We set off for Amsterdam in an organised fashion- Several Michelin journey plans for our route options, printed and stored in clear files, a comedy size Europe map, and a newly bought portable speaker to entertain us. The direction > Lowlands festival 15th of August, Amsterdam. Before then? After then? All a big ?
Driving through France was beautiful,
fields of sunflowers,
fields of lavender,
cute little French towns which look like a picture from a favourite fairy tale,
endless green fields which change colour as they descend.
It was very picturesque and enjoyable to drive for 7 hours straight with the view to keep us entertained.
The first night we stopped in a very small town, at a skateboard piste, we parked up and excitedly used our new bed for the first time. Sleeping like a baby on our queen size bed (In the back of our Landy camper!) we wake up to feel quite disconcerted, a feeling we become used to over the next month, waking up in very odd places, which becomes bizarrely normal- much like popping a squat.
After some Stronghold coffee and poached eggs on rye bread we set off for a full day of driving.
After a nightmarish loss of direction in Belgium- when we suddenly found ourselves driving through centre Charleroi, down narrow, dirty streets, being stared at by suspicious looking onlookers. We then found ourselves on never ending motorway systems, looping into one another, bringing us straight into Amsterdam city. Again, we cross borders unaware… No dutch dance to welcome us or nuffin…
After our one of many sleeps at a truck stop off the never ending motorway- We head into Amsterdam…
Finding a park was a nightmare- if it weren’t made entertaining by the gobsmacked onlookers as our beast of a car roars into the tiny canel side lanes- we park up for a measley 24 EUROS (1/2 day parking) and head into the crowded streets.
The first thing I see as we turn the corner, is a very red eyed man holding a chocolate waffle, salivating as he stares at it…
Yes, this is the city where tourists come to light a fat one, and eat some munchie food- as it’s so conveniently placed at every possible streetside. And very quickly you see these red eyed tourists, wandering round with their mouths open, looking like fish trying to breath out of water- groups of young men, groups of young women- come to Amsterdam for a good time. But despite this, the city immediately hits me as somewhere I really like… bikes line the bridges, the canels full of house boats, the houses misshapen and wonky, the streets narrow full of cafes, coffee houses and nicknack shops. Its very odd, but very cool.
We spend the afternoon window shopping- the amount of marijuana paraphernalia on offer is phenomenal. You can really see how Amsterdam makes its money. After a short whirl round the centre we head back to the car- a ticket would push our budget well over the edge!
Well aware we underestimated parking issues within the city, we decide to head to the coast… whats a holiday without some sun, sea and sweat?!