Saturday, April 25, 2015

Tulpenpluk 2015

Well, this weekend we went to Berendrecht #Tulpenpluk (translated as Tulips Pick) and  I must say, "We just loved it".

It’s a fantastic initiative by the City of Antwerp. Every year during November time frame, the district commune of Berendrecht plants thousands of tulip pulps on the meadows near the Berendrecht Port. And all these pulps bloom beautiful during april., and be opened up to the public to come and enjoy!

This year Berendrecht meadow was filled with 160,000 colorful tulips and we’re all allowed to pick upto 10 tulips per person and take back to home :)

We went from Antwerp Central to the Berendrecht by public transport; from then there was about 15minutes walk to the tulip meadow.

 By the time we reached, the crowd had already turned out well over and we joined-in over the long queue. But it was not that bad, the queue was fast moving.; and in about 20mins of queue, we got straight into the meadows !

The meadow with all colorful tulips looked so beautiful, under the bright spring sunshine. We snapped hell of nice pictures and grabbed a  few beautiful tulips for home too.

Furthermore, there was a lot of nice events such as a ducks ‘parade, children's village, hay stack maze, kids painting, picnic area  ...etc. 

After spending a good amount of time, we returned home, and our house got brightened by the beautiful bouquets :-).

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Anne Frank House, Rijks & Van Gogh Museum

Like every other European City, Amsterdam too has many museums. Heard that at least 75 of them are still very active and attracting 1000’s of visitors everyday! .

Anne Frank House, Science Museum, Rijk Museum and Van Gogh museum are a few that we could see, well just from outside ;P . There was no time to get into all the museums in a single day. Madame Tussads itself took half of our day.
#Anne_Frank House:  
After Madame Tussads and lunch, we planned to go to the Anne Frank House. From the day we came to know about the book “The Diary of a Young Girl” (Anne Frank ‘s biography), we always wanted to visit the Anne Frank House; but there was already a mile lengthy queue and we realized that we could never make it happen. If I come back again to Amasterdam , am sure to see this place.

During World War II, Anne Frank hid from German soldiers with her family in this canal side house. Anne Frank couldn’t not survive and captured by the Nazi troops from this house, but in 1947 when her father published her wartime diary , the world came to know about Anna and her families struggles against the Nazi. After that this house started attracting so many visitors from all over the world, and become a museum later.

It’s the National Museum of Holland., is located at the Museum Square in the  Amsterdam South, close to the Van Gogh Museum.

Well, it was our second of three museums scheduled for that one day; and we’re almost at the closing time of the museum. So we did not go inside, but had a good time outside the museum gardens. The gardens at the rear side of the museum was so beautiful and are ideal for a relaxing picnic.

#Van_Gogh museum & Vondelpark:
We were eager to get to the Van Gogh Museum nearby…But unlucky againJ, the Van Gogh museum was under construction, but some of his painting samples were kept outside for public.

Last of all, we saw the “#IamAmsterdam” sign, a giant sign where each letter is the size of a person. While this isn’t unique in and of itself, it led to us visiting Vondelpark as well, a park filled with locals, tourists, kids and adults enjoying playgrounds, jogging trails, and great weather!

Between these two destinations we spent a good amount of time before  we started back our boat trip back to the Amsterdam Central station. It was a very relaxing finish to a nice trip.

Ofcourse, this trip is not of my typical way of touring. We just passed through all the places without getting-in to them, exploring nothing…, but never failed to click the snaps at all the attractions..;(

Anyway, I consoled myself that “it is okay, when you are a tourist, to do some things that are just a little touristy :) .”

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Madame Tussauds, Amsterdam

Our first stop was at the #Madame Tussauds (which doesn’t need any introduction, right?). It was walkable from the Central Station, we reached in another 10minutes. Good that we had purchased the express entry tickets, so we could avoid the long queue and entered directly in to the museum.

I’m not a big fan of any celebrity in particular, nor a fan of wax figures, so I can’t say Madame Tussauds is my favorite spot. But it was not disappointing or boring.  The amount of work and dedication put into the making and maintaining the wax figures is really impressive !!!.

We could meet many movie superstars, political leaders, sport heroes,.. and many global celebrities.  Seems this particular Madame Tussads gives some special focus to their local culture, the first floor is full of Dutch royals, politicians, painters … and pop stars.

