Day 24 - Amsterdam, its full of bikes

Trip Start Apr 20, 2009
Trip End May 16, 2009

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Today, we discussed doing some shopping and going on a tour. As there was a market close to the hotel, we thought we'd go shopping first and catch a tips only tour (as we had gone on in Dublin and Prague) after lunch. First we ate breakfast, this was a lovely breakfast served by a happy and friendly lady at a cafe type thing. I ate a very nom pancake with bananas embeded. At the market, we walked up and down the street (it was a smaller version of Queen Victoria Market) and I purchased a jacket. Noni also made me purchase some boots (they were only €30). We caught the tram into the centre of town ready for the tour. We got some American chick, Noni wanted to quickly change groups but I was ready to give her a go. However, her unenthusiam, incorrect facts throughout the tour (to name one, aparently the Amsterdam people were shouting pro-socialist slogans while protesting the Nazis, ummm) and probably generally for just being American didn't make it the best tour. Not to say that Amsterdam itself wasn't amazing.

Amsterdam has leaning buildings... 1) Amsterdam is built on reclaimed land and so the foundations for the houses not that great (though they solved this a little by pumping the ground water into canals 2) The houses are narrow (house tax was calucated on the width of the house) and hence not a lot of room to get stuff up the stairs, so they have these hooks on poles at the front of the house to lift stuff to higher levels, but because Amsterdam is windy, when you lift stuff apparently it would blow back into the building; to solve this they started to build the buildings leaning into the street. We also walked through the red light district but did not take photos, not that I would have anyway. Apparently the women become quite aggressive if you take a photo and throw things at you that you would not want thrown at you.

After the tour, we had croquettes and with them, I had a Heineken. We didn't have anything else planned for the day, and we had coupons, so we decided to go to the Heineken brewery. This brewery was a bit different in that we learnt about how to make beer first, we learnt about Heineken and then how to make beer. This was done a little bit better than the other breweries too in that there was a man who explained to us in person the ingredients of beer and then the process of making beer was demonstrated as we went into a ride type exhibit and we went though the beer making process ourselves though a video/motion/heat/fans/drippers in the ceiling. The second half of the tour was dissapointing however as it was basically free market research on their part. Even the beer tasting, in which we tried this sub zero variety of Heineken which was horrible. We did get to drink another however.

We didn't really feel like dinner and so ate cheese from a supermarket and watched more TV.
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