After our rather rad time in Germany, we flopped into the bus for another long drive to our next destination, Amsterdam. After crossing into Netherlands we where soon spotting Dutch stereotypes fitting of a place on a postcard, Canals, Windmills and with the riverbanks sitting right on sea level there is a very fine line where the water seems to just transform into turf without actually rising out of water. Our tour of rural Netherlands was capped off with a stop at a cheese and clogs factory, oh how delightfully Dutch.
We finally pulled into our campsite on the outskirts of Amsterdam and after a in-no-way-at-all-sad last time setting up tents we quickly zipped into the heart of town for a big night out. Amsterdam is a very quaint city, long criss-crossing canals lay out the foundation of the city as the rest squishes into the islands between. The buildings in Amsterdam are a truly curious piece of work, the buildings are thin, about 4 or 5 stories high and they are tightly squeezed against each other to look like a crooked bookshelf. The buildings foundations must be pretty wacky as the buildings don’t seem to stand up straight, they lean out in all directions, like a city of leaning towers of Pisa.
Amsterdam’s nightlife is centralised within it’s famed red light district, narrow, crowded alleyways, neon lights, sex and the distinct smell of not your average cigarette. The first night out was more of a sightseeing tour than your typical big night out. In a normal shop window you might see mannequins dressed in the latest fashions, but here they are bound in chains and leather. The red light district has to be seen to be believed, I unfortunately don’t have many pictures, rumours have it that you can get in mega trouble (from the law? or perhaps organised crime?) taking photos of the working ladies, so just to be safe I kept the camera tucked away.
The next day we decided to get away from the district and see what else Amsterdam had to offer. We kicked the day off with a peaceful bike ride around town, cycling around Amsterdam seems to be popular, apparently they have more bikes than cars and with the lovely flat landscape why wouldn’t you. We also visited the Anne Frank museum which is made out of the house where she and her family actually hid from Nazis during world war 2. A nice pub lunch was finished with a visit to the Museum of Sex which showed off some of the more devious elements of societies past. Shopping for souvenirs in Amsterdam proved a bit tricky as Amsterdamiens have a penchant for selling incredibly tacky things, like seriously who really wants a salt and pepper shaker in the shape of two big penises?