolle. The 2nd day I will take them to Rotterdam, Delft and The Hague. This day is pretty exciting. It will be a challenge to drive directly to Rotterdam.
I live in Nijverdal, this town is located in the eastern part of the Netherlands in the province of Overijssel, so I’m already driving to Zaandam tonight. My brother lives there and I can spend the night at his place. That way I will be on time in Amsterdam tomorrow morning.
What preceded it
Last Saturday I already met my guests. My guests appreciated my offer, to take them from the airport and guide them to the hotel, very much. The arrival of the aircraft was scheduled for half past 10 in the morning. My intention is to take the train, tomorrow I will pick up my guests, and my train will depart from my home town of Nijverdal at 7 a.m.
The next morning I was a little shocked. I discovered that the plane would land half an hour earlier than planned. Now I hope that I will be at Schiphol on time. You then secretly hope that the guests will have to wait for their luggage. So I can be on time to pick them up. But the luggage was also on time. I could therefore not be present at the agreed time. There is no other way than calling my guests that I would be there 10 minutes later. My guests understood it happily and they were waiting for me at the agreed place instead????
After greeting each other we walked towards the hall from where the trains depart that would take us to the center of Amsterdam. The great thing about our Schiphol airport is that you can walk to the trains from the main hall. A lot of trains takes you to the center of Amsterdam within 20 minutes. Our train, that we have to take, leaves every 5 minutes.
Amsterdam Central Station
We can get in right away and indeed with 14 minutes we get out at Amsterdam Central Station. It is already quite busy on the platform today. A long line of people / tourists is waiting in front of the lift, which is present at the station, so the guests decide to take down the stairs. Arrived downstairs we followed the center signs to get out at the front of the station.
Train and Tram Tickets
Having arrived outside, we walk to the public transport office to buy a multi-day ticket. With this card you can use tram, bus, metro and the train in Amsterdam. You will find this office across the street from Central Station. Immediately when you are outside at the central station you see a white building with the letters GVB Tickets & info. Here you can buy different tickets. Look inside or ask for the right card that suits your stay.
Tip is, if you feel like it, to drink a delicious Dutch cup of coffee at cafe-restaurant Loetje. If you want to, and if the weather permits, you are now in the Netherlands (LOL) you can sit outside on the terrace and enjoy the canal. Canal boats pass by and you immediately experience the life of Amsterdam.
We buy the 3-day ticket and my guests can start using the ticket immediately because we board the tram, line 12, which will take us to the Hotel. You will also find the tram stops as well as the entrance to the Metro when you leave Central Station. The tram that we have taken stops near the hotel, we can leave the luggage there. Hotel rooms are often only available in the afternoon. Most hotels in Amsterdam offer the possibility of already handing in your luggage and then exploring the city without.
We also hand in the luggage and then go to Cafe Wildschut, which is right next to the hotel. We are going to sit outside in the sun to enjoy a cup of coffee. It also gives me the opportunity to hand over my information folder, with the itinerary, information about the accommodations, sights, restaurants and events. My gift is greatly appreciated. After we have tried out the Whatsapp app on the phone, and agreed on what time I will pick them up on Tuesday, I will leave my guests in Amsterdam.
The coming 3 days they will discover Amsterdam on their own. If they need my advice, they can always send me an Whatsapp message, email or call me. With a nice and satisfied feeling, I board the train to Nijverdal again! They are nice and friendly people and I look forward with confidence to my 2 day accompanying trip. I’m excited! Tomorrow I will pick up my guests.
My 2 day trip is about to start!
So after spending the night in Zaandam, I arrived without any problems at the College Hotel in Amsterdam, where my guests have been staying for 3 days. It is a very nice characteristic hotel. What I also like, or perhaps rather stand out, is the location of the hotel. This hotel is very close to the Museumplein.
At the Museumplein do you find: Het Rijksmuseum, van Goghmuseum, Stedelijk museum, but also the Concert building. Museumplein is also a wonderful park where you can see many people sitting comfortably together, chatting or just enjoying everything that is happening around them. From this Hotel you can also easily get on the tram that will take you to or through the center of Amsterdam in a few minutes.
But I am here to pick up my guests, and I see them standing in the lobby to check out. After a warm reunion and putting the luggage in the car, our 2 day trip can begin. We will first try to leave Amsterdam and then head towards the Afsluitdijk. When we have left Amsterdam behind us, we drive through a sunny and rural Dutch landscape with its many ditches and small bridges. On the signs I see the fishing village of Volendam appearing and I decide to treat my guests to a cup of coffee or tea and I can show them this beautiful fishing town right away.
