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Holland 2009 – Days 4 and 5

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Days 4 and 5.  We started the day much as other days, breakfast in the hotel, Lisa loves the waffles the most.  They are quite good that’s for sure.  On Thursday they had Chocolate ones, so that was a nice treat from the normal ones with chocolate spread on it.

Wednesday, it was back to the Albert Cuypstraat Market again for a couple of things that we didn’t get the day before.  We’d only walked a small part of that market.  Then it decided we’d take in the Tropenmuseum.  This is quite the place.  Four floors of Dutch history centred around the Caribbean and tropical areas.  They also had a great “Getting to know China” tour in a special area of the museum, the only problem was it was given entirely in Dutch by a Chinese guy.  It would have been nice for a just a little bit of English to be given, but oh well.  They covered the Chinese art of Tai Chi and Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chinese cuisine, Chinese writing with hair and feather pens.  They also spoke about Chinese traditions for celebrating and honouring the dead and Chinese tea ceremony’s and different famous Chinese teas.

I have heaps of photos from the museum which I’ll get up shortly.  After the museum we headed for the “China District”, which is just on the edge of the Red Light district.  Bloody shame too, we had to walk through the RLD twice again that day 😉  We had lunch at a Chinese Dim Sum restraunt.  The sign outside (I have a photo somewhere) that read “All you can eat for 8.95, in 1 hour” haha

After stuffing ourselves with Chinese food and leaving the owner suffering from a minor stroke having witnessed the awesome eating power of Yuki (I’m certain he’ll change his sign either increasing the price the cutting the 1 hour to 30 mins), we headed back to Nieuwendijk and Kalverstraat shopping areas and Dam square.  One of the tram drivers from a previous day liked his job a lot, when we approached Dam square his announcement over the tannoy was something like “Now stopping at the Dam square, all those going to the Dam square get off here at the Dam square”.  We wandered around the square and got a photo with all the girls and Batman, which nearly made Emma cry, what a scary cat.  Yuki then went to the Amsterdam Diamond Centre.  I stayed around the square with the kids.

After that it was back to the hotel, rather early then previously, but we were all completely knackered.  Poor Yuki, when we got back to the hotel we’d found out the Internet had been shutdown due to some technical problem (apparently their open wifi was used by spammers or something so the ISP killed their connection for 24 hours).  It was a long and boring night with no Internet haha

We all just chilled out for a while then about 1830 Lisa and I walked down the street to the Domino’s Pizza and picked up a medium pizza and some chicken wings for dinner and took it back to the hotel room.

Thursday morning we got all packed up and had breakfast and got a taxi back to the Olympic Stadium Park and Ride.  We had too much stuff to carry on the Trams there, it was just easier.  The Park and Ride was by far the best bargain of the trip, 6 Euro per day, so 24 Euro and the car was kept safe in a well lit, underground 24hr guarded parking facility.  I was well impressed.  Anyone planning to drive to Amsterdam should seriously consider using the P-n-R facilities they have, it’s cheap and easy for sure!  Wish more cities has those sorts of secure short/longish term parking facilities.

We then made our way back towards the Hook of Holland port, taking our time and exploring some of the county lanes along the way.  There weren’t many windmills to be seen really, to really experience those you need to get on a bus tour from Amsterdam .. we didn’t bother as they were quite expensive and very long.. they were 32 Euro for each adult and 16 for each of the kids plus they were 5 ½ hours out on the go.  There’s no way the kids would have survived that trip 🙂

We took a bunch of photos of the countryside and settled in the Hook of Holland to explore the small town here and have lunch before getting on the ship.  We found a nice little clothing shop and managed to find Yuki a cute PJ set with Snoopy on it (that’s her fav), plus we picked up a bunch of things for the kids and I got a fleece jacket I’ll keep at the office (since our AC is mental and seems to be set on “Fend off Global Warming” mode all the time), that was a bargain as well, a huge bag of clothes for 40 something Euro.  Much better then shopping in Amsterdam haha

That brings me to the current time, 1426hrs.  Currently sitting on deck seven of our ship just waiting for them to cast off and hoist the mainsails, heave the anchors and get the cat-o-nine-tails out to encourage the rowing team to crack on with the crossing.

Yuki has given up on getting online for now and decided to sack out over 3 chairs and try and sleep.  It’s highly unlikely that will happen, now with our kids.

Speaking of the kids, they’ve been in the kids play area for about the last hour or so since we boarded the ship.  We’re sat right next to the kids area, I’m not sure if that was a good or bad idea.. haha we can see the kids but we can also HEAR them too.. do they sell mufflers for children?  If not they should, there’s a fortune waiting for the smart bugger that brings that to market!!

Right, enough for now.. we have about 7 hours until we land I think.. then it’s straight home with the kids and get them to bed.  We’ll deal with the aftermath of the clothing and bags tomorrow or something.  I’ll be ready for bed myself as son as I walk in the door I think.

Good bye Amsterdam and Holland, it’s been mostly good but had it’s moments as well.  Can’t say we’d hurry back again, but mostly that’s just because of the cost of visiting verses a couple of bad experiences.