I would have expected some more exhibits in the museum, however the existing ones itself gave good opportunity to enjoy and to be photographed. Ever thought that we would meet Barack Obama, Ronaldinho, Michael Jackson and Einstein in just half a day? :P .  I liked the Charlie Chaplin exhibit as I could dance along with him and appear in a video with him whilst doing this.

A bit pricey for the little time (2-3 hours max) we could spend there. If you've never been to any Madame Tussauds elsewhere, you can go ahead and visit this one, you may like it.

Now, a short history about the Madame Tussads Museums: Marie Tussaud was born in 1761 in Strasbourg, France. Her mother worked as a housekeeper for Dr. Philippe Curtius in Switzerland, who was a physician, skilled in wax modelling. Curtius taught Tussaud the art of wax modelling.

By her 17 years, she mastered the art and during the French Revolution she modeled death masks for many prominent victims. They became very popular and her death masks were held up as revolutionary flags and paraded through the streets of Paris.

Following the doctor's death in 1794, she inherited his vast collection of wax models and spent the next 33 years travelling around Europe. By 1835 Marie had settled down in Baker Street, London, and opened her first wax  museum., which became the origin of all the today’s Madame Tussads all over the world.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Amsterdam Canals & Cruises

Our decision to go for the boat pass turned out to be a very good one. Indeed only from the boat, you could catch more details of the unique and beautiful buildings all along the city.

Most of the tourist attractions can be reached via these canals. There are quite a few boat tour options, we picked up the whole day pass , which allowed us to hop-in and off any number of times/boats, throughout the day. These boats also had a audio tour - we could hear a narrator explaining what we’re are passing and its history, specialties …and etc.

These canals are also the venue also provide a popular place for recreational activities, from boating to parades. Many of the city's special events are held upon the waters of the canals. Once you get familiarized with the waterways and their routes, you can catch cruises all over the places and see every corner of the city.

These Canals don’t seem to be formed naturally, rather they are consciously planned and dug. The canals have been part of the city's landscape since the early fourteenth century. However most of the current canals were built only during the seventeenth century. Obviously, they are the primary and most beautiful mode of transport within the city., but actually they are much more than just a pretty sight.  Their main purpose is to control the floods coming in from the sea. Natural & artificial dikes present in the canals prevent flooding of sea water flowing into the city.

With more than 100 km of Canals and 1500 bridges within, Amsterdam is truly the "Venice of North Europe".  And Undoubtedly these beautiful and scenic canals are one of the big attractions of the city. I would say, Its a "must to do" in Amsterdam ... :)

Monday, April 6, 2015

Trip to Amsterdam

Amsterdam – the capital of Netherlands, is our first tour outside Belgium.

Most of my friends had already created an image about #Amsterdam that it’s only for the young adults ; and is why Amsterdam is often referred as the city of drugs and sex. But, I went with my family and still did not get disappointed. There’re a lot more good and beautiful things you can enjoy in Amsterdam.

Our travel from Antwerp to Amsterdam was through train. The journey was about 2 hours, and we reached Amsterdam Central at 8.40AM. I always prefer to explore any city by walk, but this time , went for a whole day boat pass as am with kid, can’t walk much.

Amsterdam city has so much to offer, a single day is not at all sufficient. We just tried our best to cover the places as much as possible. We started our tour with the Madame Tussads, and could touch-up Science Museum, Rijk & Van Gogh museums via a long boat ride within the short duration. After dinner at around 8.45PM, we started back our return journey to Antwerp.

Will write more about some of the interesting things/places that we experienced during our trip, in the following posts...

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Aquatopia - Aquarium Of Antwerp

It was a little rainy weekend, wanted to plan something of indoor sort. Aquatopia was a perfect fit for the day. We visited aquatopia and were pleasantly surprised !

The aquarium is in a prime area just next to #Antwerp central station. It has a huge collection of underwater species. we got to see so many of them that I can’t just list. It accommodates more than 10,000 fish and a large quantity of reptiles.

The key attraction is the big shark tank. With a capacity of 360 000 liters of water, I guess this is the biggest shark aquarium of Belgium. Visitors can walk through a thick glass wall tunnel or over a bridge that hangs above the tank.

Another very special (but little scary to me :P ) was the reptiles section. It’s open and there are some that climb up the tree and jump on you! The snakes section was also open but with a door that can be only opened or closed with switch. Still it was scary too!. But I'm sure they cannot be dangerous as all precautions would have been taken by the aquarium.

Overall, it’s a very nice place to go for 3-4 hours indoor. Especially children would enjoy hours of everything that #Aquatopia offers.