Volendam is an old fishing village located on the IJsselmeer and has a harbor. This village is also known for its Dutch character, traditional costumes and typical authentic houses. It is therefore best to walk through the streets to see the old fishermen’s houses and discover Volendam and then end up on the dike. Here you have a beautiful view of the harbor that is full of fishing boats, a view of the IJsselmeer and the island of Marken. Also a boat departs from here that can take you to the island of Marken. Many people enjoy the view from the many terraces. Volendam is visited by many tourists. If you also want to visit Volendam you can also easily combine this with a boat trip towards Marken and the Zaanse Schans.
With my guests I am driving, after we have walked through Volendam, towards the Afsluitdijk. At “The monument” which is about half way up the Afsluitdijk, we stop for a while so that we can look over this Afsluitdijk. On one side you find the IJsselmeer and on the other side the Wadden Sea. Would you like to know more about the creation of the Afsluitdijk? At the end of the Afsluitdijk you will find a museum where you can find all the information.
Although the sun shines wonderfully, there is a lot of wind on the Afsluitdijk and it is cold. We decide, after looking over the Wadden Sea, to drive towards the Frisian town of Lemmer. At the town of Zurich I take the turn to the right to drive along “the dike” and around the IJsselmeer in the direction of Lemmer. This time of year a lot of sheep are walking on this dike and you also have a good view of the IJsselmeer and the Afsluitdijk from here. With a little luck, you will also see many sailing boats or wind- kite surfers here. IJsselmeer is a very favorite among sailors and wind or kitesurfers.
We drive the tourist route. Driving through small villages such as Makkum, Hindeloopen and Stavoren to get out of our car in Lemmer. There is usually a lot to do in Lemmer. This old fishing village is also called Poort van Friesland. Lemmer has a harbor and an attractive center. Many water sports enthusiasts moor in the middle of the village. The cozy terraces along the quays are also popular. People like to sit there, because the boats really pass by in front of them.
This waterway through Lemmer is after all a busy connection between the Frisian lakes and the IJsselmeer. Of course it is nice to stroll around the original shops that are often located in historic buildings.
We also take a seat on a terrace on the water and during our lunch large boats sail past us in front of us. My guests are visibly enjoying and amazed watching the “big” boat that sails past us!
After a delicious lunch we leave Friesland for the Flevopolder to drive in. This polder was once a part of the IJsselmeer. Now you will find a lot of agriculture here. If you come here in April of in May you will drive through beautifully colored bulb fields. They can be seen a lot at this time of year.
We are now driving towards Giethoorn. Giethoorn is also called the little Venice of the Netherlands.
Giethoorn is an idyllic village located in Weerribben-Wieden National Park, where countless thatched farms have been built on small peat islands that are connected with more than 170 wooden bridges. In Giethoorn we park the car in the parkinglot of restaurant De Grachthof. From here you walk straight into Giethoorn and you can soon enjoy the many bridges, narrow streets, the many whisper boats in the canals, shops and the many terraces. At the many bridges you sometimes have to wait a bit because most tourists like to take photos with the bridges or canals in the background. Of course we also take these photos.
At pottery shop Rhoda my guests buy a handmade flower vase. From here we go for a cool drink at restaurant Fanfare on the terrace before I bring them to their accommodation in Zwolle. It is now 5.30 p.m.
When leaving Giethoorn we take the ferry at Genemuiden. This ferry takes us across the IJssel river to the other side so that when we are over we can continue our way to Zwolle. Around a quarter to 7 we walk into the accommodation in Zwolle. After my guests have checked in and I have inspected the room, I also leave for my accommodation further down town. The first day is over and it has all gone well and full of satisfaction from my guests and mine. Tomorrow I will pick up my guests for day 2. I am looking forward to it!
Day 2: Rotterdam, Delft & Den Haag
My alarm clock rings at a quarter to 8. Day 2 is about to start. I agreed with my guests at 9 am. to pick them up. So I still have plenty of time to have a quiet breakfast, shower and drink a cup of coffee. We Dutch drink a lot of coffee and me? I love coffee and especially in the morning!
At exactly 9am I walk into the hotel in the heart of Zwolle. My guests are still having breakfast and, as soon as they see me, start telling about their experience of this hotel. They slept very badly. Beds were good but it was way too hot in the room. Unfortunately no air conditioning. Because of this, they wanted to open a window, but due to the noise from outside, they quickly closed the window again! As the weather is very nice and warm this week in the Netherlands, many people sat outside on the terrace for a long time in the evening. The students also have a holiday this week.
