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Public Zone 公開區 => Travelogues 遊記相薄 => Topic started by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 12:01:36



Title: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 12:01:36
I spent my Easter holiday in these 2 countries. Last time I visited Paris was in 2006 and I recalled that I said to my wife that we would certainly visit this place again, which we did this year. Our route was to Paris by flight and spent 5 days there, then we went to Amsterdam by train and back to HK therefrom.

We took a mid-night flight to Paris, transit at Munich. We arrived at Munich airport in the morning and it was amazing that the waiting area in Munich airport has free coffee machine. After that we took an hour or so flight to Paris Charles De Gaulle airport. This was the first time I stepped in this airport as last time I left Paris by Eurostar. The airport was quite old but its design was still modern to me, inclined electric walkway with up and down, inter-crossing escalator network, etc. quite funny.



Title: Re: France and Netherlands
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 12:13:24
Our hotel is close to Gare du Nord station. We heard a lot that it was a district with lots of pickpockets, but due to its convenient location, we picked this hotel as our base as this gave us a very convenient travel network.

Gare du Nord literally means "gate of north". It is a big transportation hub at north Paris. North here means the north of the old Paris, as there are a lot of city area even northward than this station. This station has direct train to north part of Europe, which fits our schedule to Netherlands a few days later. It also has a bus terminal, 2 lines of MTR and is just a 10-minute walk to another train station Gare du Est (East gate) which can catch a train to Reims.

The station is huge and nicely built. Our hotel is just opposite to the main entrance.



Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 12:18:50
After we checked in our room, we walked to our first spot Sacre Coeur. This is one of the churches that almost all tourist would go to visit. It situated at District 18 and close to Gare du Nord (at District 10). The most famous part is that it has a long staircase in front of the Chapel and the whole building is at a high level, so that you can overview the whole Paris there.



Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 12:33:53
The weather was kept on changing but the church was crowded by tourists. On a nice weather day, people would sit on the staircase to enjoy a panoramic view of the city of Paris.


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 12:37:18
A Panoramic view from the entrance of the Church.



Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 12:41:06
After the visit to Sacre Coeur. We went to Place de la Concorde. A big square with a Obelisk. This was the place where Louis XVI was beheaded during French Revolution.



Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 12:43:52
I don't know when there are a lot of ferris wheel built all over the world, London eye, Hong Kong, now Concorde Square. There was a Belgium flag for the terrorist attack a few days ago.


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 12:47:38
The Obelisk is at the center of the square and the Jardin des Tuileries (Tuileries Garden) is just next to the square. It connects the square to the Palace du Louvre. We walked in the garden to have a look.


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 12:50:49
The garden is huge and it is a good place for hang out. A relaxing life style. You can face the pond and Palace and chat with your friends, or you may just sit and look at the Concordo Square / other buildings, which is still enjoyable.


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 12:54:08
Our next stop was to Place de Vendome. We went there because my wife wanted to see an exhibition by Chaumet. They were showing some jewellery there.

They are beautiful and finely crafted.



Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 12:57:54
We woke up early on the second day because we had a day trip to Mont St. Michel. We booked the tour from a local tour company and the departure point was next to Musee de Louvre. We arrived there by MTR and the MTR station has a nice platform showing Venus de Milo.



Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 13:03:09
The day trip lasted 14 hours, from 7:30am to 9:30pm, but the actual visiting time was only 4 hours because it took 5 hour bus to the Mont St. Michel. Once we would have thought that we should stay there for 1 night. We slept on the bus but you will find it worthy to be there when you arrived.

The farther look and closer looks of the Mont St. Michel. It is situated at Normandy area of France, which is famous by its inclement weather.


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 13:08:48
We arrived there at about noon. Before we started our visit, we went to eat. Our lunch must have their famous omelette, althoguh I was told that the original one was gone and now the chef are making this omelette using the recipe left by the original chef.

Foods are nice, tho not excellent. The restaurant was busy to serve a lot of customers. Who said that a lunch in France usually lasts for a few hours?

The first picture is the restaurant we went to. They served a Normandy's famous drink, cider. This was the first time I had Cider as a pairing wine for my main dish. The cider showed some maturation character, very interesting.


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 13:12:43
You can see from the above picture that the church was built at the top of the island. The oldest part was built in year 708. It was further developed and went through the 100 year war. So this one has both Gothic and Romanesque style architecture.



Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 13:15:27
The abbey is quiet and solemn. The monks spent their whole life there to train and worship. A lot of religious symbols were left there. You can still find out how hard their life was.


