Cycling the Waterland Route in Amsterdam on 15Apr2014

10258741_10152325888369494_4156203154586375186_o1655889_10152325233729494_5360425656472152217_n 10258535_10152325233784494_3835817076432618022_n 1512043_10152325233979494_1061428498164231890_o 10178117_10152325234054494_7160750193175515728_n

wife was keen with cycling in amsterdam so she did a bit of research.

the waterland cycling route looked quite exciting, covering about 51km return starting out from amsterdam, going along the dike by  kinselmeer to marken & back by holysloot & ransdorp. and we were even thinking of taking the ferry to volendam….there is a very good guide in holland-cycling (marken cycle route) here.

regrettably in the end we did not manage that.  the temperature was sub 10 degC & with windchill factor was colder than what we had planned for, and 1 of us repacked the bags & forgot & left out the gloves. we were quite ok though with the cold after cycling for a while, but the wind was too strong on the dike route (uitdammerdijk along kinselmeer) & it was substantial effort & slow progress & not really so fun for the 3 of us who were infrequent cyclist (like few times a year!). i knew i would get to enjoy this more in due course now that i finally got down to buying a dahon mu n360 foldable bike just before this trip. :-).

the cycling started quite well. we got our bikes from macbikes which was located on the eastern end of amsterdam central station, & the guy walked us through the double locks – one to lock the wheels, the other to chain the bicycle to a immovable object. 🙂 shortly we were on the bikes cycling to the ferry point to take the free ferry (for vehicles, bikes & passengers) to cross over to ij.

10255525_10152325888469494_3056654692643200981_o 1524294_10152325888729494_378557192521103466_o1504444_10152325888744494_5374853007806246593_o 10014933_10152325889154494_8942803435665492481_o 856875_10152325889119494_4911288362193438562_o10259064_10152325233889494_1822231780598321753_o10255271_10152325234234494_3218306323812800363_o  10269635_10152326413264494_2688185981090825765_n

amsterdam is very flat country and quite easy to cycle. there were mostly dedicated cycle paths so very safe. we were confused with the signs on several stretch of roads. they showed a mo-ped & a bike with a diagonal bar cutting across them. a no-bike sign?? some dutch guy stopped to give us some help. he explained that paths w/o the sign was for bikes only, and the sign only meant that the road was used by bikes & other vehicles (& not for bikes only). 🙂

he commented it was a cold day & though unspoken obviously kind of thought we were rather ambitious when we mentioned that we were planning to go to marken & volendam! …so he knew better. haha. 🙂

10258919_10152325889394494_1066072127968517101_o 1504372_10152325889479494_2926390386678246269_o 10256465_10152325889724494_8144027831827917003_o10246307_10152326413354494_8439424737773206314_n 1609791_10152326413614494_8253100516533313662_n 10170681_10152326413744494_9198789915982043738_n 10171162_10152326413849494_2776427282439128583_n10256846_10152325889784494_3274983989031019137_o

the initial cold was manageable. but as we passed durgerdam & rode on to the dike on uitdammerdijk alongside kinselmeer, the wind was just too strong and the progress was so slow & of course it was very cold & over a very long stretch. it was very tiring and taking the fun out of a casual ride & enjoying the meadows & countryside. we decided to turn back on reaching 79 (see the holland-cycling marken cycle route map), and rode in the direction of holysloot to 78, and then towards 44, ransdorp.



without the wind impeding our progress, the ride was very pleasant & enjoyable past meadows & farms & windmills. 🙂

10157135_10152325233469494_9167037948435064594_n 10014627_10152325233554494_5307581704197883143_n

initially we thought of stopping at ij-kanteen for lunch (ij-kanteen is supposed to be a casual, modern, cheerful brasserie on a spacious ground previously a canteen for the shipyard…sounded hip & cool but not strictly a must for us..). but once we got back to the area, we wanted to have a quick bite so we stopped at a nice cosy cafe rather than to go looking for directions to ij-kanteen. guess we were just hungry. it was still cold outside so we chained our bikes to the railings and sat inside the cafe. we must be hungry as the burger tasted really good & the carrot coconut soup was super tasty. this soup was even better than the carrot soup at zazas & the movies restaurant (we must be real, really hungry! haha..), and perhaps not better but a different touch (more robust) c/w beulings. (i plan to do this at home after sourcing some internet recipes). 🙂


10258795_10152325890329494_6597156476707263734_o 1403473_10152325890674494_1550750086082531898_o 10012075_10152325890704494_1104740071822881318_o

we were back to ij jetty to catch the ferry to cross back to amsterdam central. we decided to take a quick look at the Eye. a huge cruise ship passed by. it was quite a sight 10 storeys high.

we took the ferry & returned the bikes to macbike. i estimated we cycled 25km or more & we took just over 3 hrs in total so we had to pay the 24hr hire rates. with 10% discount from holland pass, macbikes 24hr rental include insurance for 3pax was 48euros. hmmm.. very expensive!