This hotel is right in the center so noise was experienced by my guests. I had deliberately chosen this location because you can also find many nice restaurants here. Yesterday I asked my guests to be honest with me about the accommodation. Therefore I am very happy that they are telling me this. So for me a reason to make a note of this for future guests who want to visit Zwolle.
We continue our 2 day trip by driving to Rotterdam. My female guest really wants to see modern architecture and these can certainly be found in Rotterdam. Therefore we will will first go to the Markthal. Below the Markthal is a large parking garage where we will park the car.
Today I take the highway. Of course we can also drive tourist route but because we have some nice things on our program that my guests would like to see, I decide to take the highway! Via Zwolle, Amersfoort and Utrecht we arrive at the Markthal in Rotterdam. The ride here has been very pleasant to me. This highway has many different lanes and directions where you can go. And in the morning it is also very busy because many people go to work by car. Despite the fact that you have to keep a close eye on the signs and traffic, we have arrived in the parking garage of the Markthal without having gone wrong once. Secretly I am quite proud of myself.
From the parking garage we take the elevator upwards. In the parking garage it is clearly indicated where you have to walk to go to the elevator. Once we reach the top we step out of the elevator and we are immediately in the Markthal. What strikes us immediately is the beautiful artwork of beautiful bright colors and the beautiful paintings around us. It all turns out to be glass panels.The arch shape of the hall is also striking. This arch reminds you of a horseshoe. In this Markthal you will find next to a covered market also 228 apartments, 4600m2 of retail space, 1600m2 of restaurants and then the parking garage that can accommodate more than 1000 cars.
You will find many fresh products such as cheese, vegetables, fruit and fish in the covered market hall. Cookies, tea or coffee are also made and there are all kinds of herbs for sale. We finally arrive at the Dutch cheese department. Here you can taste all kinds of cheese tastes. The staff also give good explanations and advice. Do you want to take a nice cheese back home? Which can. It is vacuum packed for you.
When we have walked around in the Markthal and tasted a lot, we walk out of the building at the front to go to the Cube Houses. But not before we first photographed the front of the Markthal.
On the square, where you come out when you walk out of the Markthal, you immediately see the cube houses. It is very cozy and busy today on the square. Many tourists who want to visit this place. You see the Ferris wheel and if you look around you see the largest publiclibrary in Rotterdam. In this library you will find the valuable collection of Erasmus. Next to the library you see a hexagonal building which is also called “the pencil”. This is a residential tower and also designed by Piet Blom who also designed the cube houses.
My female guest thinks it’s all beautiful and is becoming more enthusiastic. For this she wanted to go to Rotterdam for modern architecture. We also see a piece of art that looks like a flying saucer. She, my female guest, wonders what the work of art, which looks like a flying saucer, should represent? Unfortunately I don’t know. I had prepared for this day by looking up information. So I suggest asking someone.
When I hear a few people speak Dutch I take the gamble to ask them if they know what this artwork should represent. Fortunately they are from Rotterdam. They say that underneath this artwork is the underground train and metro station. Also called The Blaak.
The Blaak train and metro station had to become a striking building for travelers so that it would immediately stand out and be recognized. This design indeed resembles a flying saucer. The people, who I was asking, thinks it looks like a pedal bin / manhole cover. For example, this design has many names including wilted sunflower or whistling kettle. Although you must, I think, have a bit of imagination for that.
We walk towards the cube houses.
The Cube Houses immediately stand out due to its unusual shape. Very special to see and imagine that people live in it. If you want, you can view a home from the inside. However, it is so busy this day with tourists at the cube houses that there is a long line to view the house from the inside, that my guests indicate that they do not necessarily have to see the house from the inside. We decide to pick up the car and drive to Hotel New York from where we hope to have a good view of the Erasmus Bridge and have lunch.
Hotel New York
Hotel New York is located on the Wilhelmina pier and is located in the former management building of The Holland America line. We walk on real historical territory. From 1901 the iconic building on the Kop van Zuid shines, as they also call this place. What a beautiful old characteristic building we see here. Since 1873, many people left to seek their luck in America or, as many Dutchmen decided to leave for Canada after the second world war. Back then there weren’t many planes and flying wasn’t as cheap as it is now.
After the management of the Holland America line left for Seattle, this beautiful building was vacant. The municipality of Rotterdam decides to buy the building and to convert it into a hotel restaurant. Hotel New York is officially baptized on May 5, 1993, by smashing a bottle of champagne against the facade. This will prevent this beautiful historic building from disappearing. It is a beautiful hotel where you might want to spend a night.
The SS Rotterdam is also located at Hotel New York nearby. The legendary former flagship of the Holland America Line, 228 meters long, 28 meters wide, 51 meters high, rich in history and renowned for its cultural-historical value. These days this ship is used as a hotel. But in addition to being able to spend the night there, you can also view it, have dinner, or celebrate a party. Check the website for the possibilities.
