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The adventures of the Mel

Relaxing in central Holland

NETHERLANDS | Wednesday, 24 September 2008 | Views [673] | Comments [2]

You’ll be pleased to know that I think I’ve used up the last of the warm weather….I’ve been in long sleeves for nearly a week now and will probably be pasty-white by the time I return home. Pouty McPouty Pants.

However, I am pleased to report that I am finding the Netherlands fantastic, at least once I left Amsterdam! It’s funny that I said I was feeling somewhat prudish in my last post, because….well, let’s start at the start. I met Amelia, a young American girl who is travelling with her fifty-two year old mother – yep, in the hostels! I admire her, because hell, I hate dorm beds. Anyway, I ended up going out to dinner with the pair and had a lovely time, and to top it off mum ended up paying and refused to accept any money towards it! It was such a lovely act of kindness that I immediately felt better about Amsterdam. After this Amelia felt like I drink so I thought I’d accompany her briefly. As she is an attractive girl, within half an hour we were surrounded by a group of young men eager to talk to her. We ended up going out to a ‘coffee shop’ and I am still quite baffled at how I ended up there….I was talking and the next minute I was walking in somewhere with ‘green’ in its name. *shakes head*

Anyway, they lit up their joints and passed them around and I clearly declined. It was almost like I’d said ‘Let’s kill more babies by offering a 2 for 1 deal at an abortion clinic’ in the bloody Vatican. Everybody stopped and stared at me. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating, but they were certainly baffled. “Why on earth did you come to Amsterdam???” I tried to explain my ancestry but they were less than convinced. Further on I was observing the young folk (average age of about 20ish) getting high and proceedingly incoherent and illogical, when one of the youths announced that I was too reserved. What, for not succumbing to peer pressure and polluting my lungs and killing my brain cells? I laughed, but not quite as heartily when he told me that I was prudish (because I had my legs crossed). BAHAHAHA! Oh, how I wish that I had that on tape recording. See Dad, I CAN be a lady, you just have to compare me to complete knobs. *wipes tear from eye*

Anyway, I was very glad to be leaving Amsterdam and heading to Rotterdam the next morning, and I was relieved to find that I like it MUCH better. The woman at reception of my next hostel was absolutely fantastic and made me feel relaxed and at home. It’s an older crowd here who have A drink and enjoy discussing things and absorbing the atmosphere. I had one really terrible conversation with a guy from Israel about the relationship between evolution and behaviour and its implications for society….why did I leave Amsterdam again??

The hostel has themed rooms all painted reasonably brightly and decorated – mine is the ‘Park Room’ which is painted green and even has a blue-winged kookaburra stuck to the wall. The hostel also has a resident dog, Lexie who is only about 15 months old – old enough to be big but young enough to be an adorable nuisance. *sigh of contentment*

In a crude analogy I would say that Rotterdam is like Melbourne – a relaxed city with bits of parkland and high degree of multiculturalism, where Amsterdam is like Sydney – full of tourists and people doing their own thing.

ANYWAY… I walked around Rotterdam looking at nothing in particular but enjoying the feel of the city. I followed ‘Rondje Rotterdam’ signs which lead you around the city taking you past all the crazy architecture – really, they take modern architecture to an entirely different level. It also takes you past the “Walk of Fame’ with famous people from the Netherlands (and others that come to visit). Many notable (and not notable) names are here, from Barry White to Roxette to Gloria Estafan to Shrek and Mickey Mouse and even, God help us all, 3T. Some things should be a forgotten memory. This is definitely one of them. *shudders*

There is also a nice park here, Het Park which would be really nice to relax in if it wasn’t so damn cold and wet!

Yesterday I did a day trip to two other cities, Den Haag and Delft. I was really looking forward to visiting Delft and so I was pleasantly surprised when I really enjoyed Den Haag. I had no idea what was here, I just turned up at the tourist office and asked for information. Imagine my pleasant surprise when the smiling information woman told me that I could go and see Vermeer’s famous Girl with a Pearl Earring (that a novel was written on which was consequently made into a film) and almost the entire collection of M.C. Escher!! Woohoo!!!

So off I trundled. First stop was Mauritshuis where Vermeer’s painting was to be found. Unfortunately no pictures are allowed, but you probably know what she looks like anyway. She was smaller than I had imagined, but she was just beautiful. Not quite the complete WOW factor of seeing David in the ‘flesh’, but her gentle beauty is more infiltrating up close.

After this I headed to the Escher museum, which was bloody fantastic. Everybody is familiar with many of his pieces and it was interesting to watch the evolution of his work and when he started playing around with perspective. I had a ball walking around and looking at the plethora of eye candy and yes, I’m referring to his work, not people. I gloated sufficiently to Andrew, who I did actually wish was with me because they have an ‘Escher Room’ where you too can play with perspectives and appear large or small depending on where you stand. I took too many photographs of images I am familiar with and some that were new.

Afterwards I walked around the city for a while and took in the surrounds. Although not conventionally beautiful like Delft, Den Haag has an allure that will ensure I return. Stupid not being able to cross countries off my list. Grumble, grumble. On my way home I thought I’d stop in via Delft in case it started raining today, and I was not disappointed with the aesthetics before me. Cobblestone streets pave alongside narrow canals inhabited by ducks, moorhens and plantlife. Bikes flitter in and out, some chained to posts in various states of new and decay, and people stroll around enjoying the air, despite the fact that it was cold and about to rain. Technically no real major attractions here aside from the beauty of the town, which suited me fine because I didn’t get there till five!

I strolled around admiring the canals and the streets until it started raining reasonably heavily. I stopped for dinner at a small restaurant and had an amazing vegetarian lasagne and then headed home. I was pleased to finally see my first windmill (well, here in Holland anyway!)

Wearily headed home to be greeted by a hyperactive Lexie and eventually head to bed. Off to Maastricht tomorrow for a few days before heading into Germany. It’s supposed to be gorgeous, so they may yet again be an overabundance of photos for you to scroll through…I know how much you hate that!

Hope you’re well!!


Rotterdam photos

Den Haag and Delft photos




I wished I'd been there to hear you called prudish!
I have never said that you were not a lady, but I never said that you were, either.....

  Dad Sep 28, 2008 11:31 AM


OMG! 3T!!!

  Tess Sep 28, 2008 5:04 PM

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