The Netherlands

So it goes like this…… We drove into Amsterdam, set up camp and hit a ‘coffee shop’. 3 days later we found ourselves surrounded by empty chip packets with some weird stains on our clothes. The end.
OK so we did get high heaps but we actually did some stuff too! We crossed the practically non-existent border from Belgium into the Netherlands and headed for Rotterdam via the Delta Works.

Stopping for lunch overlooking some of the reclaimed land next to the water

Stopping for lunch overlooking some of the reclaimed land next to the water

The Delta Works are a series of pumping stations, locks, dykes, channels and ditches that have allowed the Dutch to reclaim much of their land from the North Sea. Almost half of the Netherlands is below sea level. It is therefore a constant battle between man and nature. Man seems to be winning here though – the Delta Works are one of the 7 wonders of the modern industrial world, and yet another Dutch engineering feat.

Part of The Delta Works

Part of The Delta Works

We stuck to the minor coastal roads (Oostburg, Middelburg, Burgh-Haamstede, Ouddorp, Rotterdam), enjoying the scenic views of the countryside and crossing bridges overlooking the famous pumping stations and locks.

DSC_0120

There were so many free and beautiful places that you could stop to camp. Little inland beaches and grassy riverbanks everywhere.

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We chose to do a city camp on the outskirts of Rotterdam as it was a fleeting visit. (Maybe we also wanted to stop and get some ‘take-out’ from a local ‘coffee shop’ heheh).
Rotterdam is a very industrial city. It is also home to the third largest shipping harbour in the world (behind Singapore and Shanghai). The modern architecture also pays homage to the impressive shipping industry.

The Erasmus Bridge in Rotterdam - looks very harp-like

The Erasmus Bridge in Rotterdam – looks very harp-like

We were heaps interested in the shipping aspect of Rotterdam so we jumped on a ferry for a 75 minute Rotterdam Harbour Tour.

The SS Rotterdam, seen from our ferry. First Launched in 1958, it is now a floating hotel on a permanent mooring

The SS Rotterdam, seen from our ferry. First Launched in 1958, it is now a floating hotel on a permanent mooring

For such a huge harbour it was surprisingly quiet and orderly. Thousands upon thousands of containers lined the harbour side like lego blocks.

Some of the thousands of containers. Our Troopy sailed from Australia to the UK in a 20 ft container

Some of the thousands of containers. Our Troopy sailed from Australia to the UK in a 20 ft container

Massive gantry arm cranes were suspended in mid-air ready to load the ships.
The tour provided a great snapshot of what Rotterdam was all about.

An automatised crane  loads containers onto a ship

An automatised crane loads containers onto a ship

On our way out we stopped off to see the Windmills of Kinderdijk. The 19 windmills have been in use since the 1700’s and the area is now a UNESCO world heritage site.

The 19 Windmills of Kinderdijk. Used to pump water since the 1700's

The 19 Windmills of Kinderdijk. Used to pump water since the 1700’s

Now for the best part – Amsterdam! I haven’t really been before, but Jerome did 4 years ago with his mate Lockie and brother Sebastian. Amsterdam is definitely a lad destination! We picked a city camp (Camp Zieburg) and set up base there for 3 nights.

Pulling into Camp Zieberg. Vibrant, great atmosphere and a good location on the river but close to town

Pulling into Camp Zieberg. Vibrant, great atmosphere and a good location on the river but close to town

Our first port of call was a tour of the famous majuriana coffee shops and Red Light District in The Dam. Man this place was loose! I am pretty naive sometimes, so it was eye-opening to see a bunch of almost-naked girls standing in little windows touting for business. It was even more crazy with a huge joint in your hand out in the open.

Walking into The Dam

Walking into The Dam

The vibe was chilled and friendly. We explored the city on foot, taking in the beautiful canals and skewed buildings that seemed to be holding each other up. The shops were as follows: ‘Coffee shop, snack shop, sex shop, restaurant, prostitute, coffee shop, pub, snack shop, paraphernalia shop, prostitute….
We had a romantic evening blazing a fat spliff at the base of a huge phallic Homomonument (It’s real name) whilst watching the sun go down 😉

Over the next few days we did lots of sightseeing whilst being very careful to take plenty of breaks for hash ice cream and space cakes.

One of the attractions that we visited was the fascinating and gruesome Gunther von Hagens Body World exhibition. Gunther von Hagens is an eccentric chap whom people can donate their bodies to in the name of science. Mr Hagens preserves their bodies by plasticising them before slicing, dicing and dissolving in order to show you how the body works. This is my third Body Works exhibition and I would recommend it to anyone. Absolutely fascinating.

Gunther

Jerome was very brave one evening and decided to drive the Troopy through the centre of Amsterdam via the tight and confusing canal roads. We were surrounded by stoned tourists and locals on pushbikes. Another unique experience!

[caption id="attachment_1001" align="alignnone" width="1000"]Pulling up to continue on foot through The Dam. Good spot! Pulling up to continue on foot through The Dam. Good spot!

After 3 days we reluctantly packed packed up camp, sobered up (!!) and started making tracks again. That’s it for now. Next we are heading to Wolfsburg (Germany) and then onto Berlin.

If you are enjoying following our blog and what we get up to please donate to our cause. There are many people back home with a spinal cord injury who would only dream of doing such a trip. They silently struggle to get by day to day, financially, physiologically and emotionally. Every donation, no matter how small counts!

https://give.everydayhero.com/au/lost-abound

Categories: Holland, Netherlands | 6 Comments

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6 thoughts on “The Netherlands

  1. Emiel

    hey g’day! 🙂
    found your blog through the 4WD Action forum. Love your Troopy and how well you’ve decked it out. I just read about your Dutch adventure. Looks like you had a great time, loved the video as well.
    My girl and I are planning an overland trip as well and we’re leaving for Europe in February from Perth.
    As I’m a Dutchy myself, I just wanted to give you a heads up on the photo of the Dam Square which is captioned as being the Homomonument. It is actually the National Monument, commemorating the fallen during World War 2 and is the center stage of Dodenherdenking, the equivalent of what we call Anzac Day Memorial Service. Het Homomonument is a triangle on the Westermarkt. The link between the two monuments is that one of the triangles of the Homomonument points directly to the National Monument, in honour of the gay & lesbian community persecuted during the war.
    anyway, whatever. haha! enjoy life on the road! 🙂
    by the way, do you guys have a facebook thingie going?

    • Hi thanks so much for the correction, I tend to google a few things to add to the blog and didn’t take enough time to research this properly. I’ll alter the post as it’s an important monument!

      Enjoy your trip let us know if you get a blog going j

      • mum

        Looking at the camp sites so close to China ,and away from everything. I cant imagine how spectacular it must be. xx

  2. mum

    you guys must have gone through withdraws after leaving holland. Sunndi has a bump.! Here for 4 days. I will take them to look at flat.House is a mess with packing. Going to block next week to finish survey, see council etc.

    • Hi I! Hahahah yeah it was a shame to leave the Netherlands. I loved that place (smoking aside) I thought it was a great place to live. Great people too. Ahhh can’t believe that Sandhya has a bump already! You must be getting heaps excited Grandma!!!! xx

      • mum

        At the block for a few days . last survey and the council tomorrow. We have finally finished the move. I was exhausted. Too much stuff ,stuffed allover the place. stacked to the ceiling. l think the flat will work out ok. Seb has 3 casual job possibilities within walking distance, which is great. I have been searching some of the places you have been at. So isolated, I cant imagine what the locals are like. And their reaction to you guys.
        It is night here and the sugar cane is being burnt. spectacular.
        XXXXXXXXXXXXX

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