We are sitting outside at the New York hotel on the terrace overlooking the water. The weather is nice and sunny, so very busy on the water. From here you have a beautiful view of the water traffic on the Maas, the many water taxis that moor in and out and of course you have a beautiful view of the city of Rotterdam. If you are lucky you can see the arrival or departure of cruise ships. Unfortunately not today!
After our moment of rest and the “lunch” we walk to the view of the Erasmus Bridge. What of course you must have seen when you are in Rotterdam. You also have a beautiful view of the historic building of Hotel New York from here. Here my guests also take the necessary photos and selfies and we decide it is time to head for Delft.
When I arrived in Delft I found a parking space at the delft blue factory. I read on the internet that you can buy a ticket here and that a tuk tuk / hop on hop off bus leaves from here that can take us to the center of Delft. So this seems like a good plan to me. Only I had not counted on the happy face of my female guest by seeing all that Delft Blue what is made in this factory.
It started outside when she saw a car with Delft Blue images. Of course she wanted to go inside before we left with the Tuk-Tuk. Once she was inside, she became totally enthusiastic about seeing all these beautiful handmade delfs blue products. I also look my eyes out and see beautiful Delft blue vases that my mother also has on the cupboard. Beautiful bowls, flower vases even a large piggy bank with the famous Nijntje in blue on it. Also I have to restrain myself from buying anything.
When I looked at my watch I saw that it was time to go to the center of Delft. My guests have been walking around for a while. I ask them if they are going to the center of Delft with me.
My female guest approaches me very happy and says that she is so happy that I brought her here and that she actually doesn’t want to leave! First she wants to buy something to take home. But what? There are so many beautiful things to see that it is indeed difficult to decide what you want to buy because everything is beautiful.
Around 3 p.m. we will depart by Tuk-Tuk to the center of Delft. My guests have bought a beautiful bowl and are very satisfied with the store’s staff and with the new purchase. There are still a few foreign tourists on the Tuk-Tuk so there is a pleasant conversation in English. We get off at the square near the Nieuwe Kerk. The name of the New Church confuses you because it is a very beautiful historic church with a lot of history. Definitely worth it, if the weather is nice and clear, to climb the tower. Once at the top you have a beautiful view over the city of Delft. This church is also inextricably linked to the royal family. Many royals are buried in this church.
We walk through the center of Delft. Delft also has beautiful canals and bridges. Followers connoisseurs a much special attraction than the canals of Amsterdam. You can also take a canal cruise through Delft. Schedule some extra time for Delft, especially if you also want to visit the Delft Blue Factory, because we were short of time!
When we walk through the center of Delft we see the sky getting very dark and the wind starts to blow. Everything indicates that there is a lot of rain or a thunderstorm coming and since we also have to take the bus back to the Delfts Bauwe factory, we step into the tuk tuk that is already there. It is also almost 6 pm and almost time to say goodbye to my guests. Then my 2 days as a guide and guidance are already over. These 2 days went very fast and we had a great time together.
Just in time we are in the car when the thunderstorm and heavy rain breaks out. We will soon leave Delft and head for The Hague. Normally a ride of about 25 minutes. But today it is, due to the rain, but also busy on the road because for most people work is done and they all drive home again.
This evening my guests will stay in the center of The Hague. The Holiday Inn Express The Hague – Parliament hotel. And I’m lucky. After I have called the hotel reception I can park the car in front of the hotel. That makes a difference because otherwise we would have had to walk 5 min and the guests and their luggage would have become very wet. It’s still raining. My guests have checked in and it is time to say goodbye to each other. It is not yet a final goodbye because I see them on Friday before they will fly home again on Sunday.
On Friday they would like to take a city walk with an experienced guide. I have arranged this guide for them and I would like to be present at this city walk. This gives me the opportunity to see if this guide has indeed been a good choice and if I could hire her more often.
After giving some last information and the train tickets I say goodbye and wish them much pleasure for the next day. Then the guests will go to Keukenhof by train on their own.
I get in the car and enter Schiphol on my cell phone, this is my next stop. It is now a quarter to 7. At Schiphol I return my brand new and nice big car, in which I have transported my guests, and then I will go home by train. On the way to Schiphol I am really enjoying myself in the car. I had 2 very nice and pleasant days. And very important it all went smoothly. So with my guests but also with the car.
I can hand in the car without any problems and buy a cup of coffe. I walk to the train very quickly. If I’m lucky ……….
At 9.15 pm I get off the train at Nijverdal station. I am home ♥