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 13:18:09
This is the place for their meeting. The second picture showed the trace of a chimney built.


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 13:20:16
This is the place where they copy bible. No photocopying at that time and all bibles were manually copied. Large chimneys were built to warm up the room so that they can write. The fire place is higher than a person.


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 13:25:19
This is the place where the monks left the corpus after they passed away. A Peita at the left side, an altar at the end and there was a sculpture hanged on the wall, saying about incarnation.

The second picture is a closer look at Peita. Third picture is the altar. The letter Omega has a meaning of "From start to the end".


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 13:29:53
An overview from the abbey. Except the hotel built on the island, the nearest one is about 3km away. No car is allowed except those permitted one. So thousands of tourists have to squeeze into a shuttle. The island is surrounded by a large piece of wet land. On high tide, it will look like an isolated island, you can imagine.

A very nice scene indeed. You see the last picture has a nice weather, but it rained just a few minutes before I took this picture.


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 13:30:52
We had planned our third and forth day as Museum day. This was because we can buy a Paris Museum Pass to walk through a number of museums. Not only that it is cheaper than paying individual museum when visit, but also that you need not to queue for tickets. We bought a 2-day museum pass at 48 Euro and we earned back the value on our first day.

Having said that, the first spot we went to was Place de la Bastille. Nothing special there actually except its historic meaning. This is the place where the Bastille jail located during French Revolution time. The second reason that we were there was the Marche de Bastille. This is an old market and only open in Thursday and Sunday. We went there for our breakfast.


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 20:42:00
The market has both dry and wet stuff. For dry stuff, clothes, handcrafts, etc. We focus on the wet stuff, flowers, candy, roasted chicken, and most importantly seafoods. You can ask them to open for you to taste on site.



Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 20:45:57
As long as the seafood is fresh, they are yummy....not expensive too. We met a lot of tourists, Chinese, Malaysian, Hongkonger, etc..... We have quite a lot of oysters as breakfast. My comment was "Never pair fresh and yummy oyster with freshly brewed cappuccino".......


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 20:51:53
After breakfast, our first place to go was Musee Picasso. In addition to some paintings by Picasso, this museum mainly focused on the sculpture.



Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 20:54:06
This sculpture of woman is interesting. You can feel different woman by seeing from different angles. Later I found its sketch.


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 20:56:22
After that, we went to Musee National d'Art Moderne at Centre Pompidou. The building itself is worth to visit. The museum is for modern art.


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 20:57:52
Some works are quite interesting and inspiring. Some are funny that you can play with it.


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 21:03:31
Our plan was to go to Notre Dame on foot but we found that there were a lot of people already. This is the place where Museum Pass holders still needed to line up for entry. So we decided to go for our next spot and return on next day. Walking through the bridge linking to Ile de la Cite, I took these....


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 21:09:37
We walked to District 5 and visited Patheon. A nice Greek building but tombs of some famous people, including Hugo, etc....

The hall inside is huge, with a pendulum clock in the middle.


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 21:13:15
It is used for memorizing the national heroes. The basement level has the tombs of the heroes. This is the tomb of Hugo, the author of Le Miserable.


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 21:14:32
It also has the model showing the structure of the Pantheon.


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 21:16:40
On the way to our next spot, we passed by an ice-cream shop which has the best sobert that I have ever tasted. This is a lemon basil sobert.



Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 21:21:56
Another place we passed by was a restaurant, a cafe actually. It is Le Procope, the oldest cafe in the world, having over 250 year history. Voltaire, Rousseau, even Napoleon were customers of this cafe. You can see the plate there talking about this.


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 21:28:56
Originally we planned to go to Musee d'Orsay, but the queue for Museum Pass holders was so long (Sunday, you know.) We decided to move to Arc de Triomphe and then did some shopping.

Frankly speaking, we would not go up the top of the Arch if Museum Pass did not give us free access. It turned out to be an interesting point to visit. First, you entered the Arch at the ground level, then you have to walk up a few hundreds step spiral staircase. After that, you will arrive at a level below the roof. That is a small exhibition area about the history of the Arch.


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 21:32:27
At the roof, the view was stunning. You will oversee the core area of Paris, including the main shopping street Champs-Elysees.


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 21:35:33
Walked down the other side, there was a small exhibition area showing the uniform of French army.....then you took another hundreds step on the spiral staircase to leave. The last few pictures shows the Arch's ground level.


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 21:41:29
The next day, having the experience of the yesterday, we woke up early to go to Notre Dame. The tower tour opens at 10:00am and we arrived at 9:30, so that we can have time to visit the chapel first. I was there last time but this time I had more time to see the details.

