There is nothing more fun than doing Europe in your twenties and with a bunch of good friends. Definitely this would be one well-deserved vacation. Being in your prime, earning your own money, and being old enough to get in anywhere. From Frankfurt to Amsterdam it is a mere 4 and a half our drive (less even) and you are in the Netherlands.
I’m sure anyone who tells anyone they’re going to Amsterdam will have someone crack some dumb stoner joke or make a comment on the oh-so-popular Red Light District that this canal and boathouse congested town is known for. But for anyone that’s actually spent any time there, there is a certain appeal about this city. Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Madurodam —- a fun fact I just learned is that most Dutch cities were created by harnessing the water with dams, which is why it made sense to call a town or a village the dam of Amstel….. Amsterdam.
The dam of Rotte river…. Rotterdam.
Amsterdam like Venice in Italy has similar structured canals running through which is why many of the people here have little boats, even boathouses. The place has a cozy conviviality… and appealing simplicity… it’s a funky little neighborhood this one. Charming nonetheless, and not quite what you imagined it to be really.
We had a chance to visit an old defunct beer brewery turned amusement park / museum in Amsterdam (which we all know but do not necessarily love more than our SMB) where we were educated on the pilsner beer. Heineken is one of the top 3 most successful beery companies in the world and Amsterdam is this beers birthplace. This is a no-brainer as all of us are dedicated beer lovers. In fact, we actually learned a few things about beer.
BEER FACT #1: The colder a beer is, the less bitter it tastes.
(and yet in my country… we take EVERYTHING WITH ICE. Hence, Davaoenos did a fantastic job of inventing the ice cold beer popularly known as, zerobelow beer)
BEER FACT#2: They skims the head of the beer with a stick coated in water to seal the head from allowing oxygen to enter therefore making the beer taste fresh for a longer amount of time.
BEER FACT#3: Heineken is brewed with the identical proportion of identical ingredients all over the world which means that you get the same exact taste no matter where you get it.
BEER FACT #4: There are exactly 150 calories in 1 bottle of Heineken beer.
BEER FACT #5: Heineken tastes better served from a keg. (then again… doesn’t all beer taste better from a keg???)
The tour was definitely something else, I for one had never been in a place like that and it was pretty smart to make your customers some beer before getting to the gift shop which was at the end of the tour when some people were (hopefully) tipsier than when they first got there. Souvenir wise, you can get your own custom labeled Heinie bottle too!
The Heineken Museum is open 7 days a week from 7am to 5.30pm and children as well as minors are allowed provided they are with responsible adults. Anyone under the age of 16 does not get the free beer. 😛
I am sure we all know well the Red Light District and sex shops and coffee shops in Amsterdam. A whole lot of fun I tell you but to keep this blog wholesome (and because it would simply be rude and impolite to photograph) and just as entertaining, I will be posting some of the street art we were able to photograph throughout this trip in my next blog.
One of my favorite attractions in the Netherlands is a little city called Madurodam. Literally and figuratively a little city.
How we stumbled upon this is actually a pretty funny story. From one of the rides in the amusement park one of our bags got stolen and alas – along with two passports! So the group was on a mission to find the nearest Philippine Embassy to have everything sorted out as soon as possible. Europe is no joke on a daily basis… especially if you aren’t making the moolah in euros.
It might be helpful to note that the nearest Philippine Embassy is not in Amsterdam but in the Haige. Here are the details in case this happens to be your scenario should you find yourself in a similar situation in the Netherlands:
Laan Copes van Cattenburch 125
2585 EZ THE HAGUE
+31 (0) 7 03 60 48 20
EMERGENCY HOTLINE NUMBER:
+31 (0) 6 52 61 10 79
Since it would take a few days to get everything fixed with the Embassy (very nice, helpful and accommodating people by the way. If only most embassies were the same!) we took a short detour and came across Madurodam. Talk about childhood memories – being in Madurodam is like a scene straight out of some rich kid’s playground. Or shall I say, model train set scaled to bigger and greater proportions. Kids of all ages would love this stuff… I know I did.
Madurodam is named after George Maduro and features miniatures of the Schipol airport, windmills and other historical structures about Nederlands – including KLM airlines. It’s actually nice to know that this is a charitable institution and proceeds go to helping the youth (duh!) and to improving and making this miniature city grow and grow and grow.
For 13 euros you can get yourself familiarized with the entire city and the architectural detail is simply fascinating. It would be difficult not to revert to your child-like wonder and play Godzilla or think Honey I Shrunk the Kids back in the 90’s or even Gulliver’s Travels!
Bet you can’t tell this is a miniature, can ya?