Next day we had our biggest driving day from Berlin to Amsterdam 700 km on the Autobahn. We made good tracks getting out of the hostel on time, piling into the bus and getting comfortable for the long drive ahead. We were all keeping our eye out of the window for any insanely expensive luxury cars going whizzing past us when next thing we see every lane slowing down. Very strange for this stretch of road. Much to our dismay the traffic had come to a complete stand stop with ambulances and car removal trucks parting the traffic to make its way through. Turns out a truck had had an accident causing one fatality and 4 others injured. Needless to say this crash took HOURS to clean up and the traffic was entirely at a standpoint! So we hopped out and hurriedly set up our lunch station before the traffic got moving again. Which of course turned out to be exactly just when we had set up haha always the way.
When we finally got on our way we cheered and fist pumped ready to get cracking on the time we had already lost! When the traffic started slowing AGAIN and next thing we are driving past ANOTHER upturned truck with TURKEYS running around and some who were, well…not. We could NOT believe the incredible bad luck we had had on our way but these things you just cant anticipate. In the end we only got into Amsterdam at 12.30 that night! One night wasted in the beautiful Amsterdam city.
We were eager to get up and get started on our day with so much to fit in. We started off with our organised bike tour of the city. The beauty of Amsterdam is that the city with its canals has ample paths and roads either side, which make it easy to navigate around the city. We followed our tour guide through the streets getting the hang of all the wild traffic not only from buses but also from the MASS amounts of bikes on the paths. There were practically whole FAMILIES on these bikes!!! One mother carries her baby on her, a kid in the front basket and another sitting on the back. No word of a lie! Who needs family cars when you can get family bikes? We raced past the I Amsterdam sign, stopping in Vondel (pronounced fondle) park, which ironically is known for the legality of sexual activity in the park after dark! We also passed a sculpture made by Van Gogh which showed where the sea level is. Amsterdam is actually below sea level which is the reason for all of the canals in the city! Next our tour guide assured us he knew the best cafe with apple strudel and he did NOT disappoint. They were AMAZING!!!! I have never tasted anything apple-y sooo good! Warm and juicy with sugar on top. I wish I could go back and have one right NOW!
Unfortunately for us that really is the only thing we can give our guy credit for because soon after that our tour ended and the other group managed to get an extra 45 minutes PLUS stop at the I Amsterdam sign. Though we were given that bit of extra time to go explore the beautiful city. Tori, Luke and I invested in a days worth of bicycle hire, which proved to be extremely worth it! We raced BACK to the apple strudel bakery, which proved to be much harder without a guide because we couldn't figure out the one-way streets! We kept getting dirty looks when made our way down the wrong side! Turns out each side of the canal were a different direction (duh) and following our Australian habits we always tended to be going down the left side. Though by the end of the day we could easily have been mistaken for locals doing the as locals do on their bikes. We then made our way to dam square, which was packed! It was so busy but also really grey! There were really just big grey buildings and lots of pavement! So we rode past the main street and up to the main station that unfortunately had bulk scaffolding all over and prohibited us from seeing its true beauty. We then made our way through the red light district but clearly not really knowing the sneaky ways around. We invested in some amazing fresh fruit and fruit juice, which MUST have had beetroot in it unknowingly because it had a distinct dirt taste. The worst. Next we stopped at another square and were treated to a street dance performance from five guys doing break dancing and cool tricks. We welcomed the chance to just chill out in the square enjoying our free entertainment
From there we went to track down the I Amsterdam sign to get our typical tourist photos. Had to be done. I immediately started climbing all over it to get the happy snaps. Then the three of us sat down to enjoy our market fruits under the shade of the park trees. I don't know what it was about Amsterdam but the three of us somehow managed to be transformed back into kids mucking around attempting tricks and pulling funny poses, stealing a soccer ball and standing on each other's shoulders. It really was the perfect day
We made our way back in time to return the bikes and get ready for our early dinner on the water at an Asian restaurant. This was to be our last dinner together as a tour group so we all put in the effort to dress nice and be on our best behaviour. Before we went on our canal cruise and got unlimited drinks for an hour and a half, which of course we made full use of! The day before when we had been searching for anything to do on the long bus ride we came up with award categories to be given on the canal and these were announced all in good humour. After was the part where all but 4 would head off to the greatly anticipated sex show, while the ones who didn't want their eyes to be violated headed off to get a drink, or two, or three. I was indeed one who was not willing to pay the 25-euro along with Kim and Savvy, which I did not regret, one bit. The three of us sat around sharing stories, shouting drinks and just having a good laugh. We met the others a couple of hours later and got full details about the sex show, definitely not regretting our decision after hearing about the quality of participants.
The group of us then went and hit it up in the bars of Amsterdam with great music, great people and some great photos, In the end I have been so blessed to have gotten to know such and amazing group of people who really made the trip what it was. Thanks to all my buddies who took me under their wing, came out with me when only I was keen, made sure I got home, listened to my daggy music and taught me 500. Missing our topdeck family!