On the first weekend that my family was here we spent Saturday touring a cheese (kaas) and clog (klompen) shop then exploring the town of Volendam. The cheese & klompen shop was a Henri Willig shop, which can be found all over the Netherlands, so it was a bit touristy, but they had great demonstrations (this shop was near Volendam).
We learned about cheese-making and clog-making, then sampled a bunch of cheese, ate some stroop waffel cookies and everyone loaded up on souvenirs (good thing they rented a big van!). Trev and I both though this shop was a lot better than the one we quickly visited on Easter weekend.
We all had a lot of fun looking around and goofing off. While we were taking a family photo with the gigantic klompen a tour bus driver came over with a wig and an accordion, jumped into our pictures then played us some tunes - which led to my Grandma dancing the polka with Gerard. I love spontaneous moments like that - they always make the best memories.
Next we continued on, to Volendam - a popular old fishing village with loads of atmosphere. Volendam is famous for their traditional clothing, for example, the pointed lace cap worn by women originated here. It was nice to walk around and see the buildings and the harbour. We stopped into a shop where we could get dressed up in traditional clothing and have our picture taken - the shop was great, and they let us take pictures with our cameras too. Needless to say, chaos & hilarity followed - and we got lots of great pictures.
After our pictures we took a quick look at the Volendam museum. There were lots of mannequins dressed in traditional clothing and an entire room covered in pictures made out of cigar bands (millions of them). Next we went to the Hotel Spaander - in operation since 1881 and known for it's vast art collection. Artists from all over the world would often pay their bill with a painting or drawing, so the art is on display all over the hotel. The paintings were't labelled, so I wasn't sure which ones were by really famous artists, but there certainly were lots of nice ones and my Mom and I had fun exploring the narrow, twisted hallways looking at them. After we left Volendam we took a quick look around in Marken - a unique town on a peninsula in the Zuiderzee, but it was cold, windy and rainy so we didn't stick around long. Then Trev and I hopped on the train and headed home (it was about 1 1/2 hours by train from where my family was staying in Oudkarspel back to our place in Amstelveen). We had packed a lot into one day, but we saw a lot of neat stuff and had a lot of fun.