Day 14 - Day 1, TTEE 2008. London - Amsterdam

Trip Start Jul 27, 2008
Trip End Sep 11, 2008

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Where I stayed

Flag of Netherlands  , Noord-Holland,
Sunday, August 10, 2008

So this morning I woke early, actually considering I don't think I slept at all last night I can't really say that I woke at 5 this morning, but was already awake.  Libbee is wonderful and while I was having my morning shower she made me a coffee, walked me to the car and off I went.  Now I was truly on my own.  I went to the Ibis London Earls Court Hotel to meet with the tour this morning at 6am.  Yeah way too early for little old me.
Finally left the hotel about 6.45am and headed to the Trafalgar Tour Centre to pick up the remainder of the guests traveling.  We headed out of London about 7.30 / 8am this morning and headed to Dover where we caught the ferry across to Calais, France.  The White Cliffs of Dover where amazing and certainly lived up to what I was hoping.  Pictures will be attached at some point I am sure. 
The ferry across was uneventful, lasted about an hour and half.  Had breakfast on the ferry and when we arrived in Calais we all got back on the bus, with a new driver and headed off.  We are now leaving Calais for Belgium and then The Netherlands.  We are staying Amsterdam this evening. 
I cannot believe that I am finally here, finally on my trip, finally on my European Tour.  Finally...  I have met some wonderful people already.  A lovely young lady from Canada, Kristie and her mother Jo-Anne.  We are all sitting together on the bus so this will be an awesome trip I can feel it.  Other people though are not as friendly, they seem to really stick to themselves and their partners, or the people they have come on the tour with, but then again this is only the first day so hopefully people will mellow out a little over time.
From Calais we are heading North West, still in France to Belgium.  The most prominent sights so far in the towns that we are passing by are the steeples from the many many churches.  I have this feeling that I am going to be seeing a whole lot of churches here in Europe.
We have just stopped for a quick toilet break here at the Netherlands border from Belgium.  There are no guards, no actual borders, and so no more stamps for me (I did get one leaving Dover this morning, a French one).    I think the reason throughout Europe is due to them all becoming One Europe back in January 20023 and going to the same currency.
Can you believe that you have to pay to pee here in Europe, granted it is only about €.25 or .35 but still you have to pay to pee.
We are now heading to Amsterdam, where tonight we are doing a canal cruise, dinner and then a walk through the red light district.  Mmm, maybe I might visit one of those 'cafes' hehehehe.  Not...  In these cafes, apparently you can smoke has at 100%, because smoking tobacco is prohibited, this law came in to July 2008.  You are also allowed to carry about 5grams without being arrested.
The Netherlands is completely flat, so far today I have not seem a single hill or mountain.
Windmills here - the cool ones, not the electrical ones - are still controlled by man.  Turned on and turned off etc.
Did you know that Rembrandt and Van Gogh are actually from the Netherlands?  I didn't...
Ok tonight was very very interesting.  The canal cruise was wonderful, a great and an awesome way to the see the city and everything from the little cruise boats and the canals.  Then off to the Sea Palace for dinner.  This was delicious.  It was all you can eat Dutch and Indonesian, as well as all you can drink and dessert.
After dinner the fun part...  We went for a walk through the red light district here in Amsterdam.  And man I thought that I was pretty open minded and had seen a lot, but this is something completely out of my world.  The working girls, sit around in their little rooms, in their barely there lingerie waiting.  You are not allowed to take photos of the girls, which was a shame because you have to see it to believe it.  I also think that I got a little stoned just from walking the streets.  I mean this is the place to be for sure....  It is such an open town, open to anything and everything.  And it smells, that would be the dope though.
All in all I have ended up having a wonderful time today.  I am glad that I have meet Kristie and Jo-Anne.  So I have people to hang with and chat with.  Oh yeah my camera battery went dead.  Oops, but hopefully that will be rectified.
6am wake up call, off to bed now.
You know you love me
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