Day 15: Biking and Boating and a Big Shoe (What more can you want)

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June 18th 2013
Published: July 12th 2013
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Stephen and MeStephen and MeStephen and Me

Shoe Friends
Woke up in the morning and saw all the guys made it back from Amsterdamage. It had been a long time since I was high and combined with the alcohol from last night I expected a bad hangover but I only had smoke floating in my head and no headache. Learned that morning everyone got back OK but we had some bad reactions to the drugs from last night. Still had the 1/4 of the space cake in my pocket so reminded myself to eat it or get rid of it before I got back to London.

Got a ride into the city to Mike's Bikes where we would get a bike tour. The Dutch are crazy for bike riding and you can see by the huge bike garages and the number of riders. Our group was split into two and the bike leader warned us that if we are not strong bikers it is best to back out now. I was in the 2nd group and we started our ride and it was fast paced and not that much sightseeing as it was really just a bike ride through the city. Some of us including myself were not strong riders and the locals were not impressed. I saw men in suits and women with babies riding bikes who were laughing at us.

I was having a good time but the bike leader apparently was not amused with our slow speed and when one of our members chain fell off and he had to go back for her and that basically ended the tour. Tour was suppose to be for 2 hours be we got back in 1.5 hours and ahead of the first group.

Tonight we had dinner in the Sea Palace and a booze cruise on the river. Until than we had free time to do as we like. Group for the day was Kelly, Christine, Rachael, Stephen and myself. We grabbed a snack at a café and I had a Rembrandht coffee which I thought was just coffee but was more elaborate. Kate our tour leader walked into the same café and sat down to have a coffee with us. First time I had to chat with Kate separate from most of the bus. It was strange, kinda like talking to a teacher when I was a student. I will answer the question What Makes Her Special For This Job Later On.

Wandered around the city we stopped and shopped at random stores until we got to Dam Square. At this point Rachael broke off to head back to the hostel while Kelly went off to do some shopping. Christine, Stephen and I went to Anne Frank's house which was close to Centraal station. We forgot to take a picture of the statue of Anne Frank but I just grabbed a copy off someone else's pics.

Anne Frank's house was interesting and had the same eerie feeling as Dachau. I loved reading Anne Frank's writing because as a writer myself I really respect her ability to continue writing under tough circumstances. You are not allowed to take pictures in the house and I forgot to sign the guest book as well. The space her family lived in for years was not that big and I read the part about how their family was betrayed and sent to the concentration camps and dying shortly before its liberation. That was the saddest part knowing they almost survived their ordeal.

We left Anne Frank house and wandered back to Dam Square. This was my smallest

Haylee, Megan Campbell, Kate, Greg, Gillon, Andrew, Kelsey, Danielle, Darcy, Madelyn, Jon, Megan Schuller, Romy, Caitilin, Ashleigh, Megan Compston, Sam, Aileen, Hilori, Paul, Alana
group of the tour so I had a chance to speak more to Stephen and Christine so I will tell a little more about both of them.

My first impression of Stephen was a guy who would loved to drink and party. It was probably the 5 O'clock shadow he has that gave me that impression. I would learn while talking to him he is religious and belongs to a small church back home in Australia. Stephen was one of the red lighted guys with a girlfriend back home. He was a great guy who would be helpful to me later on that day.

Christine as I mentioned earlier would turn out to be my favourite person from the tour. She was the quietest person on the tour and it was in a bus of fairly loud people. She contrasted nicely with the Sick Six who were the most boisterous on the tour. By the end of tour we would have long conversations on just about everything so that was nice. We were one of the handful of people in their thirties on this bus. I was concerned about the age difference but everyone regardless of age interacted
Good LuckGood LuckGood Luck

Stephen, MJ and me rubbing Ken's head for goodluck
well. Christine like myself was a naturally shy person but brave enough to go outside her comfort zone and face a bus full of strangers. Her willingness to take that step even thought it was hard is the reason she is my favourite from a tour of such great people. So hat's off to you Christine.

We got back to Dam Square and met up with Kelly again and we wandered around until we found a restaurant we all liked (Mexican). Burritos were tasty and the water was reasonable priced which was important for me. We did some shopping afterwards before Kelly went off to Madam Tussauds' wax museum. I had been to the one in London so I wasn't interested. The rest of us wandered around the city shopping at various places and Stephen went in search of football jersey from a specific Amsterdam team.

Final stop was the Sea Palace and surprisingly it was Chinese food. I had some wine with dinner but it did not improve of the taste of the food. After dinner we went on our booze cruise. The dock was right next door so it did not take long for everyone to
Whose High?Whose High?Whose High?

Romy and Gillon I really liked these two.
assemble on the boat. We were all there minus Angelica and Andrea. Kate started off by telling us that even thought she had been with Topdeck for 2 years it was actually Mike's first trip with Topdeck. Everyone was shocked by this because he had some really tough and narrow roads and tunnels to get through. He actually looked a lot older than his 23 years as well. Amanda came up after them and gave both Kate and Mike a thank you on behalf of all of us.

I will answer the question from the beginning of the tour about why is Kate special for this job when so many people must want it. I will tell you Kate is special. She combines patience, humour, and toughness. She was always able to have a smile for us even thought she must have been exhausted. As Kate said she is more than a pretty face 😉. The one quality I loved most about her was that she got shit done. We all made it to our optionals and I was so glad she was on this tour instead of the rookie guide we were going to get. Hopefully she is
Kate the GreatKate the GreatKate the Great

Kate our tour leader. One of the few times I saw her not in a Topdeck shirt
still doing well because she is on a 4 week camping trip that started right after our tour ended.

So what happened on the boat. We had free drinks on the boat wine, beer, and soft drinks. For the record I had eaten the remainder of the space cake and had at least 4 drinks on the boat. I had not adapted well from last night so it was another strange trip for me. As you can imagine everyone got smashed fairly quickly. We were shouting at other boats mostly party goers like us but also a few boats of what appeared to be elderly people so they were startled. It was such a fun time and people figured out pretty quickly I was high so it was entertaining. I managed to go around and get pictures with everyone and would get pictures with Angelica and Andrea tomorrow to complete my set. I was pretty much out of it by the end of the boat ride but I was far from the only one 😊. Too soon the boat ride anyway and we filed out to bars and for me another Shisha pipe.

I was high but smart enough to stay in a group. It was myself, Stephen, Kelly, Patrina and Zakiyya. We just had one pipe this time as we were all pretty tired. I had a strange desire to make a run for it but Stephen was good enough to keep an eye on me and make clear that he would stop me (Thanks Stephen). I really enjoyed Shisha and I think I will keep it up when I get home. We took another taxi home as split across 5 people it was not that more expensive than the Tram.

Got back to the hostel and had an incoherent conversation with the receptionist before heading up to my room. I was surprised to find Gillon and MJ already there even thought it was only a little past midnight. As it turns out Gillon had enjoyed the Amsterdam culture more than I did and we had a fun time slapping hands and laughing about absolutely nothing. Had a good night sleep after that but was dreading the morning as we had to start saying goodbye.


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