What a contrast today as been, I started off in the little traditional German town of Boppard and finished in the Sin city of Amsterdam.
I set off early and crossed the border into the Netherlands, our first stop was the traditional town of Zane Shaanes to see the oldest windmills in the Netherlands. We had a group photo there and I was a little sad, thinking that this was the second last day of the tour with my awesome group. The windmills were impressive and the little town they were in was very cute. There were other smaller windmills in the fields and I would have liked to go and sit under them in the wheat, but alas I was working and didn't have time.
Our next stop was the small fishing town of Volendam, apparently if you go here you will discover the meaning of life. Unless the meaning of life is these tiny little pancakes you eat with a toothpick, I have no idea what they are talking about, its just a little touristy village. I did get to paddle in the North Sea, which as it turns out wasn't quite as cold as I was prepared for, then again, my perception of cold is somewhat altered these days. Kind of like my perception of what a decent toilet was in Africa near the end.
We had a brief stop at the a Cheese and Clog demonstration before checking into the hotel, which as it turns out was miles out of Amsterdam itself. I got everyone checked in quickly and met the lady in charge of our operations there. I went and had a quick dinner before ushering everyone back on the bus to get in for our Red light walking tour of Amsterdam.
I met our guide Mark, who was a very flamboyant man, wearing a cap with an orange pom pom on the top. He took one look at the group and said, I don't think I'm going to be able to do this, its illegal to guide with more than 40 people, they consider it a parade. I immediately said, Ok then, whats the solution to this, I can't just tell them the tours off. In the end, Mark ended up calling for another guide so we could split the group up. Unfortunately, then we had to wait for 20 minutes in Dam square for the other guide to turn up.
I managed to cover this up pretty well, I gave them all 20 minutes free time and got Mark to point out where the nearest toilets were, while we waited for the other guide. Mark turned to me and said, Well that was clever, very quick thinking. I looked at him and said, When there's a problem, you rarely ever need to tell the passengers, its my job to worry about it and there's no point in stressing them out on their holiday.Eventually, the other guide turned up, and I split the group in two, which actually worked out better as some people had brought their kids along!
I made group 1 the party group doing Marks history of prostitution, not going home until the early hours of the morning and I made the other group, the history of Amsterdam tour and very G rated going back to the hotel with Gary at 9pm.
I set off with the party group with Mark and boy was this the most R rated walking tour I had ever done, but it was also the most fun and I can't remember when I had giggled so much. He took us past the condom shop, the girls in the windows and the most famous sex theatre in the world. After the tour he took us to one of the best coffee shops in town, yes one of those coffee shops and said goodbye.
Most people still decided to go back to the hotel after that, but a select few of us were game to stay out and really experience this place. We started with the coffee shop across the street and yes, I did give a few things a go, but the same as always, the happy plant, doesn't seem to have any effect on me what so ever. The coffee shop was one of the most dingiest places id ever been in, my feet stuck to the floor, their was graffiti all over the walls and a haze of smoke lingered over a red pool table that had obviously seen better days.
We moved onto the pub and I was reunited with my good friend Jack Daniels and the biggest cigar I had ever smoked. Most of the night is a bit of a haze, I do remember wanting to dance and I remember other people basically dragging me out of the pub and into a taxi, as we had missed the expat organized transfer back to the hotel.