This is a perfect example of Gothic structure. The entrance door shows the judgment day.


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 21:47:35
The tour, like the Arc de Triomphe, you have to walk up the spiral staircase to the middle level. At that level you can see the Seine and the city. You may go into the bell house which made me think of The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Hugo. The bell weighs more than 13 tons.


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 21:50:01
They put a net to prevent falling objects and it made your phototaking more difficult. Again, you are up from one tower via spiral staircase and you will leave from the other side, via another spiral staircase.


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 21:52:49
The famous stained glass on east side was beautiful. This is the original one, how good the craftmanship at that time.


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 21:58:21
Le Sainte Chapelle is located opposite to Notre Dame. It is famous by its stained glasses around the chapel. Somehow we will pass by this when we go to Musee de Louvre. We went in to have a visit as we need not to queue and pay.....

It also houses a part of Relics.


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 22:03:10
The good thing in Paris is that most of the museum and tourist spots are within walking distance. On the way we walked to Musee de Louvre, we enjoyed our walk along the Siene river.


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 22:05:42
The Musee de Louvre was the Palace in the old days, it is huge, but not tall. Quite classic, except the later added glass pyramid.



Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 22:11:10
Musee de Louvre. On my last visit, I said that I would revisit this museum one day. I had seen the three main artworks already. Of course I came visit again. Venus de Milo, The winged victory of Samothrace and Mona Lisa.

For the Mona Lisa, I found that it was more interesting to see those visitors.....what a huge crowd...


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 22:13:26
This time I actually wanted to see the Seated Scribe and some other paintings. The Seated Scribe is an important sculpture for analyzing the Egypt history and civilization.


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 22:14:56
This first picture is about the history of Rome and the next one is about the crown of Napolean, which was held in Reims.....


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 22:16:25
Should I dig down to see if The Da Vinci Code is correct?


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 22:21:10
After Louvre, we walked to Musee d'Orsay again. WTF was that it was close on Monday.......

As we suddenly have some spare time, we walked through the Alexander III bridge, overseeing the Musee de l'Armee


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 22:26:28
the Musee de l'Armee shows the military history and collection about army, weapon, etc. The most important "collection" is the tomb of Napoleon. His coffin was placed in the middle of the hall. Walking down 1 floor you can see it horizontally.


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 22:29:11
At the back of the museum there is a palace showing weapons, and military history....There are different rooms for weapons, armor, etc.....


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 22:32:43
The armor room shows the armor used from hundred years ago. There are the armor of Japanese Shogun and even the cloths of Kin Lung (乾隆)


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 22:34:37
We spent a lot of time visiting and shopping. Finally we got a restaurant to have a rather decent French dinner.


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 22:41:56
The next day we went to Reims by train. The journey took less than an hour. The first place to visit was the Notre Dame Cathedral. This one is a bit like the one in Paris but I found that this one was more down to earth. A bit old, open everyday for shelter for anyone. A lot of France King were crowned in this Cathedral.


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 22:44:06
The decoration inside is rather old and simple but it still gives us a solemn and sacred feeling.


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 22:47:18
There is a museum next to it. It is called Palais de Tau. It collects the stuff used for crowning the King. The palace is huge and spacious. The walls are decorated with tapestry


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 22:50:16
After the visit, we walked to a Champagne house for cellar visit. Of course, Reims is the capital of Champagne. We went to Taittinger because I love their vintage champagne very much.


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 22:52:12
This champagne house was built on an abbey. You can find the trace of the old abbey beneath the current building.


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 22:56:01
The cellar was built at least 40m below the ground, giving a cool temperature for aging champagne. There are about 2 million bottles in this cellar where they have another cellar far away with over 20 million bottles.

Some of the bottles are doing remuage. The cellar was built by first making a well of a few meter deep, then excavate down to 60 meter. It has to be in pyramid shape for structural safety.


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 22:58:55
Walked up from the cellar by spiral staircase again. How come they like this type of staircase a lot.....

After finishing hundreds steps, we reached their sale area and tasting room. You have already warmed up by the staircase and it is good time to have a glass of champagne to quench your thirsty.


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 23:00:02
They have a wall showing all their distributors and I found that I know the HK's one......


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 23:03:58
Saint Remi Basilica is just opposite to the Taittinger house. So we went to take a look after visiting Taittinger. It is another Romanesque Gothic abbey built in 11th century. A bit rural as you can see the old stone coffin on the plaza outside the abbey.


