Upside down on the other side

Trip Start Aug 23, 1996
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of Netherlands  ,
Saturday, August 24, 1996

Landing in Amsterdam, this was a whole new world for us. We were on the other side, the opposite and we needed to find where our bikes were so we could build them and hit the road. The information desk, advised us that we needed to find a customs agent to pull them through customs. They pointed us in the right direction and we jumped on an employee's bus and were dropped off at the door, we presented our papers to the receptionist and she asked us to take a seat. An agent came out to see us but explained it would take a few hours as they were at lunch. I was amazed at their proficiency in English and I asked why, and they explained that they had the chance to learn either French or English and nobody learns French!!!! Eventually, our boxes arrived and quite quickly, our bikes were built, we were changed and we hit the road. Within the first half-hour, a man started to ride with us and he straight away spoke to us in English. I asked him how he knew that we would speak English and he explained that as we were, a) wearing helmets and b), had clip-on shoes, we were definitely not Dutch and we would get our bikes stolen!!!!! Obviously we were slightly alarmed, but we kept moving from the airport as we had to get into the centre of the city. As we had been given a phone number for a person who lived on the outskirts of Amsterdam, we thought it would be best if we were to give him a ring as he might be able to give us some advice. Whilst Lucy was on the phone, a lady in a business suit riding a bicycle complete with heels, stated that our bikes would get stolen. We were a bit more worried!!!!! We were now a lot more closer and as we rounded a corner, there was the Dam Square, and a policeman was giving a talking to a boy on a scooter. As I felt the need to improve Australian/Dutch race relations, I asked him for help. The scooter rider realising the policeman was not looking as he turned to listen to my question, he took off down the road. Apologising profusely, he stated that it was ok as the boy would most probably end up killing himself. He then told us that our bikes would get stolen!!!! Aaaahhhh, we were now extremely worried. We made our way to Centraal Station, went through to the other side and rode to the campground. Having done a fair bit of camping in Australia, I was not ready for what I had just seen. Wall to wall with tents, and to make matters worse, Lucy had tonsillitis and we were both suffering from jetlag. We rolled out the tent, and the heavens opened up, great. We erected the tent as fast as possible, sponged up the water and rolled out the mats and sleeping bags and Lucy fell straight to sleep. I on the other hand, made a phone call to the Dutchman, Chris, and he arranged to pick us up the following morning
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Kathryn Leunissen on

Did you find out why everyone thought your bikes would be stolen...were they really expensive or something?

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