The Netherlands (Part IV) - Amsterdam Proper-Like
I think this all starts on about the 10th of October - just to give you an idea of when i'm talking about.
Once Andrew and I had managed to recover from the long night out, we caught the train back up to Amsterdam and headed to our hostel - the Globe. Somehow, i'd heard about this hostel a few times, but for some reason, it wasn't in the lonely planet, or even vaguely well known. Rather odd. Even the hotel reservation office that we asked for directions didn't know where it was. Strange.
Once we were all sorted, we headed out for dinner with Matt and the other APS guys - Graham and Trevor. They'd just got in from their flights from Oz, so they weren't exactly the most chipper, but it was good to catch up with them for a yarn or two.
<P align=center></P> <P align=center>A slightly blurry picture of the APS dinner.</P> <P align=left>The following day, we headed off on mikes bike tour, which was pretty cool. We’d heard that the one in Berlin (or was it Munich?) was very good, and funny to boot, so we thought we’d give this one a bash. We’d also had an order put in by Andrea for some of the cheese from “the cheese factory thats part of a bike tour that’s some guys name”. So, how could we not go on it?</P> <P align=left>Anyway, there was quite a lot of information in this tour - everything from advice on the best places to go, and the best ways to inbibe marijuana, to the history of prostitution in Amsterdam, to how to become a prostitute (apparently, just drop into the prostitution advice centre, and get a ‘starter kit’). We got to go and see a proper windmill, and actually learnt a bit about the history of them (they used to be used to pump water, and in WWII, they were used by the local resistance to point in the directions that Nazi convoys had gone). We got to go to a cheese and clog factory, where we got to see how they made cheese, and how they make clogs (they cheat - it takes all of 2 minutes to make some). But, the cheese was good.</P> <P align=left>Other than that we learnt about a founding principle of the Netherland’s constitution - the Harm Principle. Goes something like “if an doesn’t harm anybody else, its probably legal“. The other part of it was the freedom it gave to the courts - they dont have to prosicute “if the harm caused by punishing someone exceeds the harm caused by the crime“. So, if putting a dad in prison would ruin a family, the courts can decide not to prosicute. Fairly deep and pretty far ahead of its time - especially seeing this was brought in about the 15th century.</P> <P align=left>After the bike ride, we joined another Aussie (Emily), and a Canadian (Chris), and headed to an Australian bar. Now, before you assume anything, it was because we got a voucher for a free drink, so thats the only reason we went there. But, it actually turned out to be a pretty cool place. They didn’t have that much Australian music on the playlist, but I can overlook that. Ended up having a pretty good night - spent a little bit too much, but who cares.</P> <P align=center></P> <P align=center>Some ‘happy’ people at the Australian bar.</P> <P align=left>On another day, we did the museum thing, and checked out the Van Gogh museum (some pretty cool stuff there - he painted quite a variety of things), and also the Rijksmuseum (most of which was closed, but still had quite a few cool things). And the other place that we checked out was Anne Franks house. Didn’t have an awful lot there, but it had quite an impact on me. Made me think about it, and made the Nazi atrocities that much more real. I s’pose it would have meant more to me if i’d actually read the book, but you cant have everything. To make up for it, i bought the book in the bookshop as I left. Reading it is a bit odd, ‘cos i’ve actually been in the house that she describes…</P> <P align=left>And that was the last of Amsterdam. On the afternoon of the 13th, I climbed onto a plane, and headed back to good old England, to take some time out. And that, I believe, is where i can leave it for a while, cos i’m now officially up to date! Sorry about the huge deluge of posts - I’ll try and be a bit more organised next time round and post a bit more often.</P> <P align=left>So, until something interesting happens (probably next week), au revoir.</P>