Clogs, Canals and Red Lights

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September 24th 2007
Published: April 7th 2008
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Day 4 Monday 24 September 2007

Clogs, Canals and Red Lights.

Wake up : 6:15am Bags and Breaky : 7am Leave 7:45am

We had a lovely breakfast today. The best croissants with Nutella. There were doughnuts and waffles. The coffee was way too strong for me. We drove for about 2 hours and stopped at the Autogrill for ½ an hour. Clean toilets for €0.30 Rob had a nice smoothie. Back on the road. We crossed the Dutch frontier and began to see canals. Gary pointed out the houseboats and how they were higher than us. At one point, we drove under the water. Very cool. We stopped for photos at a windmill. It was FREEZING. The wind was strong and it was very overcast and starting to drizzle. We were all happy to snap our pics quickly and get back onto our bus.
We then drove onto Volendam, a small touristy fishing village. We had from 12pm to 1:15pm to get lunch and explore. It was impossible to find toilets and I was busting in the cold. The wind was blowing a gale by now and it was 15◦. We used the smiley (tour talk for toilet. You smile when you find one)I had a nice tomato soup that had little meatballs. Rob had a seafood soup. While we were there, it began raining. We left for Amsterdam shortly afterwards in the rain.

We stopped at a small Cheese and Clog factory for the touristy spiel. It turned out to be lots of fun. Willam was very funny and kept us laughing. The regular cheese guy was not there, so Willam gave us an overview. Then he took us to the clog room and made a clog from a lump of wood in just a few minutes. He stopped often to tell us more stories. His own clogs where black with red and yellow flames on them. He was very entertaining and chose me to take the clog home at the end. We spent some time in the gift shop. Their selection was good and there was lots of cheese to sample.
I bought some odds and ends for the girls here.
I was disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to fit Ann Frank’s house into our itinerary. Instead I ended up at the silly diamond factory. It was a very boring stop. Not really interesting at all. We did get to hold some million dollar gems and there were all the free drinks you could stomach afterwards.

Our room in Amsterdam was tiny but modern. The bathroom had a full glass wall. Eek. It STUNK of smoke. I went for a quick walk through Amsterdam to get stamps. Whacky smoke was everywhere. I walked briefly through the flower markets. Glorious bulbs were everywhere. Lots and lots of young people filled the streets. Not real fussed on the feel of the town, but I was only in it for such a short time.

Time for our first optional excursion.
Canal cruise, dinner and red Light District.

The cruise was okay. It was a little repetitive after awhile, but it was good to see Amsterdam from this perspective. The houses were interesting. One in particular was so narrow and tiny. You could see the hooks and cables at the top of each one. This is how they get their furniture to the top.

Dinner was in a nice little Dutch restaurant. Starters. Rob -eel and fish Lee Capaccio (RAW beef.. yuk!)
Meal Rob: Salmon Lee: Hotchpotch of braised steak, pork sausage, pickled onion and a vege mash.
Dessert - pancake with icecream and orange sauce.
2drinks (although we had more) and coffee.

Quite nice and the company was fun.

Then we walked for awhile till we got to the red light district. A little warning that we were about to enter the main street would have been nice. It was extremely confronting. I didn’t expect to be that close to the girls and their red lit windows. The alleys were narrow and filled with oogling young (and old) men. The girls were fresh faced and beautiful.. wearing the skimpiest of G strings. Their rooms were only tiny and the beds and their toys were obvious. Girls were dancing, gyrating rubbing themselves on the windows and flirting with the men. I was surprised how young and attractive they all were. Many were shaking their heads at one particular drunken man.. until one finally took him in and shut her curtains. *gag*
I felt quite shaken, especially by the men coming out of the rooms, smoking and high fiving their mates. A service starts at about €50.

We walked past a lot of sex shops and pubs. I was BUSTING more than ever and could not find a toilet. In the end I had to run and leave the group, ran into a pub and grabbed a toilet key. Didn’t even have a chance to tell anyone where I was going. Do or die. Luckily they waited although there were lots of jokes about where I’d been.
We had to wait awhile for our tram. Gary spent some time telling us a few jokes and calming us women folk down. He told us that there were also alleys for different tastes. Black alley, dwarf alley, fat alley etc.
That didn’t help calm us down. Although the guys were grateful he hadn’t shown us. 


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