Exciting news! I’m travelling to the English countryside. Isn’t that spiffing!

Red letter box in the village of Stanton – the Peak District – Derbyshire

So Autumn / Fall is going to be just so exciting!

As you know, I’ve been hinting about where I’m going, and now I can reveal the details.

But first.

Top 100 Best Expat Blogs on the planet!

A couple of weeks ago, I was featured as one of the top 30 most inspiring expat bloggers in 2017!

And then not long after, I was featured as one of the top 100 Best Expat Blogs on the planet!

p.s. I’m number 43!

Me being a tourist in trendy Ximending
16 brilliant reasons why you should visit Taiwan!

There’s simply no stopping me!

Isn’t that quite inspiring?

I’ve never been featured by other bloggers before, so it’s a real honour in my book.

Go have a look, and check out the other expat bloggers too.

Thanks so much!

Back to the British stuff!

How to be British!

As you know, I’m The British Berliner, and the British part is the fact that my original home country, is England.

You know the one.

Ye Olde England!

That’s right!

That famous and historical city – Manchester!

My original home town is Manchester.

Not industrial steel Manchester, but the leafy suburbs of Cheadle!

In fact, not far from my parent’s home is Abney Hall Park – the inspiration for country house life, and indeed, many of the scenes – of Agatha Christie!

Makers Market in Cheadle Village

What I’m trying to say is that even though I sound as if I come from the manicured landscapes of Surrey, I’m actually from the North of England!

And what was once the suburbs of Greater Manchester in Lancashire, is also part of the suburbs of Cheshire!

Follow the path and route in Cheshire

If you would like to know a little bit about England just follow the links below:

And of course, if you want to read about Scotland and other British things, just follow the link here!

Book your hotel here!

I had plans to go to Russia…!

Let’s make a re-cap on where I’ve been to, in 2017 so far:

How to visit Amsterdam: Introducing Zaandam – a Dutch traditional town with windmills!

HOLLAND:

THE CZECH REPUBLIC:

Myself with ski leaders in Rokytnice nad Jizerou – Czech Republic

I went skiing in January, but I didn’t actually write about it. Oops!

 

Here’s what I wrote previously…

At the Vienna Opera Ball.
@ WienTourismus / Peter Rigaud/Couture Vivienne Westwood

AUSTRIA:

CROATIA:

How to visit the Balkans: Introducing Croatia – the dream of Game of Thrones!

SWEDEN:

A Swedish hotdog in Stockholm – Sweden!

SLOVENIA:

Slovenia – a basic guide to food!

UK:

24 hours in London: 24 things to do!

GERMANY:

28 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall: Berlin, I’ll never let you go!
© Enrico Verworner
Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner for Bild am Sonntag
©Christian Spreitz

Book your hotel here!

Now that’s out of the way, let’s move forward.

OMG!

EXCITING NEWS! I’M TRAVELLING TO THE ENGLISH COUNTRYSIDE. ISN’T THAT SPIFFING!

All you need is, some strawberries, a picnic hamper & a bottle of Pimms!
©British Tourist Authority

I’ll be visiting Cheshire, Staffordshire, Manchester, Blackpool, Derbyshire and Yorkshire!

CHESHIRE:

Tegg’s Nose in Cheshire
©Visit Chester & Cheshire / NWDA

I grew up in Cheadle, a suburban village in what was then known as Greater Manchester, and when my brother and I went to university, my family moved to Cheshire.

Cheshire is an Anglo-Saxon settlement first thought to have been created by King Edward (Edward the Elder) in AD920. The county is in the country (the country-side) and is mostly rural, with small towns and villages supporting the local agriculture and industry, and so we have horses not too far away!

I’ve written about it before, but it’s such a lovely place that I’m going to show you around a bit more!

Book your hotel here!

STAFFORDSHIRE:

Walking on The Roaches – Staffordshire

Staffordshire is a county in the West Midlands of England.

It adjoins Cheshire to the north-west, Derbyshire and Leicestershire to the east, Warwickshire to the south-east, West Midlands and Worcestershire to the south, and Shropshire to the west!

The historic boundaries of Staffordshire cover much of what is now the metropolitan county of the West Midlands, parts of Derbyshire, and in the area now known as the Black Country.

Black Country Industrial Scene
©Edwin Butler Bayliss (1874–1950) – Wolverhampton Arts and Heritage

The Black Country is a region of the West Midlands in England, and commonly refers to all or part of the four Metropolitan Boroughs of Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton. It’s so-called, because during the Industrial Revolution, this part of the country became one of the most industrialised parts of Britain with coal mines, coking, iron foundries, glass factories, brickworks and steel mills producing a high level of air pollution, thus turning the air black!

Staffordshire has many small towns, and we’ll be going to the  Northern part of it.

Book your hotel here!

MANCHESTER:

Imperial War Museum North – Manchester

Manchester really needs no introduction, but if you insist…

Manchester began as a Roman fort called Mamucium or Mancunium, in about AD 79 and was historically a part of Lancashire, and until the 20th century, became a part of Cheshire.

