I arrived in the Amsterdam area airport with 24 hours to spend before conference time. My conference was providing free shuttles from the airport to the conference town (Egmond aan Zee), so I opted for an airport-based tour of Amsterdam. Best 50 euros I've ever spent.
The tour lasted 2.5 hours and was given by a fabulous guide in a small van. It was nearly a personal tour, as there were only two patrons. We made several stops in and around the city, including by the I amsterdam sign (get it? I [am] AMsterdam?)
The Netherlands is a flat and agricultural country, and very picturesque. I saw many different types of crops and livestock. The occasional windmill dotted the landscape. According to Fabulous Tour Guide, only about 100 of the classic Dutch windmills remain, and although they are not operational they are preserved. The strategy for upkeep is to let people live in them rent-free as long as they take care of them. I saw a man out tending his windmill's lawn on a Sunday afternoon. A clever solution to a historical preservation problem, but bizarre nonetheless.
Immediately upon arrival in Egmond aan zee I headed for the beach. It was less than a block from my hotel and visible from my room. The sun was setting and I just couldn't wait to take it all in.
|The view of the town from the beach.|
The route paralleled a national forest/sand dune preserve. I was lucky to see so much nature in a small country of 15 million people.
And then the fog lifted as I rolled into Bergen aan zee, the town just north of Egmond aan zee on the coast.