Dutch Countryside


It’s a SHLEP!

Day 12 — Red flowers and Red lights

The Flying Dutchman coffee shop and herb farming supply. You were expecting maybe pictures of chicken shaped condoms?

Day 12 — Red flowers and Red lights

The train for Amsterdam wasn’t until 2pm, so we figured we’d walk down to the Grand Place to say good bye to Brussels and see the progress that had been made on the Carpet of Flowers, the million-plus begonias, roses, zinnias, etc., that are planted in the enormous plaza once every two years.

It was supposed to be done tomorrow, but to our delight it was already completed and delighting the throngs who packed the square.  Photos in the Flickr album tomorrow.

Grabbing a couple of baguettes for the road, we headed to Brussels Midi for our train to Amsterdam.  Two uneventful hours later, we were face to face with the unbridled chaos that is Amsterdam in the summertime.  Packed with everything from Australian college kids to Bulgarian sailors and smelling like a cross between my grandmother’s sachet drawer and a skunk’s tuchis.

We quickly got our bearings and found the tram to our lovely little boutique hotel just across the street from the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum. Beautiful large room, high ceilings, air conditioning, slippers, fresh Bols Jenever in the mini fridge… This is going to be just dandy

But first, we’d booked a walking tour of the Red Light District.  Of course, we were the oldest folks in the group of about 30, and probably a little less hot and bothered by what we saw and heard than the college kids from Wisconsin or newlyweds from Germany.  But it was a lot of fun … sleazy fun.

The tour began with a stop at the town’s oldest condom shop, the Condomerie, where they had on display everything from extra small to contrabassoon.  They even had condoms in shape of farm animals, the Statue of Liberty and Eiffel Tower.

As we were led through the famous District, we learned a lot about the quirkier side of Amsterdam (which would put it in the running for quirkiest worldwide) and saw a lot of hookers, smelled a lot of dope and hash being smoked and even had the opportunity to see a sleazy Amsterdam peep show (which I’m conflicted to say, we both took!).  The canals are beautiful down there, as is the architecture.

The characters are also quite lively.

The evening brought back memories of a night I can’t remember.  And will never quite forget.

We got our feet wet and a good foundation for he five days to come


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