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September 4th 2010
Published: September 4th 2010
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Saturday September 4, 2010
(by Craig)

Amazing Amsterdam !
We have just spent the past few days staying with Steve McDonald in Amsterdam (The Netherlands, or Holland). We have had an excellent time - thanks so much to Steve for his hospitality and for showing us around. It has been over 20 years since I was last in Amsterdam and my memory of the city was very stetchy. We had a mild sunny weekend and got out and about on a great wallking tour of the city, interspersed by stops at some fine pubs (many that you had also been to , Kevin). We ate savoury pancakes and also smoked herring in rolls from the streets, and gauked at all the funky people, especially in Jordaan and NeuiMarkt areas.

As a cyclist, I really appreciated how bike mad this city it - almost to a fault. A sea of bikes and cyclists everywhere - careful or you'll be run over by one. We wandered through the canal-riddled city , through the red light district - complete with girls in the windows - , past busy pubs and the buzzing marijuana cafes. Steve pointed out the differences bewteen white and brown cafes, and the various aspects of the city and its history - all the houses are long thin buildings with hooks on the roof to winch furniture up through windows, as things like pianos are too to go in and up the stairs. We went to a superb Turkish restaurant on Friday night and then a great Indian eatery on Saturday night with Steve and his housemate, Kevin.

Amsterdam heaves with a buzz of activty akin to Paris and London at night, which we loved. I particularly love the quirkiness of the city. Like the hairdressing saloon with old bee hive style hair driers out the front, called "Cut the Crap",
and the instant hair gel dispensers in the loos. Steve said there is a Dutch obsession with toilets, and we visited some funky ones, thanks to the numerous pubs we visited. Many urinals have little insects in the bottom of them, which I assumed were real, but Steve said they were etched on, to get guys to focus on the job at hand.

Well, we leave the continent tomorrow (Monday), flying to Gatwick in London, where we pick up a hire car to drive around England. We have had an excellent time here, beautifully finished in Amsterdam. The weather is still mild and sunny for us.
A BIG thanks to Steve for his outstanding hospitality, humour and friendship ,as always.
Bye for now
Craig and Ross


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