Friday, May 02, 2014

Central Europe 5th part: 3 Days in Benelux States: Netherlands

23-days Autumn Experience on my 1st Schengen Visa Escapade
October 17 to October 19, 2013 

"The end of passion is the beginning of repentance." - Dutch Proverb

My 22nd country to visit, 25th solo backpacking trip, 5th visa application for tourism on entire single page, and of course, usual budget do-it-yourself itinerary from arrival to departure.

The Netherlands in its entirety is often referred to as "Holland", although North and South Holland are actually only two of its provinces. In May 2011, the Netherlands was ranked as the "happiest" country according to results published by the OECD. The people, language, and culture of the Netherlands is referred to as "Dutch".

Amsterdam city by day

Amsterdam city by day

Amsterdam city at night (Madame Tussaud)

This another race against time, very short backpacking researched in somehow detailed manner has a compressed itinerary designed as follows: 

October 19 Saturday:

Basic Words to Remember;
hello - hallo;   thank you - dank u;   I love you - ik houd van u;   goodbye - doei!
yes/no - ja/nee;   sorry - sorry!;   please - alstublieft;   excuse me - excuseer me!
toilet - toilet;   train station - trein station;   airport - luchthaven

timezone - +0100H UTC;   capital - Amsterdam;   language - Dutch 
currency - Euro 1EUR = 56 PHP = 1.3 USD

visa - Filipino's need to apply 1st before travel 
how to apply tourist visa in Netherlands ? (Schengen visa applied in France Embassy)

inside Rijksmuseum

inside Rijksmuseum

inside Rijksmuseum

Interesting Facts about Netherlands: 
1. Netherlands and Holland are not synonymous. Holland is largely the western coastal region of the Netherlands, comprising of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Haarlem, Leiden and the Hague.
2. The Dutch are the world experts on keeping back water from the sea and rivers turning Netherlands into an Atlantis. The US government turned to the Dutch for help during the hurricane Katrina disaster.
3. The Dutch are the tallest in the world with an average height of 184 cm for men and 170 cm for women. Some believe its the combined result of DNA and dairy.
4. The highest point in Netherlands, Vaalserberg, is only 323 meters above sea level. The rest of the nation is as flat as a pancake.
5. The Dutch are the world's biggest coffee drinkers after the Scandinavians with an average of 140 litres of coffee a year or 3.2 cups a day.
6. The world-famous tulips and tulip fields of Netherlands do not not originate from the country. The first tulip bulbs were actually imported from Turkey.
7. One of the most popular snacks in the Netherlands is french fries dipped in mayonnaise.
8. It is still the historic windmill capital of the world with over 1,000 vertical mills still in working condition. Imagine the sight when it once had 10,000 windmills.
9. Dutch cheese is the best cheese in the world, as agreed by 40 judges from 17 countries who judged 2,500 cheeses in the 2012 World Cheese Making Contest held in the US.
10. The Dutch beer brands Heineken, Grolsch and Amstel are among the most famous brews in the world.
11. Netherlands is the bicycle capital of the world with more than 18 million in the country. That's more than 1 bicycle per person. 

Amsterdam city by day (Van Gogh Museum)

Amsterdam city by day (Van Gogh Museum)

Amsterdam city by day (Rembrandt Museum)

Zaanse Schans

Amsterdam Train Station arrival at night (coming from Brussels, Belgium);
Night train travel from Brussels to Amsterdam was very relaxing with no hassle and interruption. No hassle means absolutely no immigration security check anywhere and no interruption means no delay on train departure/arrivals. I arrived exactly the same time as specified in e-ticket.


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