Dear TA friends,
Thanks for answering all my pre-trip questions patiently! We had a wonderful trip during the Easter weekend in spite of cold and windy conditions and one of my children running a temp of 103 degrees!
We had a very reduced / skimmed itinerary because of the sickness and the weather. Nevertheless we enjoyed ourselves.
We stayed at Crowne Plaza Schiphol. On the first day, after walking the half a mile to Hoofddorp station, we realized that there were no manned counters. We did not have enough coins or a Dutch credit card. Based on the cafe guy's recommendations, we requested a NS official for a free ride to Schiphol and got the tickets for two days. On reaching Amsterdam, we took a canal cruise for an hour. It was so gentle and soothing that we were trying very hard to stay awake! We did get a good overview of Amsterdam, though! Once we got out of the climate controlled cruise boat, we were unable to stay out in the open and went back to Amsterdam centraal and took a train back to our hotel.
On Day 2 we started late and rented a car at the airport just after lunch. Then drove over to Madurodam. It's an interesting attraction. It appealed to my children more than me. I felt the entrance tickets were a little too expensive for the size of the park. I guess a lot goes into the maintenance of the park. We then drove over to Scheveningen beach. We stayed in the car. We then drove back to the airport.
On day 3 we took a tour to Keukenhof from the airport. This was the most memorable of our 3 day stay. It was bright, sunny and mild! Keukenhof was not very crowded. The flowers were starting to blossom and we had a great time with the tulips in the Willem Alexander Pavillion. The children had a good time in the little play structure. The highlight for the children was the farm! The sick one couldn't get enough of running behind the white rooster!
Both souvenirs and food were cheaper at Madurodam than at Keukenhof. The same souvenirs had a price difference of at 1 Euro!
We found an offer on Keukenhof's website for a Keukenhof tour + a free canal cruise by Great Amsterdam. The cost difference between the Arriva bus+entrance ticket and this tour was very negligible. The cruise was run by Lovers and was ok. For the Keukenhof tour, we had to specify the time we wanted to depart while booking. They run 8-seater shuttles to Keukenhof (though they claim a "coach" in their website). They do not have return time specified when you book, so it's first come first served. You have to wait for 30 mins if the shuttle is full. They also had a free bag storage in the airport counter and we used it on the last day when we visited Keukenhof.
Sadly, we were confined to the food at the airport and the attractions during our trip. Per Tutti was pretty reasonable. I did not find much differences in prices between AH to go and Food Village. FV had lots more options than AH. Again, the prices between AHTG at airport and the one in centraal weren't different.
Schiphol has a nice shopping area. We also found the I Amsterdam letters for some pictures right at the airport! The security check wasn't right until we board the plane so I was wondering how duty free purchases of liquids are treated?
We are already planning for our next trip. Hope to go back when the weather's better! Thanks for all the help you have given me on TA!Edited: 12:03 pm, April 11, 2013