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Thursday, 17th July – Amsterdam

With still so much more to do in Amsterdam, it was another early morning to try and beat the crowds. The first thing on our list was the Van Gogh Museum which is situated in the Museumplein.

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It was amazing to see the works of art of Van Gogh through his life time. Also displayed were other paintings by friends, contemporaries and influences that really showed how Vincent’s style progressed. It was also interesting to see good impressionist paintings hung so that you can appreciate them as intended – from about 4 metres away. Unfortunately, you were not allowed to take photos inside the exhibition.

After the museum, we wandered again through the streets of Amsterdam, this time outside of the core city circle and discovered many beautiful photo opportunities.

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After all the walking, we settled down to a nice cup of tea before heading to the supermarket for supplies on our way back to the hotel.

Tomorrow we leave the Netherlands and head back into Germany, it’s a long day of driving,  so an early night and early start tomorrow morning.

2014 European Adventure Netherlands
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Wednesday, 16th July – Zoetermeer to Amsterdam

A lazy start to the day as we slept in and packed up to leave our apartment in Zoetermeer to move on to Amsterdam.

On the way we stopped to look at the Riekermolen Windmill and had lunch in the AmstelPark.

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Arriving at our hotel we quickly checked in, dropped our gear off and then jumped on the bus right outside the door for a ten minute trip into the city. So much to see in Amsterdam, it’s hectic, very busy and full of tourists from literally all over the world. The historic buildings are all huge and if you can look past the ridiculous number of people, the cobblestone alleyways and canals are quite enchanting.

We literally walked around for hours and hours checking out all the sights, stopping in at a pub or two for a water/beer and tried to absorb the atmosphere. Amsterdam is not just a city all about legalised cannabis usage or prostitution – although of course we saw plenty of both, it’s also quite beautiful in its own right.

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We found our way back to the hotel (we knew what station we had to get off this time), for an early night in preparation for a big day tomorrow.

2014 European Adventure Netherlands
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Tuesday, 15th July – The Hague and Leiden

With a big day ahead we were up and on our way to the station by 9:30am. It cost 6 euro for both of us to get the light rail to The Hague.

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Once out of the station we walked around and through the Haagse Bos a rectangular forest in the middle of the city. The “Act of Redemption”, was signed in 1576 declaring that no further cutting or sale of the forest would be permitted. This law still stands today to protect this amazing forest.

We walked through the forest to see the Palace Huis Ten Bosch, a Royal Palace. It is one of three official residences of the Dutch Royal Family.

After this fairly decent walk we stopped for a coffee and then continued on into the City Centre, where Keith visited the Escher museum – M.C. Escher is a Dutch Graphic Artist.

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Across from the museum was a pretty park where we had our lunch – Keith may have finally found the right sized piece of cake!

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We walked back through the city toward the train station and saw some cool art, as well as a few pretty canals and statues.

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We bought our train tickets to Leiden and return to Zoetermeer – surprised by how expensive it was, 21 Euro!! Once we got to Leiden however, it became clear it was totally worth the price of the tickets. Leiden is absolutely amazing! Like in Bruges, we spent most of our time walking around with mouths open or smiling at each other stupidly.

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And due to popular demand here is a pic of us!

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We had an amazing ‘Linner’ (Lunch/Dinner) at De Engelenbak and then reluctantly walked back to the station to return to the apartment in Zoetermeer.

When you’re travelling you can often make ‘Rookie Mistakes’. We made one today that was pretty funny.

We jumped on public transport this morning from Zoetermeer, so when we bought our ticket back from Leiden that’s what we called it… Umm not correct! We got off the train at Zoetermeer, looked around the platform, then at each other and cracked up. This wasn’t the station we’d gotten on.

After chatting to a really nice local we realised that there was another station called Zoetermeet Oost. So we got back on another train to that station. Umm not correct!

Now we were puzzled, we knew we were staying at Zoetermeer, what was our train station called? So we got on the WiFi hotspot (again thank goodness for this purchase) and quickly realised that we’d actually got on the Light Rail this morning at Zoetermeer Centruum West.

So back on another train for just one stop, then changed to the Light Rail and made it back finally. Lesson learnt – always make sure you are 100% certain of the name of your departing location haha.

Once back we enjoyed a glass or two of red, looked through the photos and fell in love all over again with Leiden.

2014 European Adventure Netherlands

Monday, 14th July – Zoetermeer

Hooray for a great sleep in.

Today was all about catching up on washing, blogs, budget admin and relaxing, nothing really exciting to update. The highlight of our day was watching a little bird build this nest to try and attract a girlfriend!

We had a lovely home cooked meal. How fancy are we with our plastic cutlery, plates and paper towel placemats?

Huge day planned tomorrow – The Hague and Leiden.

2014 European Adventure Netherlands

Sunday, 13th July – Cologne to Zoetermeer

Today we made our way out of Germany to The Netherlands. We will return to criss cross through Germany a number of times. Heading to Dusseldorf we drove through and saw only a little of Cologne – a destination we will most definitely have to try to revisit again.

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Arriving pretty early in Dusseldorf on a Sunday morning meant that we were able to look around without a lot of other tourists. Dusseldorf was a lot bigger than we had expected. The town centre is nearly all cobbled streets and appears very traditional. We saw many locals dressed in traditional uniform/costume for Sunday services.

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After a quick coffee we began our journey to The Netherlands. We are staying in an apartment in Zoetermeer, centrally located to Rotterdam, The Hague and Leiden.

Not checking in until later in the evening we used the afternoon to walk around and check out Rotterdam. First stop the Euromast Tower. This is an observation tower that looks over the entire city and stands approximately 101 metres tall. We decided to fork out the steep 10 Euro per person entry fee to see the view. We had no idea once reaching the very top you sit in the ‘dish’ and it spins around for 360 degree views. It was a bit like a roller coaster, spinning and dropping at times. It was fantastic and the views were amazing but at times scared the ‘Bejeebers’ out of Bec!

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After our roller coaster experience on the Euromast Tower we went for a walk through the park across the road and had some lunch. On the way back to the car we noticed that some daredevils were actually abseiling down the Tower.

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As we will be in the same spot for a few days, we spent some time in a huge supermarket getting supplies for some home cooked meals.

We met the owners of the apartment we’re staying in. It was an interesting experience as we only spoke English and they only spoke Dutch. We then settled in for the night with a bottle of red and had a good nights sleep.

2014 European Adventure Germany Netherlands