The lovely Just So Festival is an annual weekend camping festival that’s actually in Cheshire, but billed as Manchester!

Manchester is fringed by the Cheshire Plain to the South, the Pennines to the North and East, and an arc of little towns surrounding it!

In fact, where I grew up, is technically no longer known as Manchester, but Cheshire!

Throughout the Middle Ages, Manchester remained a manorial township, but began to expand around the turn of the 19th century, brought on by a boom in textile manufacturing during the Industrial Revolution, bringing extreme wealth to Manchester, and making it the first industrialised city in the world!

Now even though I’m a Mancunian, I haven’t lived in Manchester since I went to university!

I haven’t been back to Manchester for quite some time!

And that’s quite some time ago!

So we’re going to do some day-trips.

I’m planning to visit some cultural galleries and museums, check out the night life, drink cocktails on Canal Street – Manchester’s Gay Village – and chill out by the canals.

Yippee!

Book your hotel here!

BLACKPOOL:

Blackpool – A seaside resort on the coast of North West England!

Blackpool is a seaside resort on the Lancashire coast of North West England.

Blackpool faces the Irish Sea between the Ribble and Wyre estuaries, and is 15 miles (24 km) northwest of Preston, 27 miles (43 km) north of Liverpool, 28 miles (45 km) northwest of Bolton, 40 miles (64 km) northwest of Manchester, and has a population of about 142,065 people!

Throughout the Middle Ages and Early Modern period, Blackpool was a coastal hamlet in Lancashire’s Hundred of Amounderness, and remained so until the mid-18th century when it became fashionable to travel to the coast in the summer, for a bit of seaside air and the attraction of a sandy beach!

Beauty Queens in 1950’s Blackpool

Blackpool rose to prominence when a railway was built in the 1840’s connecting it to the industrialised regions of Northern England. By 1881, Blackpool was a booming resort complete with piers, fortune-tellers, public houses, trams, donkey rides, theatres, fish-and-chip shops, and was otherwise known as “the archetypal British seaside resort.”

Shifts in tastes, combined with opportunities for your ordinary Brit to travel abroad, affected Blackpool’s status as a leading resort in the late 20th century, and it fell to tacky, shabby decay.

In fact, I haven’t been there myself since I was twelve (12) years old, and found £5.00 in the sand!

We spent all our money on Blackpool Rock!
@Kate Hopkins

I was enormously pleased I can tell you, so my brothers and I spent it all on Blackpool Rock!

However, lots of money has been ploughed into it, and quite frankly, Northerners haven’t been deterred by it’s less than reputable past. In fact, at one time, it was billed as England’s answer to Las Vegas!

In 1954, Blackpool enjoyed a tourist boom and attracted up to 17 million visitors a year!

Blackpool’s major attractions and landmarks these days include Blackpool Tower, Blackpool Illuminations, the Pleasure Beach, Blackpool Zoo, Sandcastle Water Park, the Winter Gardens, its sandy beaches, and the UK’s only surviving first-generation tramway!

We’ll be out there to see what all the fuss is about!

Book your hotel here!

DERBYSHIRE:

Winnats Pass, Hope Valley – Derbyshire

Derbyshire, otherwise known as Derbys or Derbs, is a county in the East Midlands of England.

The county contains part of the National Forest, and borders on Greater Manchester to the northwest, West Yorkshire to the north, South Yorkshire to the northeast, Nottinghamshire to the east, Leicestershire to the southeast, Staffordshire to the west and southwest and Cheshire to the west!

Fischer’s Baslow Hall – Derbyshire
©Baslow & Bubnell Parish Council

Kinder Scout, at 636 metres (2,087 ft), is the highest point in the county, whilst Trent Meadows, where the River Trent leaves Derbyshire, is its lowest point at 27 metres (89 ft). The River Derwent is the county’s longest river at 66 miles (106 km), and runs roughly north to south through the county, and Church Flatts Farm at Coton in the Elms (near Swadlincote), is the furthest point from the sea, in the whole of Great Britain!

A huge portion of the Peak District National Park lies within Derbyshire and the Pennines, and we’re going to be staying in a cottage, in the village of Baslow!

Exciting stuff!

Book your hotel here!

YORKSHIRE:

Yorkshire is the largest county in the UK!

Yorkshire, otherwise known as Yorks or the County of York, is a county in Northern England, and the largest in the UK!

Within the borders of the historic county of Yorkshire are areas which are widely considered to be among the greenest in England, due to the vast stretches of unspoilt countryside in the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors.

The emblem of Yorkshire is the White Rose, of the royal English House of York.

The War of the Roses – The White Queen!

If you are versed in English history, you’d know well the Wars of the Roses between the two rival branches of the royal House of Plantagenet: the House of Lancaster – a red rose – and the House of York – a white rose. If you enjoy watching British cultural dramas, you might recognise the name in the wonderful BBC TV series – The White Queen!

I have happy childhood memories of camping in the Yorkshire Dales, but this time we’re going to be visiting the lovely historical city of York!

