Category Archives: Netherlands

The City of Bikes

And it is Amsterdam. Dianne found a great camping ground just on the edge of town surrounded by Canals. The campground sold 3 day tickets where you could swipe on or off the tram as much as you liked. This worked really well.

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Ralph and Harry in Amsterdam

The first night we went in to have a bit of look around and ended up having tea in the town and checking out the red light area.

Fiona, Gary and Dianne trying to find somewhere to eat

Day two we got up early and headed in so Fiona could check out the Art in Rijksmuseum.

On the way there was a car accident on one of the bridges so that was as far as the Tram could go. One of the downsides of Trams of course is they can’t go  around the obstruction so we walked the rest of the way.

We stopped at a pub on the first night by the Cathedral for a beer
One of the larger canals where the accident was.

While Fiona was at the Art Museum, Gary, Dianne and I got on a Hop on Hop off round and Round open roof ferry. For 19 Euros, we could go right around the city by Canal with an audio commentary which was fantastic. Not great for taking piccies as you could only shoot out of the sides.

During the Hop on Hop off trip

One of comments which came across was that the canals are 3 metres deep. One metre of Water, One Metre of Mud and another Metre of bicycles 🙂

Madame Tussauds in the Dam square

On our third day there, Fiona and Dianne were keen to check out a Diamond Factory. I didn’t think I’d like it but I found it quite interesting. It was quite tourist tatty and the free coffee was awful but great to see.

Fiona with a big sample Diamond

One of the curious things I found with Amsterdam is Bikes have right of way over EVERYTHING!

One of the oldest foot bridges over a canal

The Bike lanes are everywhere and they go like the clappers and they simply ring the bell if you get in their  way. It is quite intimidating. Also in the bike lanes are scooters and small cars and they go even faster. Often there is only a few inches between the edge of the footpath and a scooter doing 30-40kph! .. Its not uncommon to see people speeding along on bikes on their cell phone with a child strapped on somewhere.

Bikes rule !

So much history.. most of the buildings are centuries old and some have a lean either forward or sideways 🙂

Next to the campground.

Amsterdam is a really interesting city. Next were moving on to Germany.

Clogs and Windmills

In Arnhem, we met a friendly Dutch Motorhomer who told us about this wonderful little village called Zaanse Schans and that we must pop in for a nosey. So thats exactly what we did and it was stunning.

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Old Buildings on the other side of the river
From the Bridge

Original old buildings and Windmills all restored and many open to the public. It is very touristy but done very well.

Charming houses

We looked for the Motorhome parking but couldn’t find it so parked a few blocks away at a railway station parking area but it was an easy walk to and fro.

Many of the houses were set up as museums and all offered something different. We had a nice Latte and one house, and then a Waffle at another and checked out the inner workings of a windmill.

Fiona and Dianne share a pair of Clogs !

There was a great Clog making display with all the machinery and you could buy almost anything with a windmill or clogs on it 🙂

Zaanse Schans

We spent about 3 hours here and then headed about 20 minutes south for Amsterdam.

Culture and Canals

Just north of Amsterdam is a charming little coastal City of Alkmaar. The central part of the town is basically on an island ringed by canals.

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Ralph and Harry. Gary getting his bike ready

We stopped at Alkmaar Camping which is just on the edge of town but an easy 20 minutes into town by bike. It is supposed to take 10 but as usual, we got lost but we got there in the end 🙂

The Campground is well set up but for what it is, I thought it was a tad on the expensive side at 32 Euros a night for two but its very easy to get into town and a nice relaxing spot to stop.

Fiona on a mission

After we arrived from Arnhem, we got the bikes ready and headed off into town. As I said earlier, yep, we managed to get lost on the way but quickly found our way into town. We locked our bikes together at the big church in the middle of town and then headed off down the narrow streets. Its a charming place and being a Sunday afternoon market day, the place was chocker. It was alive and kicking!

The main “shoe shop” street with the Church at the other end.

About about an hour or so, after the girls had checked out nearly every shoes and clothes shop down the main street, we made it to the canal down the other end. It was just a great sight. Everything you see in the tourist brochures and some.

The Canal by the coffee shop

People enjoying a cuppa in outdoor cafes by the canal, people in boats and it seemed to be all about people watching and shopping, drinking and eating! Way to go:-)

People getting together

We eventually ran out of shoes shops and started heading back to the bikes and made our way back to the camp, nearly getting lost a second time !

Apparently there is a beach on the North Sea only 15 minutes bike ride from here but we’re heading towards Amsterdam next.

Airborne at Arnhem

We arrived in Arnhem mid afternoon after 2 easy hours driving on Motorways from Brugge. You don’t even know you are crossing the border. Its amazing.

Harry and ralph at the Arnhem campground

In Europe, it pays to book ahead with the campgrounds but we took pot luck and there was plenty of room. Great campground with all the facilities and reasonably priced I thought at 26 Euros for two per night.

Outside the campground figuring out the buses.

The next day, the weather was miserable and it was drizzly and threatening to rain so we caught a bus into Arnhem Centrum and then another virtually straight away out to Oosterbeek where the Airborne Museum is for the Battle of Arnhem.

An Allied tank outside the Museum

This was one of the battles the Allies lost in the final push towards Germany towards the end of the war.

Its a great tribute to the Allies involved and there is lots of memorabilia there. Its a must do if you’re in the area.

Shopping at Arnhem

One the way back, between buses, we checked out the town and then headed back to the vans at the camp. A really interesting city and one worth checking out.