While Amsterdam is a wonderful city which can easily keep you amused for a week, I also wanted to take the opportunity to get out of town and visit some places in other areas of the country where I had never been before.
First visit was to Giethoorn – a picturesque village built totally on small canals. It is very popular at this time of year but when you get the chance to see through the people it is quite cute. It’s interesting claim to fame is that it has a place on the official international Monopoly board. They achieved this very cleverly. The place is very much loved by Chinese visitors and the locations to be chosen for the Monopoly set were to be set by a global vote so every Chinese visitor was asked to vote for the town and to ask their mates back in China to do the same – and Bingo – there they sit alongside London, New York and Sydney. The power of social media! Best to do Giethoorn via a coach trip as not easy to get to with public transport.
Next stop Haarlem – just 15 minutes out of Haarlem on the train and a lovely smaller version of Amsterdam with far less people so great place to visit in August when the city crowds get a bit too much. The artist Frans Hals was born here so there is also a museum about his works (I didn’t like how it was curated) and a very large church. The place has a great vibe.
Then finally to the Kroner Muller Museum. My friend Heleen who I first met in Melbourne and who now lives back in her home of the Netherlands kindly took me to this museum. It is another collection where a wealthy woman bought some amazing works of art and has shared them with the public. Unbelievably, since I’d never heard of it before, it has the second largest collection of Van Gogh paintings in the world – and this time pics were allowed so I am enclosing a chunk of his works plus others in her collection. It is also situated in a massive park so you can wander around enjoying the sculptures too and we got a glimpse of the Royal Family’s hunting lodge. Great day out.