Posts Tagged ‘sassenheim’

Part VI- Amsterdam!

Monday, July 21st, 2014

Day 17

I’ll be honest, this post is 90% family photos, so don’t feel like you have to read it. In fact, why not go back and reread the part where I swam in a lake with some hippies? That was wild.

Amy very kindly gave up her bed for me that night, and, in keeping with my theme of photographing the places I slept, here you go:

Best bed of the trip.

Best bed of the trip.

The next morning, we had to get up early to go and meet Team Tante Zoe from the airport. I knew it would be an early start, but nonetheless was rather caught of guard when Amy appeared at the door and said “Clothes!“. I said “Mmmf. Ok, here’s what we’re going to do. I’m going to hide under the covers, then you can turn the light on and get your clothes. Then turn it off again.“

Amy performed her part in this exceptionally well, but I still had to get up. On the plus side, I had bread with hagelslag for breakfast. It’s a Dutch thing.

We went to meet Team Tante Zoe at the airport, and then she, Alex, Amy, and I went on into Amsterdam, while Dineke and Callum went home.

Cute.

Cute.

After finding our bearings in Amsterdam, we went on a boat tour.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH MY FACE

WHAT IS WRONG WITH MY FACE

We saw many fascinating sights, including bastions of Amsterdam’s golden age, Anne Frank’s house, and the largest floating chinese restaurant in Europe.

This is the largest floating chinese restaurant in Europe.

This is the largest floating chinese restaurant in Europe.

After the boat tour, we went to Nemo, the science museum. Here is a picture of Amy in a bubble:

Bubble!

Bubble!

As it turned out, to get to the museum we had to walk past the largest floating chinese restaurant in europe.

Zoe being a.. whatever that thing next to her is. Is it a dragon?

Zoe being a.. whatever that thing next to her is. Is it a dragon?

Callum’s birthday was the next day, so we decorated the house that evening, and Dineke decorated his splendid cake.

Since Zoe had arrived, she took Amy’s bed, and I slept in the attic.

Attic! Not as good as Amy's bed, but still good.

Attic! Not as good as Amy’s bed, but still good.

On Sunday morning, we celebrated Callum’s birthday with some of Dineke’s family, and had many cups of truly breathtaking tea.

Callum is freaking PRECIOUS

Callum is freaking PRECIOUS

I had my juggling balls with me, and Amy had watched me juggle a bit the day before. Today, one of her relatives asked her if the balls belonged to her. “No!“ she exclaimed, “They belong to daddy’s knave!“. I’m going to need to get new business cards printed.

The celebrations included eating raw fish, continuously singing the song of one of Callum’s toys, and rearranging Let It Go from Frozen to be played on a 3 octave pink keyboard that could only play one note at a time.

In the afterning, we went to a nearby lake- I cycled, since there wasn’t enough room in the car, and met the others out there. Here, Callum explored the beach, Dineke pursued Callum from a safe distance, Zoe wore a hat, and for a brief time two hats, Amy built sandcastles, and I was a windmill.

Only one hat here. Also, Callum is remarkably difficult to hold on to.

Only one hat here. Also, Callum is remarkably difficult to hold on to.

Amy looking windswept and cute.

Amy looking windswept and cute.

Me being a windmill.

Me being a windmill.

Apparently, while I was being a windmill, some local kids thought that I was a posh student from some local student’s union or something.

The train system in the Amsterdam region is messed up. Apparently, the machines don’t take coins. They only take cards. Dutch cards, as it turns out. I’m told there are four stations where it’s possible to buy a train ticket if you’re not a dutch citizen, but Sassenheim isn’t one of them, so I felt fully justified in blackriding the four minute trip to Leiden on Monday morning.

Leiden is a bit like Amsterdam-lite. Lots of canals and windmills and museums and architecture and such, but not nearly so many tourists looking for coffeeshops.

So pretty.

So pretty.

I had a wander around, and found a really cool hippy travel shop, selling a pleasing mix of technical outdoor gear and hippy stuff. It also had a secondhand section for members, a sort of lending library for kit, almost. It was a cool idea, I thought.

I tried to get into the Rijksmuseum (not the actual one, a sort of local branch). It was open, but the doors were locked. It wasn’t shut, though, quite definitely open. Just you couldn’t actually go in. So I wandered around the grounds, and saw what looked like a really cool adventure vehicle.

An affront to vagabonds and adventurers everywhere.

An affront to vagabonds and adventurers everywhere.

Impressed, I took a closer look, only to discover that it’s wholly fake- all the tools and stuff are screwed in place, and, utterly appallingly (to me) the goddamn mud that’s all over it? Painted on. I have not the words.

I wandered a little more, and then visited the Botanic Gardens, which are the oldest established something in the thing or something. I’ll look into it. I took about a hundred pictures there, so I’m going to narrow it down:

I waited maybe 20 minutes for it to go for one of the enormous koi in the pond, but it didn't.

I waited maybe 20 minutes for it to go for one of the enormous koi in the pond, but it didn’t.

I spent a happy few hours wandering around in there, before heading back for the train. I actually really hate blackriding, since it’s super stressful, but it was the principle of the thing. Also it’s 4 minutes from Leiden to Sassenheim.

This was my last night in Amsterdam, which meant, once again, that I was super anxious, but I was also much closer to home than I had been for a long time, and I hoped I could make it back to the UK in one evening. Interestingly, the distance from Sassenheim to Calais is further than I went in my first two days in France, and yet here I was, pretty confident I could make it that far in a day, if not across the channel.