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September 9th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Amsterdam, Holland

I am writing this post from my hotel room in Amsterdam! We made it to the first stop of our European odyssey alive and well. Which is no mean feat seeing as it’s been a while since any of us have driven on the continent and I have never driven on the wrong side of the road intentionally in my life.

We departed Leeds at about 4pm to drop Chris’ car off at his gran’s house and then we hit to road proper. With virtually no traffic on the M62 we made good time and got into Hull well in advance of the last check-in for the ferry (which was at 7.30). A combination of heavy traffic around the sea port and some ‘interesting’ driving from Kieran meant that we were early but not too early for our ship.

George, Kieran and Chris watching us dock at Rotterdam, Holland

Having safely negotiated the ramp maze to board the ferry, we unloaded our overnight stuff and decamped to our cabin. Now it has been a while since I have stayed in a cabin on a ferry (in fact it’s probably about ten years when I went from Portsmouth to Cherbourg) but even still I think they are a lot smaller than they used to be, especially after you have got the beds out of the ceiling and put the ladders etc up.

Once we were settled in we went for a wander around the various decks that were open to the public and set about making some kind of plan for dinner. In the end we plumped for the brasserie as there was no queue, the menu looked decent and not too expensive and eating in good restaurants whilst one of your party is wearing sandals (cough, Kieran, cough) is always fun. The food was good and a nice way to kick off the trip even if it did take forever for anything to arrive.

Once dinner was polished off, we hit the bar and the casino to while away some time, eventually hitting the sack a little aftder midnight.

The night went pretty smoothly for me considering I hate boats and hate being at sea. Apparently, though, there was some kind of medical emergency on board and a helicopter had to come and airlift a passenger to hospital. This, plus another boat being in our channel, meant we were about two and a half hours late docking at Rotterdam port.

Once we disembarked we hit the motorways of Holland (one of the few legs that we will be using the motorway network) and headed the eighty-odd kilometres to Amsterdam.

Crazy 4-story high waterfall attached to side of building in Amsterdam, Holland

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Amsterdam to be honest. I have no time for drugs such as cannabis, nor people that use it, so I did worry that I may not fit in or like the place too much. Luckily, Amsterdam offers far more than the teenage view of the city I had developed over the years. Most of Amsterdam is quaint and pretty with lots of nicw and quiet backstreets that I could happily wander around all day. Of course, a trip to Amsterdam wouldn’t be a trip to Amsterdam if you didn’t visit some of the seedier attractions. We spent some time ambling through the old town and the bohemian parts of Amsterdam before meandering through the red light district and newer parts of the city where I happened to bump into my brother. The pictures on this post are all just general views of he city as we wandered through.

It is about 6.30pm (local time – and all future time references are likely to be in local time) now and I am just bashing out this post before we head to dinner and our nocturnal adventures. Not sure how much of the nocturnal side of the city I really want to immerse myself in, but I have it on good authority that you can’t experience Amsterdam fully until you see it at night.

As always, you can follow my personal story on my website or via my Twitter account, or you can track our travels and keep up to date on the whole group is doing by visiting Kieran’s site.

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