Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Netherlands - Part 2

The Second day’s plan was a package tour across Holland. Now what is the difference between Holland and TheNetherlands? [I asked this to the tour guide], since lot of websites say they are as related as England and Britain. The tour guide told, Holland is now being used as a colloquial name not only for the two provinces but to the whole of the Kingdom.

The tour started by abt 10.00 am from Central Amsterdam. Thankfully, the group was just English speaking and Spanish speaking, so we happened to hear the commentaries only twice.
As we moved out of the city limits, the flat, green, country side was more than welcoming. The odd windmill on the way, the bicycle track running alongside, all were typical of Holland.

Our plan was to drop in at Aalsmeer Flower Auction to visit the world’s largest flower auction. But since it was a Sunday we just had to pass through the looooong glass houses of the auction centre. This place is just bordering the Schipol airport and hence it is possible to ensure that, the flower auctioned today reaches the end customer anywhere in the world within 24 hours!! The Tulip gardens could be visited only from March to June, so we had visited off season, no ‘oh! Sukkumari oh Sukkumari’. :(

A visit to the Wooden Shoe factory was next. Since I had not heard about that, I thought it would be something like the Paadarakshai worn by the swamijis of our land. On visiting, I found these were not just footwear, but Shoes.

I wanted to try one, but dint want to risk my feet, recovering from metatarsal multiple fracture, into the rigid shoe. The chap there produced a shoe in less than 3 minutes. It is just the key cutting technology, A golden source is replicated to mass carve the wood into shoes. These are still widely used in rural Holland, to protect the feet against ever-damp soil. But most of the produce nowadays go in for souvenir markets. The below is a picture of the shoe factory and all the wooden shoes

It was again time for urban landscape. We had a in-coach drive through Rotterdam. This city had the largest port in the world, till 6 months back, before Shanghai’s new port over took it. With a nice skyline and aesthetic architecture, the city reflects a typical 20th century creation, except the couple of buildings which stood the blitz.

The next destination - the city of Delft. This place is famous for Delftware, or hand painted porcelain ware, and the ancient churches. Peacock is one of the two factories producing these. The demo of end to end process was interesting. The demonstrator said “This art was brought to Holland from China by the Merchants. This is just one of the two factories producing original hand painted Delftware. There might be a lot of Chinese duplicates in the souvenir shops. Please check the trade mark and buy.” Nice completion of a cycle!!

It was time for lunch and it was time to taste the best Dutch Pan Cakes. I had a pan cake, topped with pineapples, ice cream, honey and …. :)

Again travelling through the Country side, we reached The Hague. [The Political capital of The Netherlands]. Lovely city with an ancient and modern mix. The International Court of Justice is the UN wing for international dispute resolution. This lost the respect after USA withdrew recognition after ICJ delivered a judgement against the US. The following are the International Court of Justice and the World Peace Flame lit outside that.

The Hague has a nice long beach. It was sunny and we had some fun there. The next stop was Madurodam. This is the miniature Holland, reduced by 25 times. All the other spots of Holland, like the Delta Works, Schipol airport were all available here for view.

Schipol Airport at Madurodam

Hans of Holland at Madurodam

It was evening by then, and we returned to Amsterdam. Took a canal cruise through the highly networked canals of the city. Again walks through central Amsterdam, dinner at a Desi restaurant, before hitting the bed.

To be contd….[The concluding part will have the visits to Anne Frank house, exploring the country side on our own, visits to working Windmill and Dutch cheese factory.]


At Tue Sep 06, 12:09:00 PM CDT, Blogger WA said...

Nice account again Tj. Looking forward to the rest. Nice pictures too

At Tue Sep 06, 12:12:00 PM CDT, Blogger Ganesh said...

the pics are great and good writeup

At Tue Sep 06, 03:49:00 PM CDT, Anonymous Sundaresan said...

good writing with nice phtoes! Are Amsterdam and Rotterdam twin cities? If am correct, the ABN AMRO bank is head-quarted in the Netherlands. It is the acronym of 'Associated Bank of Netherlands, AMsterdam ROtterdam'..

At Wed Sep 07, 12:07:00 AM CDT, Blogger Ram.C said...

educational tour pora mathiri poi irukkinga..

At Wed Sep 07, 01:48:00 AM CDT, Blogger Mridula said...

Intersting account and beautiful pictures.

At Wed Sep 07, 10:00:00 AM CDT, Blogger TJ said...

WA and Ganesh,

Amsterdam and Rotterdam are not twin cities, they are abt 60kms apart.
Yes, ABN AMRO is the result of the merger in 1991 of Algemene Bank Nederland (ABN) and AMRO - the Amsterdamsche-Rotterdamsche Bank.

Pagalla educational tour, apporam venungaravangalukku palana tour ;)

Thanks for visiting!

At Wed Sep 07, 10:26:00 AM CDT, Blogger tt_giant said...

Nice travelogue!.

At Wed Sep 07, 10:31:00 AM CDT, Blogger TJ said...

Thanks tt_giant!!

At Sun Sep 11, 09:39:00 PM CDT, Blogger mistyeiz said...

hhmmm....brings back such sweet memories. makes me wanna go back again!!!

i miss stein!!!!!!!!!!!!
*this town happens to be 1 hr 45 min by train from amsterdam*

At Mon Sep 12, 05:10:00 AM CDT, Blogger TJ said...

Yes, Netherlands is the place which makes one wanna go back again n again.

At Mon Sep 12, 09:15:00 PM CDT, Anonymous new yvy / mistyeiz said...

i think its a great place to retire n move to. :) *starts planning retirement plan.* lol :P


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