Friday, September 23, 2016

A Visit to Volendam

Volendam is a town North of Amsterdam that borders with water, making it a harbor for a number of ships and boats; concurrent to the fact that Volendam is a fishing harbor with its residents living in charming houses along the road. The town itself is not large, but the area is super pretty and welcoming as it keeps many Dutch traditional characteristics alive. Walking along the streets were a very nice experience with a beautiful sight in every corner. The town is filled with restaurant and little shops, many of which are souvenir shops as the town's charm is very inviting to tourists -- including me. The town is accessible by bus but I was dropped off by a car to the town, but the access of vehicle is limited to the shopping lane as it is designated for bikes and pedestrians.

This is one of the most famous attractions in Volendam where you get the chance to take pictures in Dutch traditional costumes as a memorabilia, complete with the clogs and everything. We took our pictures at Fotograaf Zwarthoed, with EUR 15 per photograph per person (plus an additional EUR 5 for every additional person) they will rent you a set of traditional Dutch costume for the whole photoshoot session and you will get a set of your pictures printed within 30 minutes. There are many Indonesian figures who took their pictures at the spot we shot the photo in that it turn into a 'spot the person' game. 

There's one big cheese shop in Volendam named Cheese Factory Volendam which has all museum, factory, and shop in one spot. You can have a tour of the factory or have a cheese tasting session - you can even try out bits of cheeses from the testers of the varying Dutch processed dairy product. We bought a lot of cheeses as souvenirs and some of my favorite are the truffle cheese, smoked cheese, and the pesto cheese dip. The museum itself is just one room, but it is still a good sight. For more depth to the factory, go downstairs from the entrance of the shop to the workshop to see how cheese is developed and have some taste of the cheeses they offer.

Also, this is my first time eating a typical Dutch herring! Typically the herring is served raw after seasoned and put in a brine and served with raw onion and pickle. The fish actually tasted pretty similar to a sashimi -- down to the saltiness when dipped with shoyu -- but then it has a pretty slimy skin which made the texture a bit weird but once you are through to the sliminess of the fish it, you'll get the Maguro/Tuna sashimi-like flavor and texture. This raw dish I had is served after being sliced but some people eat the fish as a whole or on a piece of bread. The price for this is EUR 2.5 per piece of fish.

Or you can have the herring served fried. Many of this seafood variety are available on mobile carts on the street. Some of my recent favorite combos is fried mussel, shrimp, and squid that is priced at EUR 5 per 300 grams.

Although the stop is short, I really enjoyed coming to Volendam and the experiences as well as sights it offers were really worth the travel. The visit which I thought solely for the purpose of taking a touristy picture actually was a pleasant surprise. My friends also fell in love with this town, we considered about coming back here again someday. Maybe, one day.