Saturday, October 18, 2014

From Amsterdam to Brussels


So after Iceland we flew back to London and then went to Amsterdam. We arrived rather late at night and we found it hard to find our hostel. And, unfortunately,  I had mistakenly made two bookings at the same hostel for the same dates. The hostel actually emailed me for confirmation when we were still on the way to Amsterdam but I couldn't access my email while we were in Luton so I have to pay anyway huhuhu

The streets on which we lived was rather scary however there were quite a number of halal food options in the area. And I wouldn't recommend this hostel anyway because I think they lack security. The girls who shared room with us just came back from the police station when we checked in. One of their room mate the night before had stolen their stuffs which include their credit cards.

So, first thing the next morning was getting ourselves the public transport tickets. We went to the train station at first but then was directed to another building which was about 5 minutes walk from the station. We went to the counter and asked how to go to Zaanse Schans. I remember the two guys at the counter were very funny and helpful at the same time.

So there are two options; one is to buy a ticket like the one above and another one is to purchase the IAmsterdam card which entitles you to free entrance in selected museums and attractions, free GVB public transport and discounts on items in selected outlets. Which is better? It really depends on your itinerary. We took the 48 hours IAmsterdam card and then bought another 24 hours public transport ticket. They are activated upon the first use and this is by element. Lets say you use tram at 8 am and enter a museum at 10 am, so the transport element is activated at 8am and ends at 8 am 2 days later while your  museum  element will end at 10 am 2 days later. Faham ka? hahaha

We took a bus to Zaanse Schans. I remember it took us around 40 minutes to get there. I'd thought that Amsterdam was a rather well-preserved old city since the buildings were mostly dated back in the 19th century. How do we know? Most of the buildings have the year of construction imprinted on the building. But when we arrived in Zaanse Schans, it felt like as if we just got off from a time machine. Everything look so.. antique; the houses, the boats and of course the windmills. 

This man was singing some dutch songs when we arrived. When we got to the platform to watch the sails of the windmill, he continued singing from below. 

So sweeeeetttt~

There used to be thousands of windmills here in the olden days and this village used to be one of the most important industrial center for the Dutch . Many of them were destroyed. Today, there are only a few which are restored and some are newly built windmills. We were very fascinated actually because these are real working windmills in which they solely depend on the wind energy to get things done!

On top is the oil mill in which they produce oil from grinding peanuts! 

This is the saw mill which is one of the new windmill. We were shown the video of how it was constructed  before we enter the windmill itself. Bukan sanang ok! They tried to mimic exactly how the ancient windmill was built so it requires very high precision and accuracy. 

Aku selalu fikir, sebab dulu2 teda sangat benda yang melalaikan, sebab tu dorang punya inventions mengagumkan hahaha

Believe me, we spent more than an hour in this windmill and I think we were the most interested visitor of the day. The manager just stood there with us the whole time answering our endless questions.This place really incite our curiosity. We watched the whole process; from moving the log from the canal into the windmill then removing the bark and to the cutting process. Some people do find this place boring. But we really appreciate the hard work, the complex and immaculate design and engineering of the windmill and all the machinery, and of course the end product. 

Later that evening, we decided to do the canal cruise since it's free with our IAmsterdam card. We met some Indonesians who were there for some conference in one of the University.

I was very impressed with the captain's maneuver. The canal is very narrow and at one time we even did a u turn. I predicted the captain would need to adjust the position several times before we could complete the u turn. But No! He just did a single spin on the steering wheel and succeeded!
I think the cruise is very interesting and everybody should try at least once if you happen to be in Amsterdam. It gives you the opportunity to view the boat houses up-close and you can even peek into some of them to see what it's like inside. I saw a couple having early dinner in one of the boat house.

Since Brussels is just a few hours away so why not hop in a train and head there. 

We stayed in Meininger Hotel and booked a six bed dorm. I say we made the best choice! The hotel is about 2-3 minutes from the subway and there were many halal food around. We didn't know there were many Muslims in the area.

When we arrived there we were confused about the location of the hotel and I guess it was clear inour face that it prods this lady to approach us. She can't speak a word of English so I initially didn't know what she wants from us. Then she just took the booking voucher from me, look at the address and instructed us to go straight in French.

"Ooooo nak tolong rupenye. Ingatkan nak ape tadi.. Merci beaucoup!"

If you ask me, Brussels is my second favourite European city after Prague. It's extremely beautiful and the crowd and the pace is hurm tolerable hahaha eyh ka aku pernah cakap Lucerne 2nd after Prague?
But really, I love it there!

The waffles are very popular but we didn't try it because we were not confident with the ingredients. But we went to this chocolate shop and shopped like crazy. At first the lady was hesitant and was rather harsh when I asked "Do you have those that don't have alcohol in it?"
"Of course we have.." I sensed annoyance in her tone..
I think, I should have asked "which one of your chocolate that has no alcohol in it?"

Ha! Ada drama tahu masa dalam kedai chocolate itu!
It's not about the lady because she transformed into a very sweet chocolatier when she saw each of our basket were filled to the brim

A few minutes after we entered the shop, suddenly a swarm of Chinese tourists came in to shop as well. And then came this blonde lady who always held her handbag in front of her. I actually noticed her because I think her behaviour was rather odd, you know. The way she was looking around was weird.. And the way she held her bag was weird... Yang sangkut beg d tangan macam pegang bakul d pasar tu bha..

And I found it strange that she was the only one who was just looking around and didn't pick up any product to look at the flavour, ingredients or what ever. Okay, I was not staring. Aku memang jenis kalo ko lalu depan aku, I can notice 90% of what you're wearing, how you behave... I don't know why.. Super power kali...

So... Mo d jadikan cerita.. This woman stood next to me at one point... I just ignore her because I was busy choosing chocolates.. The area has free wifi and suddenly I felt my phone vibrate and when I slip my hand into my bag to grab my phone, guess what! There was another hand inside!!!!!!!!!!!!

She was going to steal my purse!!!!! Luckily I had too many stuffs inside my sling bag that she might have found it hard to find which one is my purse \(^^")/
i was stupefied! I went to the back of the shop and start rummaging my bag and fuh~ my purse was still in there...

MR was the first to notice my panic reaction.
 "GG kenape?"
"Perasan tak pompuan yang blonde ade beg kat depan tu. OMG! Die seluk beg GG!"
"Huh? Alamak tadi die berdiri sebelah kite jugak!"
And MR start to rummage her bag as well and Alhamdulillah nothing was stolen too~ 

RA and me had an extra day in Amsterdam so we spent an entire day sight seeing. Surprisingly, we found it was very different during the weekends compared to the weekdays. There were so many things going on on the streets and we even saw a man in a penis suit walking around and it looked like someone dared him to do that, you know. It was really funny, though.

We took a tram just to get this cliche picture.. I think almost everybody who went to Amsterdam must get this one, right?

We went to Madame Tussaud, went to find some souvenirs and then went back early to pack our stuffs...

So that's the end of our Eurotrip.. Actually, there are a lot more things that happened and I didn't get to write everything.. InshaAllah, we'll be back to Europe again in 2015.. Oleh itu, aku harus berjimat cermat tahap dewa mulai saat dan ketika ini.. Oh tidak! Tiba2 lapar...