Early in the year a friend had the idea to take a road trip to Amsterdam and to visit tulip fields on the way. I love taking road trips and I thought this sounded like a great idea, so I was keen to join, especially since I’d never been to Amsterdam before (except for many layovers in the airport). So we got together a group of friends and set a date and booked a ferry.
We took a late ferry crossing from Dover to Dunkirk on the Friday night, arriving into Dunkirk at 1am. The next morning we found the closest Carrefour and Patisserie to pick up some breakfast and snacks for the drive to Amsterdam.
We didn’t really have a plan for what we wanted to do in Amsterdam, which probably means we missed out on some of the things that attract visitors to the city, but it was really nice just to explore the streets and the canals.
In the evening we headed to our hostel in a small town just outside of Amsterdam. We chose to stay in this hostel partly because it was cheaper than most of the hostels in Amsterdam, but mostly because it was a castle. We stayed in a nice big four person room in one of the towers.
The main attraction for visiting Holland in the spring was to see some tulip fields. So after talking to a friend who used to live in the Netherlands, and a little online research, we planned a route back towards Dover that we hoped would take us past some tulip fields. We had heard that we might be a little late since they had already started cutting the flowers, but we were lucky enough to find a few different coloured tulip fields where we could stop and take some photos.
We saw a lot of windmills while driving through the Netherlands, but it was always from the motorway, and not up close. So we did a little more research while driving back towards Belgium, and planned in a slight detour to Kinderdijk. This was a great diversion, and we definitely could have spent more time there and it was a really big area. Hiring a bike looked like it would have been a fun way to see the whole area, but we opted to walk instead.
We left Kinderijk just in time as a heavy shower passed over. Out next stop should have been Bruges but we didn’t have enough time to to get there and see anything before having to leaving to catch the ferry. So we decided instead on a quick stop in Antwerp so that we could feel like we actually visited Belgium instead of just driving through it. But mostly so we could get some Waffles.
It was an extremely short visit to Antwerp. We set ourselves a time limit of 10 mins once we parked the car, but by the time we found a cash machine, found some waffles, and also got some Belgian fries (which were amazing), we ended up spending 30 mins there. Between finding waffles and cash machines, we were able to see some very beautiful parts of the city, but it was a shame we didn’t have more time to properly explore the city. I definitely plan on returning on my next visit to Belgium.
It was a bit or a rush to get back to the ferry port in time to catch our ferry, especially since I had to stop for petrol. It also took a while to get through the French border check, and I was worried that we would miss the ferry. By the time we made it through they had already loaded all of the cars onto the ferry and we thought we had just missed it and would have to wait two hours for the next ferry. But I spotted one of the ferry workers waving us over and we were able to make it on to the ferry, the last car to board.