Amsterdam

We are not in Roxby Downs anymore . . . talk about an eye opener for the innocent Tasmanian (Phil having visited before in his youth – a more more exciting visit for him then I am sure!).

Such a mix of pace, people, scenery, culture, entertainment & beauty.

We tied Red Roo up at Six Haven Marina on the north shore of the river which conveniently is a two minute walk to the ferry dock taking you across to Amsterdam Central Station right in the city centre, with the ferry’s being free and running continuously departing every 5 minutes (and choc-o-block full every time) it was a great location.   But before I ramble on too much, here are some pictures taken during our passage from Haarlem to Amsterdam.

I guess the first thing that hits you (besides the people – so many people – tourists – ha! . . . note we consider ourselves travellers not tourists) is the feel of a modern city in a very old setting.  And I am not 100% sure it works?  Looking at the marvellous setting and the classic old style buildings set on cobblestone streets or beside the canals with modern shopfront displays and bright lights seems wrong and out of place and make it all a little tacky.  But never fear these are pretty limited to the immediate city centre and as we walked out of the city to the surrounds and older areas which are not commercialised it transformed and really is a beautiful city and setting once off the beaten track.  The canals, water, cobbled streets (more bikes than cars), old buildings, wonky buildings, brickworks, steps, window ledge box gardens, trees on the canals, quiet, relaxed – beautiful.

In the city centre and the tourist strip area’s there are the required souvenir shops, cheese shops (where incidentally the staff do not know the difference between Gouda and Edam cheese, as when we asked we were told it was the region the cows grazed and produced the cheese, and that they proceeded both kinds from the company farm on the edge of Amsterdam . . . being no where near either Edam or Gouda???) Also you will find flavours that excite some with hundreds of shops selling green leaf (of the weed variety) flavoured into cookies, cakes, ice-cream and lollipops, as well as shops that sell seeds, and of course cafe’s where you can just by the grass (we presume in the form of a cigarette).  Yes you smell the cannabis (marijuana) quite often walking down the street, it’s as normal to this community as seeing someone drinking a bottle of water, all perfectly legal so not a big deal at all – except for the giggly tourists (and my camera taking pictures).  The other famous product available to buy in Amsterdam is of course sex, and believe me no matter what your “thing” is – you can buy it, or pay someone to do it in Amsterdam.  A visit to the museum of prostitution answered many of my questions and yours too I am sure;

  • There are 351 red light windows in central Amsterdam
  • Average visit to a window girl lasts from 6 – 15 minutes
  • Prices for a window girl start at €50 for a short visit
  • Prostitutes pay €150 to rent a window for an 8 hour shift
  • In a successful shift a prostitute will have over 16 customers
  • Over 4,000 men visit a window prostitute each day in Amsterdam city
  • An average prostitute will use over 2,000 condoms a year
  • There are no male prostitutes, but purple windows are transgender drag queens and service mainly men

Phil found the Maritime Museum much more interesting spending half a day exploring their displays and ships.  Easter is almost upon us and we expecting to see a lot more boats (yachts) out and about from now on as we head north and into Germany then the Baltic Sea our summer destination.

We also have a new edition to the boat, after months of research (anyone who knows Phil well will appreciate what that means) we invested in a Cobb.  Having met a sailor in Loch Boisdale – Scotland last year who had one and swore by it, we (Phil) finally decided it was a good thing for us, and furthermore found a shop (after miles of walking) selling one for the same price as the best online price we could find.  Yippee!!  We had been looking to buy one for a couple of months but could never find anyone in a shop who would match the online price and not having a fixed address constantly being on the move making us unable to buy it online.  The 20 euro we saved is a case of beer you know!!  Anyway I am sure you are actually wondering what a Cobb is, well it is a small portable BBQ that is uniquely cold to touch on the outside, meaning you can cook it in the cockpit sitting on the deck without any heat on the outside or near your deck, also the top of the range model is stainless steel, perfect for a boat as its resistant to sea water and rust  – marvellous!  It also uses briquettes, wood or charcoal (in other words, not gas which we are continually struggling to find places that will fill our bottles, every country having their own unique bottles).  It has a lid and hotplate and can be used as a grill or oven.  We do already have a bbq on the boat that attaches to the rails, but it runs on gas (issues in refilling) and also gets hot and can create a mess dripping fat either on the deck or into the ocean, and is a real effort to set up and pack up as it gets in the way when sailing.  Hence we welcome Cobb aboard.  I am also pleased to inform you our first meal was a success, the unique shape which must contribute to the fact it’s cold on the outside (you can hold it whilst cooking if you wanted to) is a circle pretty much like a moat around the hot plate and is just perfect to roast potatoes or cook foil potatoes in whilst the meat is cooking on top, it has also been suggested to us that some people put a little water in the moat and steam/cook their greens and veg as well as cooking meat on the grill.  Anyway, keen to have you all over for a BBQ anytime your in the neighbourhood!

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