Zaanse Schans – Windmills Galore!

I was so excited to visit the small town of Zaanse Schans – a community just outside of Amsterdam with working windmills! I had been there as a child and I have very vague flashbacks of seeing these huge windmills and thinking they were the most beautiful things that I had ever seen. 18 years later, I was not disappointed at our return!

My dad was visiting us at this time, and so he and I took the opportunity to scope out various windmills and snap a few pictures, while we left Jason to take his time with the “real pictures.” Although, I have to say I am pleased with the shots that I got, even on my rinky dink phone 🙂 It started out a little bit dark, but by the time we left the sun was shinning and it was the most beautiful day ever!

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Tips for those wanting to visit Zaanse Schans:

– Some windmills are free, others are around 4 euro to enter and tour.
– Parking is 9 euro for the day – you pay as you are leaving.
– You could spend at least a half day here, more if you went into all the windmills, shopped around, and had a meal.
– Stroller and Wheel Chair friendly, but you won’t be able to climb the windmills.
– There are several restaurants and shops with food for a fairly inexpensive price.
– If this is your only trip in the area, splurge and buy some hard cheese. If you are going to be traveling around in other places, there are much cheaper cheese shops that you can buy from.
– You can also buy pigment from the paint mill, and spices from the spice mill. Other popular purchases include wooden shoes, chocolate, and you can’t miss out on a slice of apple pie with a cappuccino! 😀

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Burg Eltz – Now THIS is a Castle

After our trip to Burg Eltz today, I think it has moved up to my #1 favorite castle, followed very shortly by Reichsburg Cochem. I still haven’t been to Neuschwanstein, so maybe after that trip my rating will change again! I hear she is quite a looker too. Since my dad is here visiting Jason and I this week, we are making it a point to go to a few new places.

For anyone who wants to visit, Burg Eltz was pretty easy to get to. We used Apple Maps to get to it, and that takes you straight to the parking area. Parking is 2 euro per car, and from there you can either walk down to the castle (fairly easy and short 10-15 minute walk, and gorgeous view of the castle on the way down) or take a shuttle bus (2 euro per person each way). The castle itself costs 9 euro for adults for the tour (they have both English and German tours), which lasts about 30-45 minutes. There are also 2 restaurants at the castle, and free restrooms. One drawback for anyone with disabilities is that it’s not very wheel chair accessible, and I don’t really think there is any way that you could get a wheel chair on the tour because of all the stairs.

I really loved the walk to the castle, and I would love to come back when it’s a little warmer outside and hike some more. There were a few other trails around the castle that you could take, and we just took the shortest route because of the weather. The castle was quite lovely, looking at the outside was my favorite part. The inside was pretty interesting too and the tour ticket also includes entrance to the treasury – a small museum filled with interesting artifacts from the family that owns the castle.

For more information, this is the website for the castle: http://burg-eltz.de/

Here are a few pictures to enjoy!

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Here’s one of Jason and me, and one of dad and me! So glad he is here to share this with us!

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Right inside the castle gate – dad was getting camera happy!

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The view of Burg Elz as you walk up to it from the road.

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Another view looking up at the castle.

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One view from inside the courtyard looking up at the buildings.

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There is tons of lovely wrought iron in a variety of designs all over the castle, this is just one example.

IMG_5427Looking down at the castle from the road as we were walking down from the parking lot. So beautiful, even on this cloudy and rainy day.