Category Archives: Ramblings
Just my thoughts on paper; about what I am trying to do, to people watching and observations
At this time of year I usually have all our travel plans, well planned but this year it is going to be very different.
We won’t be taking the longer breaks abroad this year as we have so many other plans and things going on namely our first Grandchild due in June!
So it will be a short trip in February half term, two weeks in August and nothing else planned at the moment.
Remember those orchids I bought, the one or two…………….. well here are some photos of them
Ok so my maths is a bad as always and I bought 5, BUT they are more than 1/2 the price of those back home so the cost of 1 or 2 – well that’s my excuse. The only problem now as pointed out by my daughter is where they are going to go once home amongst the 20 or so others! Yes this is my latest obsession.
People who know me well, know that I am not very good in crowds and therefore cities. To overcome this so that I look at some of the wonderful architecture, museums and other things of interest I tend to limit our trips to half days (normally mornings) as by 2 o’clock I have had enough!
Yesterday we set off on the free water bus across the IJ river passing the abandoned submarine (probably some modern art thing) that was pumping out bubbles!
Having got our bearings the day before we quickly walked down the lovely side streets and roads of the west side of the city towards Anne Franks House.
We arrived before our allotted time and were amazed at how many people ‘just turned up’ in the hope of buying some tickets. I am a great planner and one of my many vices is lists! I bought the tickets for Anne Franks House two months ago whilst in Bavaria – well Larissa did to be exact as the internet in Bavaria was so poor.
The building is just how she describes in her diary, something I have read whilst we have been away. There is the warehouse doors at the bottom, and a front door leading to the offices. On the first floor there is the famous bookcase behind which is the ‘secret annexe’. The rooms were larger than I expected, much like a modern day apartment. There is no furniture in the rooms, it was all removed after the war years but the walls have fortunately remained the same and you can see where Anne glued her Hollywood pictures to the room that she slept in.
It was as to be expected very busy and even though we had time slots it soon filled up and there were many holdups to what in theory should be an easy walk through of the building.
Seeing the building and the photos of all of the 8 who were hiding really brought the diary to life. My lasting memory is of her words in the diary in which she many times has written how she would like to be an author when the war is over, not just a normal housewife, and how she doubts anyone would be interested in her diary!
If you haven’t read this book DO – you need to read quickly some of the teenage girl emotional bits and really concentrate on all the other wealth of information. It really is thought provoking.
After this we sat outside and ate our sandwiches before walking further into the city to the Flowermarket. I must admit I was a little disappointed. I had expected there to be many more cut flowers on sale but I should have realised being Holland it was going to be all about the tulip!
The flower market consists of several traders stalls that are partly on the pavements and partly floating on the canals, with basket upon basket of tulip bulbs for sale.
It was very busy and so we didn’t stay long and soon headed back to the relative quietness of Boris – just as well as it rained all afternoon and night along with some thunderstorms.
Today we set off again to go on a canal cruise. This time we got the tram from Central Station as it was a much longer walk to the departure point.
We meandered the many canals before going though the sea locks onto the IJ river, passing the massive cruise boat that an American lady who was sat with us arrived on.
We had an audio commentary, and the Nemo building above is a science museum that has a beach on the roof so that the Amsterdamers can sunbathe!
Back onto the canals past the Dutch East India Spice Company, lots of house boats, the skinny bridge and lots more.
With the trip over we got the tram back to central station and then the water bus back to the jetty. Before I leave you for today I will show you some more ‘modern art’ that surrounds the area we are staying in.
I must admit I have found Amsterdam to be a beautiful city if you stay away from the main streets. It is busy as expected, easy to get around on foot or by bicycle. However the tram system is difficult, you need a form of oyster card or buy tickets by the hour/day which works out expensive. We didn’t visit the ‘red light district’ but we did see many of the ‘drug cafes’ and it was alarming to see so many young people the same age as my two stoned out of their heads, sat in the window – it broke my heart. Not sure I agree with the drugs culture of the Netherlands.
Larissa has reminded me that they put weed in the Brownies therefore my comment about ‘having a brownie a day to keep the frownies away’ being a good idea is now null and void!!!!!!!! unless they are proper Brownies.
We left the very hot weather of Alblasserdam and entered the even hotter weather of Gouda. We were parked in car park that was for motorhomes and ventured into the town, we got as far as the bakery and the heavens opened along with thunder and lightning. It was a quick dash back to Boris!
In the afternoon we decided to try again and this time got to see the lovely town square where they would be auctioning cheese the traditional way on Thursday morning (today). Of course you cannot go to Gouda and not buy cheese especially if you are a big mouse like me and you have an even bigger mouse in the form of Larissa at home!
It took me a while to decide which cheese to buy especially as there were so many to try, Gouda with basil, Gouda with peppers, matured Gouda (like a parmesan), with truffles………you get the picture.
Decision made!!! I not need to remind myself not to eat it all before I get home or I will have a very upset daughter.
After a night of intense heat, a smattering of rain and a few claps of thunder we awoke today to yet more heat and humidity.
Just as we were about to set off for the cheese auction this morning the thunder storms came again. We waited until the rain cleared and set off to the market square where there were many stalls selling cheese – no surprise there and some other bits and bobs including clogs and siropwaffels.
The men carried out their bartering being egged on my the crowd but to my disappointment they didn’t carry them off in the traditional manner I thought. Nevermind I did get to try a siropwaffel which as the name suggests is a wafer biscuit filled with syrup sandwiched together. Yum.
After our cheese marathon we left Gouda and are now at a lovely AIRE in Arbennes, not far from the famous Keukenhof gardens which unfortunately are not open.
We are on the edge of a working arable farm, and within spitting distance of Schipol Airport and have been busy plane watching.
Tomorrow we head to Amsterdam.