Viking Odin Visits Volendam, Edam & Marken: Spring In North Holland, Amstel, Cheese & Herring

In Edam, we were invited to sample three types of the city's eponymous cheese.

One of the great things about cruising with Viking River Cruises (and many of the other river cruise companies) is that tours are included in the cruise fare. Step off the vessel and into town for a walking tour or board motorcoaches for visits to nearby villages.

Today, after lunch on Viking Odin, we strolled the lovely waterfront of Volendam, then boarded motor coaches to visit Edam, famous for its cheese. Following a guided tour of the quaint city center, we were offered samples of the three types of the cheese that carries the city’s name.

Another Dutch delight: Stroopwafel, delicious — and addictive.

Lovely canals in Edam.

The willows have awakened to spring in Edam.

Cycling the lowlands in Edam.

Next, we made our way to Marken, a former fishing village that oozes charm. The village is known for its wooden houses, certainly a picturesque place, once an island but now situated on a peninsula connected to the mainland by a causeway.

Flowers in Marken, a former fishing village known for its wooden houses.

Dutch lady in Marken wearing the village's traditional costume.

Big shoes to fill.

Leaving Marken.

We boarded a boat  to return to Volendam, leaving Marken in our wake. On board, we were offered coffee, soft drinks, water, wine or beer, again compliments of Viking River Cruises. I went for the Amstel, tastier here than the export we get back in the United States.

Amstel, better in the Netherlands than at home.

When we stepped off the boat in Volendam, we were invited to a taste of herring, a favorite in North Holland.

The Herring ladies in their lovely local costumes.

Have some herring, best accompanied by pickles and onions.

Tomorrow, we will see real windmills in Kinderdijk. The village's 19 windmills comprise a UNESCO World Heritage Site and make for one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Netherlands.

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