Book your hotel here!

WHY THE ENGLISH COUNTRYSIDE?

Chelmorton in the Peak District National Park
©Simon Harrod

Even though it might not always look like it, we are actually outdoorsy type of people!

Ha! Ha! I’m not going to be climbing live volcanoes anytime soon, but we do enjoy horse-riding, sailing, hill-climbing, trekking, and rambling through the countryside.

One of the reasons that I chose Staffordshire, Derbyshire and Yorkshire is not only because of nostalgic visions of my childhood, but also, because parts of it belong to the National Forest, the Yorkshire Dales National Park, the North York Moors National Park, as well as the Peak District National Park!

Even though it might not always look like it, we are actually outdoorsy type of people!

Yep!

We’re going to be getting ourselves dirty, wrapping ourselves warm, and breathing in fresh clean wholesome air!

Book your hotel here!

ANYTHING ELSE?

It’s embarrassing! I have never been to York!

Ha! Ha! Ha!

You won’t believe it, but I have never been to York!

I know!

It’s as bad as when I didn’t go to Switzerland, even though Switzerland is literally next door!

Which way to the City of York?

To rectify that, I’m going to be working in partnership with Visit York in order to experience all that is best for an Original City Adventure in York, and the surrounding area!

We’re going to be using the York Pass, going on a hop-on-hop off bus, visiting historical attractions like The Richard III & Henry VII Experience, York Minster, York Castle Museum, and possibly, squeezing in the North Yorkshire Moors Railway!

Dick Turpin, the infamous 18th century highwayman!
©The York Dungeon

Since we’ll have a teenager in tow – we’re also going to be spending some time at the York Dungeon, the JORVIK Viking Centre, York’s Chocolate Story, and an interactive horror history experience organised by the York Theatre Royal! 

We’re going to have a wonderful time!

Book your hotel here!

EXCITING NEWS! I’M TRAVELLING TO THE ENGLISH COUNTRYSIDE. ISN’T THAT SPIFFING!

Exciting news! I’m travelling to the English countryside. Isn’t that spiffing!

This article isn’t sponsored, and even though I’m working in partnership with Visit York, absolutely all opinions, and the delicious Yorkshire puddings that I’m certain to have, are my very own!

I have so much to share with you.

In the Autumn, I’ll be visiting the UK and travelling around the areas of Cheshire, Staffordshire, Manchester, Blackpool, Derbyshire and Yorkshire!

Yippee!

October & November is going to be smashing.

Exciting news! I’m travelling to the English countryside. Isn’t that spiffing!

Watch this space!

Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.

I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond, WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!

Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links, I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

Exciting news! I’m travelling to the English countryside. Isn’t that spiffing!

Have you ever been to the English countryside? Have you ever been to Northern England? Let me know in the comments below!

 See you in Berlin.

If you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

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Lake Bled – 10 reasons to visit!

Lake Bled – 10 reasons to visit!

I think it’s becoming awfully clear, that we really had just the greatest time in Slovenia, and I’m not even finished yet!

Isn’t it strange?

Top 30 expat bloggers 2017!

But before we go any further, I’ve just been featured as one of the top 30 most inspiring expat bloggers in 2017!

Isn’t that cool?

I’ve never been featured by other bloggers before, so it’s a real honour in my book.

Go have a look, and check out the other expat bloggers too.

Thanks so much!

Back to Slovenia!

A shepherd girl on the Velika Planina plateau in Kamnik – Slovenia
©Chiara Marchi

If you had asked me about Slovenia a few years ago, I couldn’t even have shown you where it was in the map, and now I can’t stop writing about it!

Really, I’m becoming quite the (baby) expert!

From the moment we got off the bus and fell exhausted into our hotel in Ljubljana, to the time that we fell bone-tired, into the arms of a loving husband and father one week later.

Slovenia has been nothing but an utter delight!

And the Slovenian locals have been fantastically welcoming, friendly, and enormously helpful.

Lake Bled – 10 reasons to visit!

If you’re just joining, and why is that?! This is what I have written so far:

WHY SLOVENIA?

Me in the Philippines, but could this be a James Bond moment!
©Scott Herder – BoboandChiChi.com

Because I’m weird and I like going to interesting exotic places!

Seriously though, the reason why I wanted to go to Slovenia is because I’d heard such a lot of wonderful things from practically everyone! And remember, just two years ago, I hadn’t heard of any of the Baltic or Balkan States. In fact, I couldn’t even pronounce them!

At Ljubljana Castle – A 5 minute introduction to Slovenia!

But the other reason that I wanted to visit was because of Ljubljana. I was hearing mixed messages and that some “experts” were saying that Ljubljana wasn’t worth more than a few hours!

When I hear things like this, it makes my blood boil!

The ignorance of people constantly astounds, and annoys me.

However, I am a strong supporter of Europe, and I have a weakness for tiny countries in the middle of beyond! Besides, I had such a wonderful time in Croatia, why wouldn’t I want to go to it’s “sister country” – Slovenia – too!

Book your hotel here!