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 23:06:57
We had our late lunch in a bar, just because they offered a pedal of interesting beer. Four beer of the same brand with different flavours and alcohol.


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 23:11:10
That finished the part in France. The next day we took a morning train from Gare du Nord to Amsterdam. The train took 3 hours and I highly recommend taking first class train. The train offers breakfast, drinks, spacious seat with full wifi access. As our hotel was close to Amsterdam airport, we left the train at Schipol and went to the hotel by hotel shuttle. Below are our hotel pictures.


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 23:12:35
We only had a half day after we checked in, we decided to go to Keukenhof to see tulips. This is a theme park actually. It opens only from March to May every year.


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 23:15:15
The park has different houses. On the way we went to the first house, the path has already had a lot of tulips.


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 23:18:11
The first house we visited was a green house. Each variety of tulips is shown orderly.....They are beautiful.......wonderfully beautiful. You cannot imagine that there are so many types of tulips.


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 23:19:53
Tulip, tulip, tulip......


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 23:21:41
First time I saw black tulip


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 23:24:50
Maybe we came to this a bit early. I think the best time to visit should be mid April, as there will be more tulips. The first picture is a tulip field with different colour bands of tulip, but it needs more time to grow. Other pictures are wood shoes demostartion.....


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 23:26:09
As a park, it has a lot of hang-out area....the seat are made of hay.....quite comfortable.


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 23:27:23
In addition to tulips, they have orchids house.


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 23:28:38
There is a shop selling Muffy, a lot of girls there buying....


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 23:29:36
The open area ....


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 23:31:17
There is a special garden housing the traditional variety. Traditional means those varieties which cause the Tulip disaster in Netherlands. Too bad that the flowers have yet to come.


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 14 April 2016, 23:31:37
We were back to Amsterdam city center in the evening. A good time to walk around the city. Nice architecture there.

The first picture is the royal palace, then the new church and the largest shopping center Magna Plaza.


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 15 April 2016, 10:41:02
The other side of the city is the famous Red Light District. It is interesting to see that the Old Church is close to Red Light District. I feel a harmony atmosphere when canals meet with city center.

The last picture shows the simplest male toilet I have ever seen.....


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 15 April 2016, 10:46:37
Have to mention the dinner we had that night. We just walked in a nice decorated restaurant and found it very good. I am willing to give them Michelin star rating if I can. Foods are yummy, the ingredients of each dish matched wonderfully and gave us surprise, together with a reasonable wine list.


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 15 April 2016, 10:51:31
Our second day in Amsterdam was Museum Day again. We went to Museum Plaza and visited Van Gogh Museum and Rijskmuseum.

There was a long queue when we arrived and it was a worthwhile visit. We spent about 3 hours there to go through the whole life of Van Gogh. The last picture is one of his famous painting Sunflower, this is one of the 4 copy that he made.



Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 15 April 2016, 11:02:36
Rijksmuseum is the largest museum in Netherlands. It has a large collection of Rembrandt's paintings, the number is even more than Rembrandt House Museum. There is a separate chamber for Rembrandt in this museum and the main painting is his "Night Watch".



Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 15 April 2016, 11:07:10
In addition to the paintings, it collects a lot of articles showing the history of Netherlands, especially their marine power. And a small library too.


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 15 April 2016, 11:09:22
After the museum visit, we went to the city center and looked for the number 1 fries of the city, a long queue buying fresh and crispy fries......Yummy



Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 15 April 2016, 11:12:46
The next day we went to Rotterdam, a city famed by its architecture and modernization. We went there by train and our first impression was a bit surprising. The train station really has its own style.



Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 15 April 2016, 11:17:14
The first spot we went to is Kinderdijk. I think its Chinese translation is very poor. It is translated as 小孩堤防. It is a world heritage built in mid 18th century. A series of windmill for water pumping. You can go there by sea of by train/bus and we selected the former one.


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 15 April 2016, 11:21:34
The place is quite, the scene is nice, very comfortable to walk along, except some yelling or loud-mouth from tourists (both Chinese and Hongkongers). A good hangout and photo taking place.



Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 15 April 2016, 11:25:53
In Rotterdam you will see a lot of modern architecture. Cube houses are a famous architecture that almost every tourist would like to go see them. What a nicely built public housing.


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 15 April 2016, 11:27:55
Opposite to the Cube house we found another nicely built structure. We did not know what it was at that moment. Can you guess what it is?


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 15 April 2016, 11:30:42
The answer is ...... a complex building where the ground floor is a market, a supermarket and a wine shop at basement too. The ceiling of the market is high and full of paintings.


