7 July 2005 :We woke up early to be in time for breakfast and to departure for Amsterdam. The bad luck was the heavy rain! When the rain stopped, we found the chance to load our luggage at the bikes. Thankfully, Amsterdam was away only 200km., so we didn’t have stress.
The time was 11.00am. and decided to leave. Went to the ring and took the road to Antwerp. Unfortunately, instead of taking the autobahn A1, we took A12, that at the beginning is an autobahn and later becomes a national road, without however singularly problems. When we reached the regional of Antwerp, found terrible traffic and the signs didn’t help at all because of the works. We followed the route to Breda (A1), next to Rotterdam, Utrecht and Amsterdam.
Until before the border between Holland – Belgium, that were found when you meet on your right the enormous windmills of Aeolian energy, the rain was chasing us at times. This fact and the need to refuel, made us stop at the last gas station at the Belgium territory – thankfully since the price of gas in Holland were about 1.4euro/lt!!!. When we got in Holland not only the rain stopped, but it was also sunny, that made our mood better… good sign!!!
Had reached the regional of Amsterdam, followed the signs to the centre, after we stopped a while to see how we would reach the hotel we found in the internet. With the map we had, found it easily, but we didn’t have the same luck with the rooms, it were taken! It was suggested to ask at a tourist office that was at the centre of the city. We found the office, but didn’t find anything cheap at the centre with parking. Additional, the office wanted commission. Finally, by chance, we found a pansion, characteristic of the city. Old house, narrow and small rooms, that you got in from a small and narrow ladder… The role of the reception, was a pub at the ground floor… The role of the owner a “mad” Irish woman (telling all the time: relax darling!).
We put our stuff at the rooms, wore light clothes, since the weather was good, tied our bikes between them at a pavement near the hotel, took the tour guide and the map of the city, with the sight-seeing marked from the “mad” owner of the hotel and started.
We reached the famous central square Dam, that was fully crowded. Went over the Raadhuisstraat and crossed the main canals until the Wasterkerk, that were disposed a tower with the height 85m., the highest of the city. At the shadow of the church we found the statue of Anna Frank. At the canal that was near by, found the chance to see many of the waterborne houses. Afterwards, went to the colorful Bloemenmarkt (flower market), the Rembrandtplein, one of the center of the night life and the “bridge of the 15 bridges”. At last, went to the known Red Light District that was near our hotel.
It took us impression the many bicycles that had the absolute right of way at the streets… probably more than the people on foot!!! What surprised us were the locks of the bicycles that were much better than those that we used to lock our bikes.
After we fooled around the Red Light area, where we met groups of Japanese and families who walked around with us, tasted the Arabic cookery of a restaurant and walked at the paved roads until late…
When we returned at the hotel, found the owner that we gave cockade of the club, so he could put it at the pub’s collection. Spoke a little for our trip and Greece, as by chance he had visited. About 3.00pm went to sleep…