Grant and Susan in the Netherlands
30-31 August, 1996 - Amsterdam, Netherlands
We're in a hotel in Amsterdam today, drying out. We lost all of Wednesday in Germany holed up in our tent in the pouring rain, then it dried out enough for us to pack up and ride yesterday, but it rained steadily on us all afternoon. Yes, there are times when I envy people in cars and buses - yesterday was one of them. So, today the hotel room is festooned with all our stuff drying.
It looks like Berlin had the last summer weather Northern Europe will see for awhile. Today the temp is 14-15 Celsius, (last week in Berlin it was high 20s). Definitely time to head south.
Bicycles on one of the many bridges over canals in Amsterdam
Amsterdam is easily the most cosmopolitan city we've encountered thus far in Europe. This is high tourist season still, and lots of tourists from all over wandering around and people on bicycles everywhere. Today the weather cleared and we took a canal "bus", which is a good way to get around here since the canals are all through the central core of the city, almost every other street. The canals are laid out in a spider web, and it's actually amazing how much water and how little land there is in the center.
There's a real attempt to preserve the ambiance, with newer apartment buildings designed to look similar to the older buildings. It's quite pretty and I've taken a few pictures to get the sense of it. There are many old houses which have the same problem as Stockholm's Old Town - built on landfill hundreds of years ago, they're sinking and tilting as they sink. Quite interesting to look at, but probably not much fun to contemplate if you own one of them!
Bicycle in front of painted wall in Amsterdam
We saw the famous "red light" district, (which is very much on the beaten path in the tourist area) and I had to beat the ladies off Grant with a stick! Not really, the way it works is they sit or stand behind closed windows wearing sexy lingerie and posing. We never saw any of them outside their doors, so we assumed they aren't allowed to actively solicit customers. They do have red lights above their windows, though, and you can certainly tell what their profession is. There are also lots of sex shops for videos/toys, etc.
The smell of marijuana abounds (I do remember what it smelled like, even if, like Clinton, I didn't inhale). I understand Amsterdam has very loose drug laws, so I guess you could say this is the city for "sex, drugs, and rock and roll". Probably better appreciated if you're in your teens than in your forties, unfortunately!
Are you an Overland Adventure Traveller?
Does the smell of spices wafting through the air make you think of Zanzibar, a cacophony of honking horns is Cairo, or a swirl of brilliantly patterned clothing Guatemala? Then this is the site for you!
Hosted by Grant and Susan Johnson, RTW 1987-1998
9th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is ending soon! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!
NEW! HU Adventure Motorcycle 2014 Calendar is now available! Get your copy now for some terrific travel inspiration! The calendar is HUGE, 12x17 inches (30x43 cm)! Photos are the best of the Photo Contest entries for the last 6 years.
We split the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!
Next HU Events
- Thailand: Jan 10-11
- Brazil: Feb 22-23
- Germany: May 29-June 1
- HUBB UK: June 19-22
- NEW! Canada Maritimes: July 4-6
- USA Colorado: July 11-13
- Ireland: July 18-20
- Canada West: Aug 21-24
- USA North Carolina: Sept. 4-7
- Canada Ontario: Sept. 11-14
- USA California: Sept. 25-28
- Aus Queensland: Oct 3-6
Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of