c.h.e.f andy


The Dazzling Keukenhof Gardens on 14Apr2014


2 things wife wanted to do was to cycle in amsterdam & see the tulips at keukenhof gardens, hence the “detour” from the initial vacation plan of lake como & cinque terre. 🙂

we had the holland pass so we used the gold pass for entry to keukenhof gardens (cost 15euros). we used a silver pass for the bus return from schipol airport to keukenhof (cost 9euros). for the journey from amsterdam central to schipol we had to pay 4euros as it was not covered by the holland pass. if you do not have holland pass, you can get a combi ticket here including return from amsterdam central & entry to keukenhof for 28euros.

keukenhof is located in lisse and used to be the part of the the estate of teylingen castle.  games were hunted & food collected for the kitchens of the castle, hence keukenhof or kitchen courtyard in dutch. in 1857 the same architect who designed vondelpark, redesigned the castle gardens in english landscape style, the basis for keukenhof today. there is wifi throughout the gardens & you can download the map here.

1491404_10152324154584494_1619558432335781847_o10001141_10152324154609494_6870061805670920859_o 10003841_10152324154699494_8980318293973010180_o

10003936_10152324208294494_844549599903163559_n 10010156_10152324154879494_2861123729725982064_o 10258868_10152324154884494_6720150756093696445_o

tulips galore! 🙂

10001060_10152324155119494_6349223419015359546_o 739980_10152324155124494_136405312973249447_o 10271389_10152324155224494_842057631764006474_o 1614236_10152324155484494_7706630115468208641_o 10012075_10152324155469494_711312121734909555_o 1116126_10152324156019494_2387449843793534145_o 1502891_10152324156069494_2888144509955405673_o1973952_10152324156379494_3657093105507262807_o10011808_10152324156484494_1527914064701039584_o 10257431_10152324156629494_474461201624268161_o 1398123_10152324157074494_9053284647028024686_o 1973400_10152324157174494_712403490240528705_o 1956877_10152324157324494_4390928423311559882_o 10013482_10152324157469494_4812909756787090674_o

flowers were mostly in full bloom and it was a wonderful stroll through the garden. very pleasant indeed. 🙂

1979962_10152324157449494_1470062341815761313_o 1796905_10152324158314494_3956684801797591382_o 1980081_10152324208059494_6344168547851811484_o 1973781_10152324208129494_4626466393959763582_o

floral art. 🙂

10264070_10152324157564494_9007116004039798518_o 1277752_10152324157789494_6230438069410845159_o 1801140_10152324157774494_7266530276112006582_o 10258680_10152324158289494_4960030152666608316_o

sakuras. quite pretty these, but of course nothing could compare with seeing sakuras in kyoto or tokyo. 🙂

1116160_10152324158774494_1336341812136941219_o 10264231_10152324159229494_721334408663903420_o 10264170_10152324159194494_1508266347786034865_o

10265440_10152324160299494_8054472473679887779_o 1980081_10152324208059494_6344168547851811484_o 1979290_10152324161264494_4694955522168463893_o 10269303_10152324161324494_8483296566816762400_o

there was an animal pen.

10256670_10152324161424494_7264271184260834671_o 10269047_10152324161569494_21218678877618617_o 10256614_10152324161614494_2750283464990532671_o 920018_10152324161654494_5984812188920496513_o 10269201_10152324162229494_4879311589163227092_o 1966174_10152324162339494_668193052270916864_o 736144_10152324162239494_491995898939640256_o 10014129_10152324162824494_8489715076114964709_o 1974102_10152324162819494_3135737160635632888_o 1597049_10152324162829494_8552048483693300192_o

fun time for the children, and adults too!

10001157_10152324163029494_1894278971887202253_o 1493354_10152324163054494_2388286247868304531_o 10003823_10152324163049494_191249325642484268_o

such beauty! 🙂

1962143_10152324163339494_7719732654879106286_o 1556445_10152324163379494_9173515927126708875_o 1836634_10152324163374494_5763490590371558691_o 10010670_10152324163824494_1109040333191114391_o

keukenhof was really beautiful. a very enjoyable day. we visited villa carlotta later when we visited tremezzo in lake como, and that was extremely beautiful too, and villa carlotta gardens was in a landscaped natural terrain setting, not garden plots, so it had added attraction. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Very Shiok! Bakchormee @ Ming Fa Upper Thomson on 4May2014


ming fa bakchormee

went with wife & daughter to ming fa at upper thomson for bakchormee this afternoon on 4.5.2014. must say it as immensely fulfilling. haha. 🙂 such simple food & great satisfaction! guess i was also missing the jalan tea kong meepok tar at 6th avenue. having withdrawals. haha. 🙂



ming fa bakchormee

the place was very well patronised at 3pm on a sunday afternoon. we could hardly find a table for 3.

the bakchormee was really good, the overall flavours & chilli, the qq noodles, minced pork, pork ball & sliced pork & liver. as good as the tai wah i remember (not been to tai wah for the longest time).

noodles was S$4 and ming fa now has expanded from a traditional stall in chinatown to 7 outlets with a manufacturing arm selling laksa and curry chicken etc. 🙂 saw on their website that there is an outlet at hollandv hawker centre etc. somehow did not notice. only tried the fei zai bakchormee stall, which was not too bad. will look out next time i am there. 🙂

very shook indeed!

c.h.e.f andy