Windmills. Park. Mosque.

There was no direct train from Strasbourg to Amsterdam so we had to take a train back to Frankfurt, where our luggages are safely stored at the train station.

Thankful there are Muslim communities in Europe, so we can do our prayers conveniently. We dropped by Taqwa Mosque, which is just a 20-minute walk from Frankfurt central train station. It’s geometric tiles are definitely inspired from Morocco and Spain.

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I was excited to be in Amsterdam. It got into my wishlist pretty recently actually, late last year, loking at the pretty photos my friends uploaded. I’ve been watching flight prices to Amsterdam, hoping for just a short visit.

We arrived in a freezing cold Amsterdam near midnight. Took the tram to Bicycle Hotel our home for 3 nights. The owner emailed instructions to Nurul to get our room key. We couldn’t find it somehow but the owner who we assumed lived across the street, came to our rescue. The hotel had high steep steps, no elevator! Nurul and I giggled thinking what the owner would have thought of us asking for high floor. Nurul did that for our previous hotels. Thank God, we were on the 2nd floor.

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Within a short time, I had to get used to 3 different languages – German, French, Arabic, Dutch! 

The next day, we had to find the iconic IAMSTERDAM near the museum. It was the peak season in Europe – one can tell from the crowd, the long queue at the museums and the expensive hotel rates.

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I enjoyed the leisure walk in the lovely weather to Vondelpark

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and the Bloemenmarkt (flower market). Wish I could bring some tulips home!

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Caught in action. Still struggling with my XT1.

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I’ve been hearing raving reviews on the halal ribs served at Crystal. So we just had to…and it’s definitely worth it! For a person who rarely orders ribs, this is heavenly. Huge restaurant with clean toilets.

crystal

The following day was windmill watching and fresh air at Zaanse Schans! Perfect view with a cup of latte macchiato.

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We were in awe of the bridge lifting itself to allow passage for yachts. Come on, we don’t have such things in Singapore!

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One of my favourite spots.

windmills

Another place that my friend recommended us to visit: Fatih Moskee

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It was a catholic church. Hence the unique interior. It is how it looks like in the picture. Serenity. Peace at heart. I can’t remember exactly what I asked for, but I remembered saying too many prayers till I said “nothing is too much for you, Ya Rabb.”

mosque

I love this Turkish bakery we found next to the mosque. We were still full but had to just grabbed a chocolate pastry and a gigantic bread for breakfast.

turkishbakery

We continued venturing in the central area, but it was too crowded and tickets museums like Madame Tussauds were too expensive. So we moved away from the central area and had lunch at an Indonesian restaurant. Barely a week, and we miss our spicy cuisine!

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The grey skies:

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On our last day, we had an early morning walk to the nearby Albert Cuypstraat which was just 10 minutes away from our hotel.

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I would come back for the windmills, tulips, people and food. They are one of the friendliest and genuinely helpful people I’ve met.  They would greet you and take time to have a conversation with you.

When we just left our hotel, a man greeted us with a chirpy Good Morning like how an old friend would. When we were indulging in the spicy chicken wings (of course, it’s halal!) in the market, a guy told us we should eat with the hot sauce and went on talking to us.

The airport staff were helpful and friendly too. The Schipol Airport has such a well maintained meditation room:

schipol

I was looking forward to see my loved ones and a spa session in Batam on Saturday. However, flight was delayed for 3+ hours at Doha. We arrived at almost 7pm instead of the scheduled 3.15pm.

This trip was a backup plan, but He knows best and we were exactly where we were supposed to be. Both of us didn’t feel rushed or overdid anything, except when we walked too much but that was compensated with a good meal. It was a great opportunity for Nurul and I to bond and realise how much similarities we have.

This must be ironically, the easiest trip I had. Being the well-travelled person, Nurul did most of the booking and I sure felt handicapped not doing my usual Excel and Powerpoint for a trip. Hahaha. It was an adventure diving into the world of unknown.

Guess God is telling me, “you just have to let go and let it flow!” I’m such a control and planner freak. I realise I need to have some breathing space…this was surprisingly good for this old heart. LOL. 

I love that we went mosques hopping in the 3 different cities. Something that I’ve wanted to do ever since I caught the travel bug. That is the major highlight. 

Alhamdulillah, everything was within budget and fell into place. The last minute air ticket was a steal at $973.80 via Qatar (SG-FRA, AMS-SG). I have my Euros stash, so I didn’t need to rush to the money changer. I’ve always wanted to go for a short trip to Amsterdam. I’ve been saying that since late last year and He granted it.

I didn’t suffer a terrible jetlag like my previous trip, cos the next morning, I had to go for a company retreat in Batam!

I can do this again. A week trip to a distant somewhere, sometime. 

Uzbek, we are still praying for an opportunity to be there.

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