Day trip around Amsterdam
Amsterdam is a relatively small city (well, at least when you compare it to Chinese cities) and this has an advantage: you can get to the countryside quite fast. That is what we did one day because we wanted to visit some villages. To reach them you just need to take a bus from Amsterdam’s Central Station. There are day tickets for 10 euros which allow you to hop on and off all the buses (more info here). These buses are frequent and stop at convenient places, so I highly recommended them!
The first village of the day was Edam. Yes, like the cheese! Edam cheese is well known all over the world, I’d say, but the town of Edam is a sleepy and tranquil place. It is only 20 minutes by bus from Amsterdam (C. has to drive 45 minutes to get to his office in Suzhou!). Supposedly there is a cheese market on Wednesdays, but we went on a Monday so I didn’t have the chance to see it.
The second village in our route was Volendam, which is very close to Edam. We could have walked if we knew the way! It only took 5 minutes by bus. Volendam is a very touristy town and has a promenade with many restaurants, shops and snacks.
From Volendam you can ride a ferry to get to the next village, Marken. This place used to be an island but now there is a dam and a road joining it with the mainland, so it can also be reached by bus (but not directly from Volendam). Marken is a tiny, lovely town.
The last town we visited was Monnickendam. There were no tourists at all here! We found definitive proof of the crooked Dutch buildings:
It was a very nice day trip and I totally recommend it if you are planning to visit Amsterdam!