Get a train ticket and travel through Europe!

One of the amazing things about travelling to a country that is extremely small, is that you can do day-trips to other regions of the country, fairly easily!

Even with 7 days, we didn’t have time to do everything, but if you’re determined, YOU certainly can!

This week, I’m going to tell you about the lovely time we had at Lake Bled!

LAKE BLED

Lake Bled – 10 reasons to visit!

Lake Bled, otherwise known as Blejsko jezero, Bleder See, or Veldeser See, is a lake in the Julian Alps of North-Western Slovenia!

The lake is of mixed glacial and tectonic origin and is 2,120 m (6,960 ft) long, 1,380 m (4,530 ft) wide, with a maximum depth of 29.5 m (97 ft), a small island in the middle of it, and a medieval castle hanging over a cliff!

The fact is, you can’t go to Slovenia without at least spending a few hours at Lake Bled.

We decided to dedicate a complete day to it! After all, it isn’t every day that you get to go to the Julian Alp mountains, and visit the fabulous beauty of a lake that has been attracting and dazzling people for more than one thousand (1,000) years!

A millennia!

Wow!

Book your hotel here!

HOW TO GET TO LAKE BLED

We took a public bus from Ljubljana to Lake Bled – Slovenia, & a semi-private van on the way back!
Lake Bled – 10 reasons to visit!

As you know, I’m a huge fan of taking trains, but just like Croatia, the train station for Lake Bled is a little iffy to get to. In this case, the train from Ljubljana only reaches to the Lesce train station, which is about 4.5 km from Lake Bled, and you still have to take the bus!

We decided to take the bus.

Don’t get confused. The bus station in Ljubljana doesn’t really look like a bus station, and is sort of in the middle of the road! However, there are loads of buses with signs towards Lake Bled, and you can pay for your ticket on the bus. A one way ticket is about €6.00 per person.

Cash only of course!

It took about 90 minutes and the buses are usually crammed to the brim, so take something to read, or simply look out of the window!

Right there in front of us, was Lake Bled – Slovenia!
Lake Bled – 10 reasons to visit!

Once we got to the bus station, we sort of walked around the tourist office, found a little road going down a slight hill, and right there in front of us, was Lake Bled!

The first thing we opted for at Lake Bled – Slovenia, was ice-cream, and then we had another one!
Lake Bled – 10 reasons to visit!

It was June, and boy it was hot, so the first thing we opted for was an ice-cream, and then we had another one on the way back!

On the return journey, we were approached by a little agency that offered to take us back to Ljubljana more frequently than the public bus, faster, and in a semi-private vehicle with far fewer people, at a cost of €8.00 per person, rather than €6.00!

I admit, I was a little suspicious at first as I thought it was some sort of scam, but when I insisted on a receipt, was given it with no hassle at all, and saw the very nice van, I was sold!

And true to their word, we were back in Ljubljana in less than 45 minutes!

Let’s get to it!

Book your hotel here!

LAKE BLED – 10 REASONS TO VISIT!

Lake Bled – A 5 minute introduction to Slovenia!

Absolutely ignore all those people who say that Lake Bled isn’t a thing, too many tourists, not worth the talk, is over rated, etc. It’s absolutely not true. It’s worth it and what’s more, if you’re in Slovenia, and you don’t visit, you’re a fool!

There.

I said it!

And here’s why!

I absolutely adore anything to do with water!
Lake Bled – 10 reasons to visit!
  1. Lake Bled itself: I absolutely adore anything to do with water. I live in water cities, I spend time visiting places just because they have a river, and I’m weirdly drawn to river-states having lived in them all my life, in one place or the other, to lakes, rivers, mountains, valleys and seas! I spend a lot of time going to the Baltic Sea in Poland, and would you believe it, even Germany has a seaside, and it’s really rather nice!

So was it any wonder that Lake Bled was on the agenda, and besides, walking around the lake was just so tranquil. A slow pace takes about three (3) to four (hours), whilst a brisk walk would probably take about an hour and a half.

Less, if you ran!

Bled Castle is one of the most iconic places in Slovenia!
Lake Bled – 10 reasons to visit!

2.  Bled Castle: The castle, other wise known as Blejski grad or Burg Veldes, is a 12th century medieval building that was built on a very steep cliff overlooking Lake Bled, and is the oldest castle in Slovenia!

Bled Castle is one of the most iconic places in Slovenia and is home to a museum collection, the Knights Hall, the Gothic Castle Chapel, a castle printing workshop, a wine cellar, a castle smithy, a herbal gallery, and the Castle restaurant! And if you’re lucky, you get to experience an archery tournament, and just like Ljubljana Castle, costumed characters wandering around the castle courtyard too!

Within Lake Bled – Slovenia, is a sort of mini-island in the middle of it – Bled Island!
Lake Bled – 10 reasons to visit!
The only way to get to Bled Island – Slovenia, is by boat, or swimming!
Lake Bled – 10 reasons to visit!

