I left the flower fields to drive to Amsterdam. I’d planned on staying I a town outside and getting the train in – then a friend on facebook suggested another site in the centre. I drove to the town of harleem first – I’m sure it wasn’t helped by the rain but it all looked very grey so I decided to head to the one mariska had suggested.
After driving round Amsterdam in and out of several tunnels I got to the site, which was on an island and felt more backpacker hostel than campsite, to find it was full. No problem, I didn’t really fancy it anyway and they gave me a sheet of other sites and pointed me to one. I noticed that one I’d looked at from home was on it – I called and got an answer machine. I had no idea what the message said but I took a wild guess it was saying the site was full. So I called the one they suggested, they had spaces, so I out the details into the Tom Tom and drove back across Amsterdam.
Well I thought I put the sites details in – unfortunately I put the other one in and I was right they were full! But I didn’t stress (honest!) I put the right details in and headed off. I preferred the third site – it was out of town, 5 mins walk from the metro which was 20 mins into central station. But I did realise a benefit of travelling on your own – if there had been two of you – I expect there may have been words!
The other bonus of touring Amsterdam three times meant by the time I was ready to head in the rain had stopped and the sun had come out – bonus.
So everything was going well – I gave alf a few of his herbal anxiety drops as I expected Amsterdam to be busy and that usually stresses him a bit. Busy did I say? Stepping out of the metro at centraal station was heaving with people & trams. Alf was shouting his head off and to be fair I didn’t blame him. I picked him up as I tried to get through people – he would have gotten stood on otherwise.
Luckily I then saw the canal and boat trips so headed over & jumped on the first open top one – and suddenly we had calm. And a guide telling me lots about the canals & rivers which was interesting for the first 45 mins but a little dull afterwards. Never mind the boat trip was great you quickly got a flavour for Amsterdam and I got my bearings.
I also got to see the amazing houseboats, a beautiful leaving brownstones, small canals with their funky little bridges and lots of coffee shops too.
It was a bit quieter when we got off – alf still wasn’t impressed though. I got us down to the canal side, had a wonder, a few beers, looked at the red light district very briefly – then found a lovely Spanish restaurant for dinner. I have to say it was the best place for people watching – ever. One guy opposite, definitely worse for wear, was sat on a bench where a statue was also sat – gradually as he got more comfortable he ended up in the statues arms and seemed to be enjoying it!
If like to go back to Amsterdam another time with a few friends – but I decided on this trip and afternoon and early evening was enough. Alf didn’t choose to come travelling the least I can do is to know when not to push him too much outside of his comfort zone. (I am still hoping to get him in the bike & trailer combo – but we will see how many times I manage it)!!
I headed out of Amsterdam – to Zaanse schaans – which of course meant driving back through Amsterdam. I may not have spent long there but I drove, round and through it enough! All was going well until I took a wrong turn that sent me back through the tunnel again – hey ho I thought it’s not a bother I’ve done it enough times now. Oh no my Tom Tom was obviously bored of the tunnel and next minute was being told to get on a ferry. That through me bit at least it made a change.
The Zaanse schaans is a bit like a model village but with windmills. I though alf and could only walk around the outside but I delighted when they said it was ok for him to go in. That is until after I paid the money and saw that the stairs were more like ladders – not great for me full stop but a definite no go for Alf and I together – that would just be asking for a calamity!!
The little dykes along the side of the windmill were full of noisy frogs, cute duckling and a beautiful heron – who didn’t care that he was being photographed by lots of people.
After lunch we hit the road and headed for Dan Helder – which took us right to the northern tip of the Netherlands (I think – dad I’m sure you’ll correct me if I’m wrong!!). A beautiful drive on long straight roads and back into the flower fields. It looks like I’ve missed the flower fields at their height – but I love seeing the big flashes of colour.
Were staying here a few days – I’ve got a bit of a cold and the weather has been wet and grey so today has been cleaning, sewing & washing and tomorrow is exploring before making our way into Germany.
Apologies for typos etc – I can’t find the spell check on my phone.
I’ve now figured to make it easy to post photos I need to take some blog specific ones with my phone.
I’ll get the hang of it all soon – I will also get Alf’s first post up – I’ve written different bits but need to sort it out.