107 days to Christmas is what the sign in Amsterdam’s Christmas Shop read. And to think I wasn’t counting! Amsterdam is a lot of fun, in some ways the town reminds me a lot of Surfers Paradise, probably very similar to what Queenland is like during schoolies time. We’ve been staying in a hostel in the middle of the red light district, 24 people in our room. We are the only females, the rest are mainly 20 year old English schoolboys. And they act it. Although one of the boys had us in stitches the other night – whilst he was getting ready to go out he pulled an iron out of his bag and proceeded to iron his shirt. Guys back home have a lot to learn from the Europeans!
Wandering around the streets is a lot of fun – you never know what to expect. There are always a few unsavioury guys hanging around the front of our hostel, always trying to sell us some ‘fun’. Tash says it reminds her of back home in St. Kilda. Next door to our hostel we have signs promising ‘live sex show’ and ‘fun girls’, whilst only a couple more doors on there are girls wearing next to nothing waving at men through their windows. Of course, there are coffee shops all over the place, most are tiny little cafe style shops, proudly displaying their green and white sticker that claim they are a registered, government endorsed coffee shop, legally allowed to sell marijuana and other cannabis related items. Each has their own menu of what they sell – almost none of the shops sell alcohol as well.
Plenty of other things have kept us busy, in particular, the hunt for good food. Amsterdam has lots of food, unfortunately not all of it is very delicious. We’ve been rather impressed with the fries stores – you get a ‘cone’ of fries, and then a choice of sauces. Some places have up to 30 sauces, quite impressive. And I am [proud/disgusted/surprised/forced] to admit that I have now eaten my first burger from a vending machine. FEBO, a fast food chain all over Amsterdam (possibly all over the Nederlands, I’m not sure), specialises in its burger vending machines. The burger wasn’t too bad, tasted a bit better than McD’s, to tell the truth.
We spent the better part of two days visiting friends in Den Haag (The Hague). It was great to see a different part of the world from a locals point of view, there’s so much you miss just being a visitor. Maureen and Michael, who are avid travelers, showed us many of the sights, including the Escher museum (fantastic), the cute town of Delft and the beach in Den Haag (very interesting, a whole heap of restaurants are temporarily set up for the summer, along the beach front, and are taken down at the end of summer). Whilst in Delft I tried the national food of pickled herrings, and convinced Maureen to as well. Not really my favourite food… Maureen also took us to see a panorama painting, which was fantastic. We stood in the middle of a 1880’s painting that went all the way around us, made you feel like you were in the painting itself.
Well, we’ve just arrived in Stockholm, so we’re now getting ready to take on the Vikings. Hope every-ones looking after themselves,