3.  Bled Island: Within Lake Bled is a sort of mini-island in the middle of it!

On the island is a Baroque stairway all the way back from 1655, and with 99 stone steps leading up to the pilgrimage Church of the Assumption! There is also a lovely bell-tower with a wishing bell that can be rung, the chaplain’s house, provost’s house, small hermitage and some rather mysterious legends…!

The only way to get there is by boat, or swimming!

Sail away on traditional wooden pletna boats on Lake Bled, Slovenia!
©Marco Coppo – Slovenian Tourist Board

4.  Sail Away: All around Lake Bled and Bled Island are traditional wooden boats called pletna boats which can either be rented privately, or which you can travel in with other people. The origins of the Pletna boat goes back to 1590, and you can recognize it from its’ colourful awning and oars that remind me of Thailand!

You can also rent rowing boats, canoes, and other sport equipment!

Taking photographs of Lake Bled – Slovenia. There’s no need to be shy!
Lake Bled – 10 reasons to visit!

5.  Take photographs: There’s no need to feel shy taking photographs. Everybody was taking photographs because the scenery was so beautiful. One of the reasons why we took so long walking, was because I kept taking pictures!

Lake Bled cream cake in Slovenia!
© 2017 Rear View Mirror

6.  Eat Slovenian food: We had a lot of Slovenian food, but the most iconic thing to have whilst at Lake Bled is actually the Bled Cream Cake! Oh yeah! More about this next week!

Go hiking at the Vintgar Gorge – Slovenia!
©Jacob Riglin – Slovenian Tourist Board

7.  Go hiking: If you’re feeling a little more energetic and want to do even more, you can either go to the nearby Vintgar Gorge where you can find the largest waterfall in Slovenia, or go hiking at the Triglav National Park which isn’t that far away either, and is the only National Park in Slovenia!

Everywhere you go in Slovenia are huge beautiful ducks and swans!
Lake Bled – 10 reasons to visit!

8.  Admire the swans: Everywhere you go in Slovenia are huge beautiful ducks and swans.

Why there are so many, I haven’t a clue, does anyone know?

One of the most common swans found around Lake Bled are the mute swans! Swans are large, heavy, aristocratic-looking birds which breed successfully in Slovenia. By all means admire them, but don’t get too close, and definitely don’t feed them. Sadly, humans don’t know when to stop and end up feeding them meat, cake, and all sort of poisonous crap.

Best to take lovely photographs, coo at their beauty, then leave them alone!

Lake Bled – 10 reasons to visit!

9.  Hang out with the locals: There’s always something happening on Lake Bled, and while we were there, there was an international rowing regatta competition on the other side of the lake!

So when we got there, we bought ourselves a drink, sat down, and started clapping and cheering with everybody else!

It was great fun!

Share your declaration of love on Lake Bled – Slovenia!
Lake Bled – 10 reasons to visit!
Show the love!
Lake Bled – 10 reasons to visit!

10.  Be romantic: If you’re travelling with your loved ones then where better to share your declaration of love than to go on a romantic night-time carriage ride around Lake Bled, leave a heart lock, or by putting your head inside a huge heart-shaped symbol of love, which you can find while walking along the lake shore!

 

So what are you waiting for?

That’s it for now.

See you next week.

Book your hotel here!

LAKE BLED – 10 REASONS TO VISIT!

Lake Bled – 10 reasons to visit!

This article isn’t sponsored, and absolutely all opinions, and the magnificent walk around Lake Bled that we had, are my very own!

I’ll be telling you about my next adventures in a couple of weeks!

What about you?

Lake Bled – 10 reasons to visit!

Watch this space!

Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.

I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond, WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!

Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links, I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

Lake Bled – 10 reasons to visit!

Have you ever heard of Lake Bled? Do you like swans? Let me know in the comments below!

See you in Berlin.

If you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

If you like this post, please Share it! Tweet it! Or like it!

How to visit Amsterdam: Introducing Zaandam – a Dutch traditional town with windmills!

How to visit Amsterdam: Introducing Zaandam - a Dutch traditional town with windmills!
How to visit Amsterdam: Introducing Zaandam – a Dutch traditional town with windmills!

As you know, a few weeks ago, I went to Holland.

And of course, I didn’t just go to Holland, but I decided to visit Amsterdam!

Visiting Amsterdam is awesome!

How to visit Amsterdam in two days. With a teenager - "The Tall Young Gentleman"
How to visit Amsterdam in two days. With a teenager – “The Tall Young Gentleman”

And I admit. I was a little nervous taking a teenager to that city famous for it’s redlight districts and all that it entails…!

But it all worked out well in the end, and we had a great time together.

Phew!

Take a photo of me. No meeeee!
Take a photo of me.
No meeeee!

Now, to be frank, I hate being out of the loop, and I generally prefer to be in the centre of things, and that usually includes staying in the Old Town, or the trendier part of town!

So it was a surprise to myself, that this time around, I booked a place that was more family-friendly, and one of the things that made it easier to even think about bringing a child. To Amsterdam!

Book your hotel here!

Zaanse houses in Zaandam!
Zaanse houses in Zaandam!

