Amsterdam

Trip Start Nov 01, 2006
1
62
168
Trip End Oct 15, 2008


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Flag of Netherlands  , Noord-Holland,
Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Holland, or the Netherlands as it is also known is a strange but fun country.  You can't really call it a land at all, there is water everywhere, the houses are built on little pockets of land surrounded by water, they have even had to build massive bridges and 'Dyke's' to stop the sea from claiming more of it.  Also, I am not sure if we are unlucky or not, but it has rained every day we have been here, not constantly, but everyday with out fail it will pore down for around half an hr every few hrs or so.

The water does make it very pretty though.  Through every city and town there are canals, and rivers, and if a house is not facing or backing onto one, there will be one around the corner.  Our visit to Holland started with driving though an area called Zealand or sea land, as this part is basically little islands connected by Dyke's.  They have had a lot of problems with flooding in this region, and have had to build these huge bridges and flood gates to prevent it happening again.  It was nice, but not really worth stopping in, maybe if it was summer.

We were going to have a look around Rotterdam, but it just looked like it was going to be a big modern city, and well, we have seen those.  So we stopped in at Delft, where they make a special type of porcelain, called well Delft wear.  Nice little town worth a wander if you are in the area.  Then the tulips had to be seen, it is amazing driving along a boring road with drab scenery, to then notice a huge field covered with the most amazing bright colours.  Great and very exciting.  Of course our next stop was Amsterdam.

This city, is crazy, maybe it was just the few days we were here that made it this way, but i have a feeling this town likes to party.  Our first day we wandered around the many streets and followed the canals.  We checked out Ann Franks house, a very moving and interesting museum, a must do.  We were starting to notice a lot of orange balloons and decorations being put up around the city, stages being set up on all the corners and beer kegs getting ready to be tapped.  Now something was happening but at this stage we had no idea.

We then had to check out a coffee house, well when in Rome.  For those of you who may not know, coffee houses in Holland don't just sell coffee, for that you should go to a cafe.  In these establishments they sell Marijuana, and magic mushrooms.  Since Dave and i have rarely smoked we asked the very wise bar tender for a very light joint.  After getting through half of it, we sat for around an hour in the shop and did, well, nothing.  We got very stoned, welcome to Amsterdam.

After a nice brisk walk we got some dinner (Thai) and finally had figured out that it was going to be Queens day tomorrow.  The stages had started to get a gathering, so we hung around in one of the many squares and listned to a few very interesting bands, from country/blues to ska and hip hop.  Not a bad way to spend the afternoon.

Once it was dark enough we headed into the red light district, which i am sure you all know about.  We turned a corner, not expecting to see anything yet and low and behold there was a short plump lady with a huge chest sitting in a glass door way wearing a bikini (if you can call it that!).  After our initial shock, we wandered around and took in the sites, some better then others.  It is a very strange place, not completely dirty, and i didn't feel unsafe at all, there were even children walking along the streets with their parents

Now for another when in Rome.  We went and saw a sex show.  Before you gasp and say what has happened to our children (Parents and grand parents) it is more like a live theater show then anything kinky.  We had been told it was something you had to see, so we went and saw.  You payed (i got a free penis shaped lolly pop) and wandered into a small cinema with a few different people of different shapes and sizes.  A curtain opened up and there on the middle of the stage were two people scantily clad, well i don't need to go into details of what happened.  This lasted a few minutes and then a single lady did her thing etc.  Very strange, not something i thought i would ever do, but there you go.

The next Day was Queens day.  Lots of people were staying at the camp site and everyone was getting dressed into bright orange (national colour) and heading into town.  We followed suit, expecting a party to be going on, but oh my god!  There were thousands, no hundreds of thousands of people everywhere, mostly dressed in orange.  It reminded me a of a bigger and better Australia day party.  We wandered dumb struck for a while and took in the sights and sounds.

On the canals were hundreds of boats filled to capacity with people and sound systems.  Each boat would go past playing there music full blear, dancing and looking like the boat would capsize.  I am telling you, if you want to go away for a few days of partying, come to Amsterdam for the queens day celebrations 30th of April, you wont be disappointed!

Well our money Is running low for the week so we are taking it easy, after seeing a bunch of windmills in Zaan Schanse and a clog making factory, we have settled in the small town of Ermelo near a very good wind surfing place 'best in Europe' so the very chatty camp site owner tells us.  We don't mind, it is 10 euros for a night, electricity, water, showers and unlimited Internet!

We think we will stay in Holland for another night and then head into Germany for a little while.  Thanks for all the emails, nice to hear what you are all up too.
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