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 15 April 2016, 11:38:07
Having spent a day in Rotterdam, we spent our next day at Den Haag or The Hague. We did not plan to go Den Haag but somehow my wife got a few tickets from her friends that we can visit a few museums for free. That added more incentive to us for visiting Den Haag.

Den Haag is a beautiful city and very quiet. It is so quiet that you only see a few people on street, especially in the morning. The first place we went to was the paleis-tuinen, a palace. The street around the palace seems to be a shopping area, the street light is in a crown shape.


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 15 April 2016, 11:42:40
Second stop was Vredespaleis, the international court of justice. It has an exhibition area to tell the history of this court. A good lesson to learn there.


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 15 April 2016, 11:44:23
The city of Den Haag is beautiful, just a bit lack of vibrancy. You can see ponds, lawns, garden everywhere in the old city area.


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 15 April 2016, 11:52:41
The aforesaid museum ticket is for Escher in Het Paleis. It is an exhibition in the former Winter Palace of Queen Mother Emma and featuring the prints by Escher. You can see his all 3 versions of Metamorphosis


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 15 April 2016, 11:55:44
After that, we went back to Amsterdam. It was the so called National Pillow Day and there was a pillow fight in Dam Square. We missed it. Anyway, we still had time to go to Rembrandt House Museum.


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 15 April 2016, 12:00:54
Finally the last day in Europe, we only had a morning to hangout as we would catch the late afternoon flight. We are suggested by our friends that we should go to visit Heineken brewery.

We were the first two visitors entered to the brewery that morning. This interesting copy of NIGTH WATCH attracted me immediately. If you take a detail look and compare with the real one, the people in the painting are holding a glass of Heineken.


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 15 April 2016, 12:07:03
The tour actually tells you how their beer is made, their labels and history. They still have horses for exhibition purpose, you can print your own label on beer bottle, etc. The tour is full of entertainment, they even have video game and karaoke for you to play and you can record your own video and email back to you. Very entertaining.

This is the first time I smell the hops. The last picture shows all the bottles that they have ever used.


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 15 April 2016, 12:11:22
Of course there was a beer tasting. The tour includes a tasting and 2 tokens. The tokens can be used to buy beer or attend a class for beer pouring.

The tasting is led by a beautiful lady. She explained why we should drink beer in a big gulp, not by sip. After the visit, I bought a beer that is stored at -2 degree. You can see the tap was frozen.


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 15 April 2016, 12:13:58
After the visit, we walked along the museum plaza before we headed back to hotel and picked our bags. We took these pictures on our way back.



Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 15 April 2016, 12:20:31
Afterward, we were back to hotel and went to airport, time to go home. That finished our Easter holiday break.

After we were back to HK, yesterday I heard that Schipol airport suspected that there were some terrorists walking therein. The airport was under severe surveillance now. Hope that would be ok. In all, I found that Netherlands is a good place to visit. I really enjoy its environment, friendly people, nice architectures, and beautiful scene.

This place welcomes using bicycle. I think it is a brilliant idea to ride a bike for visiting, as the transportation cost is quite high and the city has very good bicycle track.


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: hangchoi on 15 April 2016, 12:37:38
The last thing I want to say is about Paris.

Before we go, I heard a lot that Paris is dangerous, a lot of pickpocket and robbery, never travel by MTR, etc. After my trip, I would say that Paris is still comparatively safe. In most of the place where tourists will go, it is fine. Of course, you still have your duty to take care of your belongings and keep your money safe.  I am sure there are problems of pickpocket along the MTR lines, even the MTR broadcast tells you beware of them. There are also a lot of different people going to trick you for money, like endorsing whatever proposal, giving some invaluable hand string, etc., but this phenomenon happens not only in Paris, even someone may encounter the same in HK.

My observation may be subject to the recent attack in Paris. After the attack in November, all important buildings and tourist spot are heavily guarded by either police or even soldiers. I stay in Gare du Nord, which I was told many times by my friend that there is a thief's den. Now this train station is guarded by police outside and some soldiers patrolling inside. I can go out for dinner somewhere around Gare du Nord after 10:00pm.

Same as other spots. You have to pass 3 check points in order to get into Notra Dame. X-ray scan before entering any museum.

So it turns out more safe then you expect, though it is sad to have this kind of safety after attack.


Title: Re: France and Netherland
Post by: chin on 19 April 2016, 16:57:56
Thank you for the nice report!

The sky in Paris was really good for photography.

I also like Holland, it's generally enjoyable walking around. We were there 2 summers ago.