Hello from KL! Once again, sorry for the absence! But also, a huge thank you for staying with the blog and coming back despite that short hiatus. It still feels weird getting views from all over the world even though I wasn’t posting much – only 1 post in 3 weeks!
I thought only the people who actually know me in person (Shout out to Philippines, Malaysia, and Europe!) take time to read my ramblings but apparently, some people in Mexico, Germany (where I don’t have any relatives, I think!), all the way down to New Zealand (and a lot more countries) find these entries interesting. And for that, a big, virtual hug for you guys! Thank you so much for supporting this blog. :-*
I guess the hardest part about having to write about your long vacation is not really knowing where to start. So let’s just back track all the way to day 1.
We left Kuala Lumpur on the 8th of August for a 3-week trip to Europe to visit family and friends while going sightseeing along the way. It was my husband’s first time in Europe so it was actually fun going back to some of the places I’ve already been to and acting like a tour guide while discovering new places with him.
We flew via Emirates and it was a pretty great experience with them. Is it better than my favourite KLM? You’ll have to wait for the separate post on that. Though I must say that Emirates really made the looong journey bearable for someone like me who has been flying a lot for years but absolutely hates it. (Dries out my skin and hair, stress, boredom, anxiety during take off/ landing – I can go on all day)
As soon as we arrived, tragedy struck. I got corneal abrasion from my persistence to put on my contact lenses despite my dry eyes. That doomed me into wearing my glasses for a week. Not that I’m entirely complaining. I love my glasses with its vintage vibe and all but I hate not being able to wear sunglasses unless I go for them and decide to be almost-blind for a day. Pfft.
My mom and her boyfriend (who’s a tour guide) picked us up in Schiphol. Since we only had a few days in Amsterdam before moving on to our next stop on this Europe trip, they decided to take us to Zaanse Schans right away so the husband can see the ever famous windmills. Off we go without freshening up! (I was totally dying to change into something more comfy but I didn’t want to be a wet blanket! And Alvin looked pretty game for it.)
Luggage lockers and getting to Zaanse Schans
We took a train from Schiphol to Amsterdam Centraal where we made use of the luggage lockers (bagagekluizen) there. Found in the station’s East Wing (near the Albert Heijn) you may rent them for a few euros per day and since we didn’t want to drag our (heavy) suitcases through the city then to the quaint neighbourhood we were going to, it was smarter to use this service. You can find the rates and a bit more info on this here.
From Amsterdam Centraal, there are two ways to get to Zaanse Schans. One is by taking the train to the Koog-Zaandijk station (takes less than 20 minutes) followed by a 10 to 15-minute walk. It’s a pretty fun way of seeing the area and you’ll be passing by a chocolate factory that makes sure the air smells of cocoa. Yum! Do take this route if you’re going in the summer. I tried it in 2013 during winter and I don’t recommend it on a windy, winter day. The part where you have to walk over a bridge to get to the actual area of Zaanse Schans can be quite chilly.
The other route going to Zaanse Schans is by taking the Connexxion bus 391 from Amsterdam Centraal. It comes every 15 minutes and the journey takes around 40. It’s kinda like sightseeing on a tour bus so this route is also fun. Though the main advantage of this is that you get dropped off right at Zaanse Schans and there would be no need for you to take a long walk to get there. For this trip, we took the bus going there then took the train back to Amsterdam Centraal. ;)
It’s a “living and working” community that dates back to the 18th century and is one of Europe’s oldest industrial areas. For most people travelling to the Netherlands, it’s a must see as it’s like taking a step back in time.
Our visit was right smack in the middle of the summer holidays so it was no surprise that Zaanse Schans was packed. The sun shining (way too) bright that day was practically a call for all the tourists in Holland to flock to this area.