Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Zaanse Schans

Last day in Amsterdam I took a last minute trip to Zaanse Schans.

All roads in Amsterdam lead to Centraal (train) Station

Once inside, ask at the information window for help with your destination. Take a picture of this! This gent doesn't speak English, a rare bird in Amsterdam. Then run to the ticket machines, pray a little that you understood where you are going. Then pray some more finding your track (7a trains are way in front of 7b trains so prepare to run). Pray onboard some kind person will tell you when to get off at the unpronounceable Koog-Zaandijk. No problem - locals are Very helpful. 4 stops later and a mere 14 minutes you are in Zaandijk!

The refreshment stand directed me from there, but lovely maps abound.

It's about a 15 minute walk

The quiet road through town is lined with blowup photos of life of yore.

There's also a nice pastry shop nearby to help allay your fears of getting lost (impossible it turns out).

This first windmill alerts you of the bulb shop and the bridge to Zaans Schans.

Ta da!

Such a lovely toy town is Zaanse Schans.

Serenity now.

Some Amsterdamers will say Zaanse is a bit touristic. I didn't mind a bit.

I went into this windmill, since my time was limited...train back to Paris in a few hours etc.

There are 12 working windmills. Once fallen into disrepair and torn down, they have been rebuilt with support, donations and subsidies. You can become a member of De Zaansche Molen and help support them.

They mainly mill a full range of spices and cocoa available in the shops.

The Speculoos cookie spices(4) are sold along with molds and big figure cookies (1 euro each...why didn't I buy more?). They are not overly-sweetened like the Speculoos found in Paris.
I wish I'd stayed longer. Next time. But I was delighted to have gone thanks very much to SugarednSpiced post on Zaanse Schans.
You should go too!


  1. I LOVE the Dutch Speculaas..♥I have a similar mold..old though and dark..
    I have never made them to taste like the authentic ones..mine turn out rock hard..I remember how the Dutch ones would melt in tea:)and in my mouth..funny the things you remember from childhood.
    So glad you went to the windmills..did you have a chance for Madurodam?
    When my friends went..I would have loved to be w/ them..that's when I was 10.
    Did you just do the windmill aquarelle?
    Looks so old worldy..Love it.

    1. Yes just whipped out the watercolor
      Such a wonderful subject to paint...I couldn't resist.

  2. We found the friendliest most-helpful people in the Netherlands and it was easy to get around. We took the bus to the area where you went and then a ferry to another area that has a cafe with loads of artwork - artists paid for their food with their work so there is lots to see. We also went out to the beach from the little town we stayed in - the people there really enjoy their reclaimed land and are trying to treat it well. This was the start of a tour of Europe and it really begin our journey on a wonderful welcoming note. I'm sure you will go back to see more!

    1. Indeed a very lovely country to visit Sil.

  3. Amsterdam looks like fun from your blog—I’ve never been, I need to go. Do you know Monet’s paintings from Holland?

  4. In all my travels, I found there was never enough time anywhere. Sigh!

    Love all your photos! Thank you, Carol!


  5. Ooooh! Speculaas! One of the main reasons I fly Delta!

    1. Those minis on Delta are not worth it.
      PLEASE go to Amsterdam for heavens sake !

  6. Joanna1:48 PM

    Looks like a lot of "yum fun"!

  7. Absolutely story-book perfect! Despite your worries, it seems to me that you never have a moment's bad luck in all you adventures! Good on you!

    1. Uh oh. I'm superstitious. Dn't say stuff like that.
      I was freezing in Brussels and had a bad meal at the supposedly best restaurant. Bad service too and way over priced. les Arms de bla bla...

    2. PS Don't forget 2 spills and 2 fractures this past year. Ooops I didnt talk about the last one....

  8. Pictures are gorgeous, truly a Dutch Painting....I want to now go back to Amsterdam!

  9. Jennifer9:40 AM

    Amsterdam spring beauty

  10. Carol, what a beautiful shade of green in that tiny town, with all that sky above. I'm glad you did find time for this side trip. When I was in Amsterdam, my side trip was to Haarlem, another lovely desitination. (I actually wished that I'd stayed in Haarlem and made a few side trips to Amsterdam!)


  11. That looks gorgeous!
    I love your opening watercolor, too :)

  12. Louise10:33 AM

    Love this! Wish I had had this last month when my grandson was doing his report on THE NETHERLANDS. ! Your the best!

  13. Elizabeth12:03 PM

    I would like whatever is in that jar.

  14. Your next trip to Amsterdam, you might want to spend the day in Muiden (pronounced something like "merden"), a quick metro to Amstel station, then a bus ride south of Amsterdam. It has a wonderful castle and streets lined with the cleanest, shiniest front windows of small houses into which you can peek to get a sense of the life within. Lovely front gardens too.

  15. What a haven! Not a place I've visited but it just went on the "someday" list. Speculoos -- how I love those. Big sigh!

  16. I have been a few times and it is a delightful way to spend the day! Charming! One of my favorite memories is walking out of the train station and the scent of chocolate wafting through the air. The pewter demonstration in the old toll booth was also a favorite.


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