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.
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.
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.
There were so many free and beautiful places that you could stop to camp. Little inland beaches and grassy riverbanks everywhere.
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.
We were heaps interested in the shipping aspect of Rotterdam so we jumped on a ferry for a 75 minute Rotterdam Harbour Tour.
For such a huge harbour it was surprisingly quiet and orderly. Thousands upon thousands of containers lined the harbour side like lego blocks.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 😉
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.
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