Thursday, 7 July 2016

We Awoke To Low Clouds,

flooding the valley,

but nothing could dampen our spirits,

as we loaded into the coach,

soon the sun was up,

and we stopped for a photo shoot,

over looking the river,

a panorama of the scene,

you can guess our next stop by the windmill,


as always I am amazed at the truck and car stops,

ture enough I have not used one recently in the UK,

but there were nothing like these when I did last visit one,

the food was excellent,

and plenty of it,

and talk about spoiled for choice,

the displays on offer,

just went on and on,

even whole salmon and seafood were here,

a duck, I am not sure which species it is, but I have not seen one of these before,

now we know we are definitely in Holland,

a windmill made into a house,

evidently a local attraction,

thankfully the owners do not seem to mind the attention,

one of our group kindly took our picture together,

in the distance a nest,

with two storks,

nesting on it, and why do storks fly all the way from Africa to nest here in Holland? have a look here to see,

our next stop for today,

a clog and cheese farm,

also selling tulips,

first into the clog making department,

with its assortment of machinery,

but first,

the owner gave us an introduction,

into how clogs were made, in all shapes,


and colours,

we were told by the farm's owner and clog maker about the history of wearing clogs,

a demonstration was given,

to form the rough shape of a clog,

then Megan took center stage,

as she took on the role of pupil,

basically the machine has a completed shoe, which it duplicates on to the blank piece of wood, mimicking the shape of the original,

the owner showed us a few different types of clog, ones with large soles for walking in especially damp bogs, and these fitted with ice skating blades,

in the next building, a cheese making demonstration was being given,

we were taken from the finished product,

to the early stages,

of production,

and fermentation,

the finished product,


upon shelf of them,

I could not help but notice this cuckoo clock,

the farm has been in the same family for 150 years, so I am guessing this clock might have some age to it,

cheese as far as the eye could see,

I am sorry,

but I could not help thinking about,

all of the family are involved at the farm,

clogs and more clogs,

demonstration over,

it was time to meet the production side of the operation,

this one born only yesterday,

one of our group makes a fuss of it,

another photo shoot,

a look at the farms tools of yesteryear,

tour finished and we were out in the sunlight,

if you want to visit the clog and cheese farm this is it, Clara Maria or you give it its full name, Clara Maria Kaas- & Klompenmakerij

we booked into our next hotel,

which was the nicest yet,

we waited in the lounge,

for the group to assemble,

then we were off,

past the hotel sign,

into the coach,

and away,

passing this roundabout,

with I think onions flowering,

and into the city,

of Amsterdam,

where there is this huge sign,

to have your picture taken by, but be warned, one of our group climbed on top of it and slipped off, resulting in a badly sprained ankle, it could have been much worse,

a quick pose,

and we were off,

walking to the Amsterdam Museum, also known as the Rijksmuseum, it is a Dutch national museum dedicated to the arts and history of and in Amsterdam,

and under it, 

the museum had a show, Japan Modern, showing through till September 11th.

walking through we noticed this attractive building on the other side of it,

we crossed the road,

to the canal,

and boarded our river boat, and were greeted by these nice looking Hydrangeas,
we took a slow cruise,

along some of the waterways,

included were 3 drinks to go with our meal,

we settled down,

and watched the scenes,

of life,

on the canals,

slip by,

as other craft traveled past,

this was so nice,

we passed under,

one of the many bridges,

and local landmarks,

the river side lined with boats housing families,

and on the road huge 5 or 6 floor buildings,

some with iron girders still in place for when they were used as warehouses,

and with ornamental facades above the doors,

just here if you look carefully,

you can see 5 bridges at once,

I tried counting them, but boats kept getting in the way,

so I just had to sit back,

and relax,


we briefly stopped,

for our meals to be brought onboard,

as you might have guessed,

a pizza for Diana,

tuna salad for myself,

we passed riverside bars,

and deserted stretches of canals,

but at this place there were huge crowds, it was the house of Anne Frank, even in the rain the queue was huge,

there were fantastical buildings,

and signs on the river side,

and bicycles, so many bicycles, we were told that there is 3 meters of water in the canals and every year when they are dredged the authorities find one meter of mud, one meter of bicycle and one meter of water for the boats, it appears it is a common thing to steal a bicycle ride it nearly home then chuck it into the canal, 

our tour over,

we made our way,

back under the museum,

and took a stroll,

and took a few pictures,

on the way,

on thing to remember if you do ever visit Amsterdam, or I guess Holland for that matter,

here the bicycle is king,

step into a bicycle lane without looking and you will be run over, the riders will not give way,

and if you think it is safe to cross on a green pedestrian crossing sign, forget it! bicycle riders do not stop at red lights, 

we all meet up,

to make our way back to the bus,

passing the Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky, I remember it well, many years ago I attended an oil and gas show at the Rai Center here in Amsterdam, also staying at the hotel, Duncan, Harry Baxter and Ian Lynch, it was at the time one of the biggest oil and gas hardwear production shows in Europe, I am not going to say much other than we had a great time!

on the other hand this I thought dreadful, an artist had painted a picture on a hoarding by one of the Dutch masters, which had then been vandalised with white paint, why only this one? who knows, but what a shame that the mindless had to ruin the work of another, still you know what they say about vandals, 'if one of their brain cell died the other one would die of loneliness',

Amsterdam, canals, bicycles, well we just had to have Diana with all three,

it was time to go,

as we passed this restaurant it reminded us so much of the one we went to in Singapore,

it had been raining on and off all day,

so no surprises to see a rainbow from the coach, a pot of gold at the end of it?

the aircraft just missed it,

as we speed out of the city,

there were some fantastical buildings,

near the motorway,

we watched the sun go down,

we soon arrived at our hotel,

a nightcap,

and couple of complimentary key rings or earrings if you prefer from the canal cruise, then for us we were off to bed.

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