A Day in Tuscany

Siena, San Gimignano and Greve in Chianti Day Trip from Florence with Wine Tasting

Wanting to see Tuscany in one day is very hard. Taking a tour is the way to go. I booked the Tuscany Tour with Viator. They offer the perfect itinerary:  Siena, San Gimignano and Greve in Chianti Day Trip with of course Wine Tasting. Travel with Viator through the picturesque countryside in Tuscany to discover those three places.

We first stopped at the Tuscan gems of San Gimignano. It is a medieval hilltop town. We had 30 minutes to walk around that walled city. Walk through the old narrow passages; the small shops have great souvenirs. You will soon get to the triangular Piazza della Cisterna and Piazza del Duomo where you will found painters working on their art. Go towards the walls and enjoy the view of all the nearby wineries.

We then stopped in Siena for lunchtime. We had some times to grab lunch or just walk around on our way. Then we met up at the main square Piazza del Campo for a walking tour of the city. Piazza del Campo is the home to Siena’s Horse race called Palio. That race organized twice a year, see ten of the seventeen contrada or districts of the city circle the narrow piazza three times or usually 90 seconds after which there is only one jockey left on his horse. The Palio maintains the rivalry that exists between all the contrada and reanimates all the passion people have for their contrada.  We then had a chance to visit the Contrada’s Museum for Contrada of Aquila (Eagle) and learn the history behind that contrada. We then headed to Piazza del Duomo to admire the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta; what a majestic cathedral. We finally walked through the historic center of Siena that has been declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site to get to Basilica Cateriniana San Domenico.

After all, those walking we traveled through the picturesque Chianti countryside, passed by olive groves, green hills, and vineyards to get to  Chianti in Greve for a tasty wine tasting session at a great winery on the hillside. We tasted great white but of course red Chianti wine with some cheese. Make sure to leave with some wine and cheese. It is a great way to remember that day trip once you get back home. It was raining so we didn’t have the chance to walk around or go to the barrel cave.

Finally, you will get to see Greve. It’s a very small town. You can take a break the at the main square Piazza Giacomo Matteotti where you can admire the statue of Giovanni Verrazano and buy amazing salamis at Antica Macelleria Falorni.

Greve Piazza Giacomo Matteotti
Greve Piazza Giacomo Matteotti under the rain

Thank you Viator for nailing another tour.

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Amsterdam Windmills Tour by Viator

The half a day tour including the Zaanse Schans WindmillsMarken Clog Maker and taking the boat to Volendam Cheese Factory. Make sure you are on time because they leave EXACTLY on time.

The bus drive from Amsterdam to the Zaanse Schans Windmills is around one hour. At Zaanse Schans, we visited one of the oil windmills and were able to go on top of the Windmill. After, we had some free time to walk around the windmill field and take a bunch of pictures. Then, we headed to Marken where we saw a Clog Maker making a Clog right in front of us. Such an interesting process; how from a piece of wood one can make a shoe. You will have the opportunity to buy clogs from them. From there we walked through the village to get to the boat and sailed to Volendam. In Volendam, we visited a Cheese Factory, learned about the Cheese tradition and were able to buy Cheese from them. The cheese was amazing. I wish I bought more. Before heading back to Amsterdam, we spent some times in Volendam Village enjoying the village and some beer.

It feels nice to spend some time away for the busy Amsterdam and see the countryside.

Without the tour and unless you have a car, it is impossible to go to those 3 places so it is definitely a worthy tour to take while in Amsterdam. It is only half a day so once finished you still have time to visit a few places in the city. The tour guide was very knowledgeable and you have enough free time to wander around, shop and discover these 3 unique places.

Duration: Half Day

Price: $56

Website: Viator 

Rating:   5-star-rating

 

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Amsterdam

Hello Everybody.

Here are my tips on what to see, where to eat and what tour is worth to take in Amsterdam. I’m including pictures of everything and a map of the city.  All the addresses are hyperlinked and you can easily found all the information.

I booked my Eurotrip kinda last minute, a month before going, and found a great package (flight and hotel) deal on tripmasters.com. That website has the best packages, at an unbeatable price and you can easily customize them. I stayed at the Hotel Nicolaas Witsen in the museum area. That small hotel was in the perfect location close to the museums, the tram, and the market. The service was also excellent.

Things to know:

  • You can walk everywhere or take the tram. The tram works until 1am.
  • Just drink Heineken or Amstel
  • The currency is Euros.
  • You might think I’m including a lot of stuff in a day, but everything is next to each other and going from point A to point B takes no more than 5 minutes.

3 days in Amsterdam:

Day 1:

Start with the museum area. It is also a great area to stay. Very lively and safe at night.

Rijksmuseum is  Holland’s National Museum. The entrance fee is  17.50 euros. The famous Van Gogh Museum is right next to it and the entrance is 17 euros. Get your tickets online to skip the crazy line.

If you are planning to go to the museums, stay an extra day.

Stop by the “I am Amsterdam sign” in the middle of the museums. It is a very crowded attraction. The best time to be able to found a picture with nobody but you on it is early morning. The sign is also in the front of the airport.

Take a break at the café right next to the sign, the Cobra café, perfect place to enjoy the sun and the traditional Beef croquet, fries and Heineken.

From there you can walk to Vondel Park. Rent a bike to enjoy the park and the lake.

At night, go to the Leidseplein lively neighborhood right across Vondel Park. The Square is surrounded by a bunch of cafes including Bulldog Coffeeshop, the most famous smoke café.

Day2:

Go to the Albert Cuyp Market situated by the Heineken Experience. It is the perfect place to get all of your souvenirs. The market is open every day but Sundays. Try the Stroopwafels, the waffle with caramel inside.

Then head to the Heineken Experience tour. Whether you are or not a beer fan, this is a very interesting tour and tasting experience.

Continue with a canal boat cruise. The tour starts right in from of the Heineken ExperienceDuring the cruise, you will pass by Magere Brug – The “Skinny Bridge”, the Jordaan Neighborhood or Muziektheater, the city’s opera and dance venue.

From there, take the tram to the flower market, Bloemenmarkt.  All of those flowers, those colors; you will fall in love with this place. You can walk to the Begijnhof, a former religious cloister for women. The Begijnhof, founded in the 14th century, is now a residence for elderly women

Finish the day by taking the tram to the Anne Frank House. If you didn’t reserve any ticket online,  going there the later is better. The line is less after 6pm and the house is open until 10pm. Don’t forget to check Westerkerk square, a bronze statue of Anne Frank graces the square outside the 17th-century Protestant church where Rembrandt was laid to rest.

At night, head to the Red Light District. Start your walk at condomerie het vvlden vlies. You can then head to the Oude Kirk, the old church. The walk through the Red District is very quick unless you have some business there. Head towards the Dam square to see the square, the Royal Palaceand the New Church.

You have to end the night at the in de Wildeman by the Dam Square. It is one of the must go bar in the world per CNTraveler.

Day3:

In the morning take the windmills tour. The Viator tour is the best one. Take the half a day tour including the Zaanse Schans windmills, you will specifically visit the oil mill, Marken Clog Maker and you will end by taking the boat to Volendam Cheese Factory. Make sure you are on time because they leave EXACTLY on time. If you get there early, go get fries with mayo from Vlaamse Frites, you won’t regret it.

Finish the afternoon by going to the Rembrandt Museum and admire some of the world’s finest art painting. At night stay in the area at Rembrandt Place. That square has all the best restaurants and clubs in town. What a great place to finish the trip.