A place called Zaandam.

Zaandam?!

Is that a spin-off of Amsterdam or something?

No!

Are you sure?

Yes!

Sure-Sure?

Sigh!

WHY GO TO ZAANDAM?

How to visit Amsterdam: Introducing Zaandam - a Dutch traditional town with windmills! Don't these houses look cute?
How to visit Amsterdam: Introducing Zaandam – a Dutch traditional town with windmills!
Don’t these houses look cute?

Zaandam is pretty cute!

It’s a city in the northern part of Holland.

It’s located on the Zaan, close to the North Sea Canal.

And it’s a hop and a skip from Amsterdam!

How to visit Amsterdam: Introducing Zaandam - a Dutch traditional town with windmills!
How to visit Amsterdam: Introducing Zaandam – a Dutch traditional town with windmills!

Zaandam has a population of around 72,597 and is extremely famous for a place called Zaanse Schans.

Zaan what?

Zaanse Schans?

What’s that, when it’s at home?

The Zaanse Schans is a unique part of the Netherlands! @Bart Homburg
The Zaanse Schans is a unique part of the Netherlands!
@Bart Homburg

Well, the Zaanse Schans is a unique part of the Netherlands, filled with wooden houses, mills, barns and workshops. It’s also an inspiration of Monet who painted 25 works of art, one of the most popular Dutch attractions of the Netherlands, and an anchor point of the European Route of Industrial Heritage (ERIH)!

It was the anchor of the Dutch Golden Age and a region known for its food industry and combined innovational skills. From windmills to steam engines, to entire factories and to the preserved industrial heritage of contemporary Holland. The Zaanse Schans was always an important working class industrial town producing linseed oil, paint, snuff, mustard, and paper. And also a living museum platform that shows visitors what it was like living in 18th and 19th century Holland.

Clogs made in Holland.
Clogs made in Holland.

At the Zaanse Schans you can stroll past the Bakery Museum and enjoy the smell of fresh bread, or take a look at the warehouse where clogs are made. You can pop into the cheese factory, the pewter foundry, or go into the various traditional windmills.

You can also do what the Dutch do, and go on the cycle trail of Monet, eat waffles and pancakes, browse through the crafts and handiwork, eat cheese, or simply go sailing.

The Zaanse Schans has a marvellous collection of well-preserved houses, and historic windmills!
The Zaanse Schans has a marvellous collection of well-preserved houses, and historic windmills!

The Zaanse Schans also has a marvellous collection of well-preserved houses, characteristic private residences, museums, and historic windmills!

The type of windmill of yore!

TAKE ME THERE?

Take me to Holland!
Take me to Holland!

As you know, I’m a great believer in train travel, so as is the norm, I booked seats on the ever-popular Deutsche Bahn train going to Amsterdam.

Our journey from Berlin took just 8.5 hours with a stop-over and 6.5 hours, without! But of course, you can just as easily fly into Amsterdam Airport Schiphol which from most European countries, takes less than 2 hours, and is a destination flown by many major airlines around the world.

How to visit Amsterdam in two days. With a teenager!
How to visit Amsterdam in two days. With a teenager!

If you’re on a tight budget then many bus-coach companies such as Eurolines, or MeinFernbus FlixBus also land in Amsterdam. But do be aware that the Amsterdam Bus station is in Amsterdam Sloterdijk, and although 5 minutes away by train, is still going to cost you €3.20 (+chip card) to get to Amsterdam-Centraal, as it’s in the suburban area! Also, if you arrive at 03:00 then you have a bit of a wait, as the last train leaves at 01:22, and the first one leaves at 05:41!

And the shops at the train station are closed!

There are buses aplenty in Holland!
There are buses aplenty in Holland!

There is a bus that will take you into the city, but unless you have “business” in the wee hours of the morning, you won’t be able to check in anywhere. Hence, as soon as I got into Amsterdam at about 06:00, I found a nice hotel and had a cup of tea until it became light and decent enough for me to check into my hotel at the time!

Anyway, whichever way you arrive, you need to make your way to Amsterdam-Centraal.

Any which way, make your way to Amsterdam-Centraal train station!
Any which way, make your way to Amsterdam-Centraal train station!

Zaandam: The train runs twice an hour, is 2 stops away from Amsterdam, and takes just 13 -14 minutes, and costs €2.70 for a single ticket.

Zaandijk Zaanse Schans: The train runs twice an hour, is 4 stops away from Amsterdam, and takes just 18 -20 minutes, and costs €3.10 for a single ticket.

For more information about public transport in Amsterdam, or anywhere in Holland, check out the Dutch Railway website!

IS IT GOING TO BE CROWDED?

How to visit Amsterdam: Introducing Zaandam - a Dutch traditional town with windmills! @I amsterdam - Cris Toala Olivares
How to visit Amsterdam: Introducing Zaandam – a Dutch traditional town with windmills!
@I amsterdam – Cris Toala Olivares

Not in the winter it isn’t!

But in the summer, plan well.

