quick little easter long weekend trip

Amsterdam Travel Blog

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[excerpted from my blog]
a few wks back, easyjet had a sale.  realizing that i had to go somewhere for easter, i looked for the cheapest destination, which was amsterdam.  bought a one-way ticket this time tho, with the aim to travel back by train - the way ppl used to travel around europe before the discount airlines!  i'v seen a fair bit of urban europe, need to see more of rural europe (still haven't been to tuscany or provence, for example).
i had a guidebook.  but where in the countryside should i go?  so many choices.  so this is where the unesco world heritage site list was helpful.  some turned out to be a great idea, like the kinderdijk windmills, but others left me wondering, how the frig can that be considered of importance to *world* heritage, like the little palace in bruehl.
aside from the unesco sites, the other main countryside siteseeing was the flower fields of holland.  didn't realize that it was this time of year until after i bought the ticket!  so i decided that i had to check out the flowers - and i ended up renting a bike for half a day.  refused to go to the kuchenhof - not paying €11 just to battle off tourists to try to see flowers.. much rather do my own flower-field finding trip.  and it was great!
on my way south, wanted to hit Gouda - which apparently doesn't rhyme with 'buddha', but more like 'chowder' with a boston accent. and the 'g' is more like a really throaty 'h'.  anyways, the train trajectory wouldn't have worked/made sense.  so i continued on to kinderdijk, with the 18 or so windmills, with the sun low on the horizon.. that was beautiful.
spent the second nite in antwerp (first nite, wed nite, was in amsterdam, landed in the late afternoon).  while rural netherlands turned out to be what i had thot switzerland would be like - clean, quaint, architecturally harmonious buildings - belgium was, all of a sudden, much more dirty and gritty.  antwerp, outside of the old town, was dirty in parts, fairly run down for the most part, with quite a few dodgy-looking areas.  the newly renovated train station looked super modern tho, and nicely blended with the old shell of the building.
3rd nite, in cologne.  got to see it in a more normal state, and not during carnival like my last trip there.  then made my way to stuttgart for the 4th nite before coming back.  originally was going to cut thru the black forest and come back via basel, but because i was enjoying my apple strudel with ice cream and big cup of coffee in the sunshine a little too much, i missed my train. lol  so ended up skirting the black forest, cutting thru rottweil, of the dog's fame, and entering switzerland in schaffhausen.
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photo by: pearcetoyou