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What is the easiest way to get there? Are the tours or excursions
as they call them, worth the time and money, or could we go by
bus on our own. Thanks!

Volendam is a quaint little harbor village, but a tourist trap to the max. Went there with a few relatives a few years ago in April. On that particular day (weekend was it?)it was a bloody mob scene of boorish tourists from all points on the globe, and buses jammed the parking lots and narrow streets by the water. We inhaled quite a bit of diesel exhaust while sipping our bier at a cafe table. Niet gezellig. If the mass of tourists didn't drive you nuts, the annoying Dutch guys on the piss certainly did. But thats a whole other story. Its a pretty place, but apparently geared for the almighty tourism dollar. Probably sucks to be a local unless you make your living off the trade. If you seek kitchy mementos, you'll find them in the shops. Maybe its nice on quiet, slower days. Assuming there are any.I'd seek out a quiet village somewhere with a nice pub or two. Somewhere you can chill with locals up for a chat.
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