Outside of Amsterdam proper, it’s really popular attracting 1.4 million visitors per year.

But then again, not really!

I mean, if you’re in Amsterdam for the weekend, you’re hardly likely to go off somewhere else, when a weekend is hardly sufficient in the first place!

Most people who go to Zaandam have either been to Amsterdam before, so it’s not an issue, have children with them, or have a few more days to spare!

Book your hotel here!

WHAT IS ZAANDAM LIKE?

How to visit Amsterdam: Introducing Zaandam - a Dutch traditional town with windmills! "The Tall Young Gentleman looking cold & wet!
How to visit Amsterdam: Introducing Zaandam – a Dutch traditional town with windmills!
“The Tall Young Gentleman looking cold & wet!

I was only there for literally a night and a day, but Zaandam definitely made an impression on me.

Zaandam is a place of historical interest, where people go about their normal everyday business even though there were Dutch houses everywhere. If you were to go to Pennsylvania in the US, it would be a bit like that. But normal!

Using items from an Open-Air Museum, makes the Zaanse Schans more up to the point, and realistic!
Using items from an Open-Air Museum, makes the Zaanse Schans more up to the point, and realistic!

The Zaanse Schans is charming and fun and the type of place very eager to welcome tourists and entertain you. With seven (7) houses turned into seven (7) museums: The Weavers House, the Cooperage, the Jisper House, Zaan Time Museum, Albert Heijn Museumshop, Bakery Museum. And loads of windmills. You just can’t go wrong!

I DON’T SPEAK DUTCH.

Don't worry if you don't speak Dutch. You'll do just fine in English!
Don’t worry if you don’t speak Dutch. You’ll do just fine in English!

Not. A. Problem.

Everyone pretty much speaks English in Holland!

AM I GOING TO LIVE IN A HUT?

How to visit Amsterdam: Introducing Zaandam - a Dutch traditional town with windmills!
How to visit Amsterdam: Introducing Zaandam – a Dutch traditional town with windmills!

Ha! Ha! Not unless you want to!

I’M ON A BUDGET. WHAT SHOULD I DO?

Holland isn't your cheap destination, so if your budget is really low, you're going to have to plan tightly, and look for things which are free!
Holland isn’t your cheap destination, so if your budget is really low, you’re going to have to plan tightly, and look for things which are free!

I’ll be honest with you. Amsterdam isn’t cheap.

I can’t give you any details but for the more budget conscious traveller, there are plenty of hostels and other moderately priced accommodation to be had. Book ahead to get good prices.

Book your hotel here!

I’M LOOKING FOR SOMETHING A BIT DIFFERENT. ANY IDEAS?

How to visit Amsterdam: Introducing Zaandam - a Dutch traditional town with windmills!
How to visit Amsterdam: Introducing Zaandam – a Dutch traditional town with windmills!

Absolutely!

I had my child in tow, so I was looking for something a little bit more charming than your average hotel.

And I found it!

I was surfing on the internet (as you do), when I saw a picture of a weird-looking house.

I wanted to know more, so I booked it!

We stayed at a rather unique 4 star hotel called the Inntel Hotels Amsterdam Zaandam!

The rather unique 4 star Inntel Hotel Amsterdam Zaandam!
The rather unique 4 star Inntel Hotels Amsterdam Zaandam!

The hotel has an impressive facade which has a sort of stacking feature so that it looks like a house made out of Lego!

The Inntel Hotels Amsterdam Zaandam is a building with a lot of character, and surprisingly, it was not the only one. There were more such houses in the Zaan region!

How many times have you thought, ooooh this house looks lovely? Oh, and this one. And this one! I bet never!

How to visit Amsterdam: Introducing Zaandam. Because windmills! @Mike Bink
How to visit Amsterdam: Introducing Zaandam.
Because windmills!
@Mike Bink

It was such a pleasure on a cold, windy, freezing, rainy morning to wander around from one interesting building to another. And because windmills!

The Inntel Hotels Amsterdam Zaandam is one of a kind and offers the best of tradition with modern-day comfort. The hotel’s green façade of traditional Zaan houses is a real eye-catcher, and the interiors of the hotel rooms reflect the rich history, traditional products, the pioneers of local craft industries, and the families who made the area world famous!

Yep! You probably won’t find this anywhere else!

The Taste Deluxe room at the Inntel Hotels Amsterdam Zaandam!
The Taste Deluxe room at the Inntel Hotels Amsterdam Zaandam!

We booked the Taste Deluxe Room with impressive colourful photographs on the wall. It also had a flat screen TV, a huge wardrobe large enough for a teenager to get into for fun…

But don’t do that, as we found it enormously difficult to open, in order to get him out again…!

There was a table, some fancy designer furniture, and lots of plug outlets.

A tin box of proper tea bags at the Inntel Hotels Amsterdam Zaandam!
A tin box of proper tea bags at the Inntel Hotels Amsterdam Zaandam!

There was a small fridge, a tin box of proper tea bags (oh yes!), milk, sugar and coffee.

