Saturday, November 28, 2009

Day #21: The Final leg....

Frans wrote:

26 Nov '09: We all knew that the day would come but it still crept up on us quite quickly. It was time this morning to pack our bags again and leave our precious chalet.

I think Yvonne and Karen will vouch that our little house on the Ijssel is a special place where it is very easy to relax and watch the boats go up and down the river whilst you sip a glass of red wine.....

We repacked our suitcases, this time for real because there was no coming back and whatever did not fit would have to be left behind...... including my mushroom hat.... We scrubbed the chalet, deposited the rubbish, turned down the heater and locked her up for the next visit which will be God only knows when...

The weather had truly settled into something only an Autumn can produce so I had decided there was no point in any side trips or excursions but head straight for our final destination...Amsterdam!

Knowing full well what traffic havoc can exists on the Dutch motorways and esspecially in the center off the country we took a route that took us via Lelystad and the dike from there to Enkhuizen. This way we avoided all the traffic jams that usually occur around Hoevelaken and Amersfoort and made a much more pleasant trip.

Enkhuizen is a very old Dutch fishing village with a lot of history and if hadn't been for the biting wind and rain we would have explored this beautiful place on foot but instead the ladies made it quite clear they can could just as well see this town from within the warmth and luxury of our Mercedes Benz and instructed their driver in no uncertain terms to make a slow tour through the old center and harbour.... how could I refuse....

We had booked our next and final accommodation in Zaandam instead of Amsterdam as this hotel was more affordable then the steep prices hotels charged there. We made a slow trip to Zaandam and when we were getting close to our hotel we became quite worried about the building works that surrounded it but as it turned out the rooms were pretty quiet with their double glazing and for once the beds and cushions were very comfortable and there was no need to raid Yvonne's..



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After checking in we immediately took the train to Amsterdam which was only 12 minutes away as correctly advised by the receptionist of our hotel. We made our way from the central station into the main street of Amsterdam and do what most tourist do, look at the shops and into the cafes where they sell the local pot which is legal to do here.










We visited Madam Tussaud's wax museum at The Dam and gawked at the life like replicas of a lot of famous figures. I must admit that after a while I looked twice at a person to make sure he or she was real and the whole experience was a bit surreal and allthough there are many wax figures that strike a close resemblance to its true owner, some of them were not so great. I was impressed though with the figures of Elle Macpherson and Dame Edna Average.








Whilst having dinner we decided to join a candlelight tour of the canals and the red light district on one of the may tour boats that operate on the city's canals. Although the commentary wasn't that great, the cruise itself was most enjoyable and the walking visit to the red light district an eyeopener for my travelling companions. The ladies of leasure were applying their trade and it was great to experience that, although there are many people in The World that do not agree with their line of work, the atmosphere in that area was very pleasant and relaxed and at no time did we feel threatened or scared.

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The Ladies had a sample of a small taste of the Dutch gin served in a local pub which made their skin crawl. Having had the pleasure of that particular poison in a previous life, I thanked for that honour and watched the ladies of leasure instead...


Being now seasoned travellers we jumped on the right train back to Zaandam but not before Evonka gave some well meant directions to two disorientated muslim women who most likely were looking for the same train to Zaandam as us but instead on 'vonka's directions dissapeared into the nearest lift only to look back up to us one floor down with a completely haunted and bewildered look in their eyes... Having some personal experience with Yvonne's directions skills, I knew exactly how they felt......

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