The bathroom was huge with a bath tub and shower part that had a glass panel that didn’t really do the job, as you either had to keep your back to the wall, otherwise, there would be water everywhere.

And there was water. Everywhere!

The bathroom was huge at the Inntel Hotels Amsterdam Zaandam, but there was water everywhere!
The bathroom was huge at the Inntel Hotels Amsterdam Zaandam, but there was water everywhere!

We, of course, had an en-suite bathroom with bath gels and shampoo which I liked enormously, and at the end of a long day was awfully welcoming, plenty of fluffy towels, and free WiFi!

The Inntel Hotels Amsterdam Zaandam also had a sauna, spa centre, and swimming pool which was packed with adults, and judging by the screams of laughter, having a merry old time!

It looked pretty nice though, as we had a sneak peek!

The lobby at the Inntel Hotels Amsterdam Zaandam, was pretty nice!
The lobby at the Inntel Hotels Amsterdam Zaandam, was pretty nice!

The lobby was really nice with comfy leather sofas, crisp daily newspapers and glossy magazines. There was also a sort of waterfall outside, and a river. And the view was pretty amazing!

Breakfast wasn’t included, so we decided to have dinner at the hotel instead.

It was delightful.

We had the hotels’ 3 course à la carte dinner for just €29.50 each (not including drinks). I’ll tell you all about that next week!

Staying at the rather unique 4 star Inntel Hotels Amsterdam Zaandam, was fun!
Staying at the rather unique 4 star Inntel Hotels Amsterdam Zaandam, was fun!

The Inntel Hotels Amsterdam Zaandam can be booked from €126.00 per night, which for two (2) people would be €63.00 a pop, and an absolute Amsterdam bargain!

Book your hotel here!

Delightful!

WHAT ABOUT TRANSPORT POSSIBILITIES?

Walking, cycling, or horse-riding, is much appreciated in Zaandam! @Bart Homburg
Walking, cycling, or horse-riding, is much appreciated in Zaandam!
@Bart Homburg

Zaandam is pretty small so everywhere is walkable.

You could also cycle, take the bus, the train, or go horse-riding!

If you’re in Amsterdam proper, don’t forget to buy a public transport OV-chip card. Tickets can be got from ticket machines at the Centraal Station, or besides some of the tram stops. They can even be bought in the tram, the bus, and from newspaper shops! Once you enter the tram or bus, you scan your card. And on leaving, you scan the card again. It’s a little like an Oyster card in London.

However, just like in Berlin, there are no barriers, and we all want to keep it that way, so please buy your ticket!

ANYTHING ELSE?

A coffee shop doesn't sell coffee!
A coffee shop doesn’t sell coffee!

A coffee shop doesn’t sell coffee!

Don’t be caught out. If you’re looking for a cup of tea, you need to go to a cafe!

MY VERDICT:

How to visit Amsterdam: Introducing Zaandam - a Dutch traditional town with windmills! @Mike Bink
How to visit Amsterdam: Introducing Zaandam – a Dutch traditional town with windmills!
@Mike Bink

I really liked Zaandam.

It’s different.

It’s got art and culture and has a vibrant history.

For many international visitors, Zaandam isn’t a destination that immediately comes to mind, but if you’re in Amsterdam and looking for somewhere different, or going to Northern Holland! Do yourself a favour and drop in for a day or two.

WOULD I COME AGAIN?

How to visit Amsterdam: Weighing my options introducing Zaandam - a Dutch traditional town with windmills!
How to visit Amsterdam: Weighing my options introducing Zaandam – a Dutch traditional town with windmills!

Absolutely!

Zaandam is intriguing and I can’t wait to visit again.

Let’s do it!

HOW TO VISIT AMSTERDAM: INTRODUCING ZAANDAM – A DUTCH TRADITIONAL TOWN WITH WINDMILLS!

How to visit Amsterdam: Introducing Zaandam - a Dutch traditional town with windmills!
How to visit Amsterdam: Introducing Zaandam – a Dutch traditional town with windmills!

This article is not sponsored and all opinions and the wonderful windmills and funny-looking Dutch houses that we happily saw, are my very own!

It’s almost February!

If you’re a blogger or just like travelling, and you’re in town, then come and meet us at the Berlin Travel Massive February MeetUp on February 9th.

The 67th Berlin International Film Festival, otherwise known as the Berlinale, will take place from 09.02.17 – 19.02.17

Strictly Stand Up – The English Comedy Night will take place at the Quatsch comedy Club on 15.02.17. Save the Date!

If you’re not in Berlin in February, you’re going to miss out!

February is going to be unmistakable!

How to visit Amsterdam: Introducing Zaandam – a Dutch traditional town with windmills!
©I Amsterdam

Watch this space!

Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.

I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond, WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!

Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

How to visit Amsterdam: Introducing Zaandam - a Dutch traditional town with windmills!
How to visit Amsterdam: Introducing Zaandam – a Dutch traditional town with windmills!

What do you think about going to Zaandam? Have you ever seen a windmill? Have your say!

See you in Berlin.

If you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

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