Rosie’s European Adventure Part 1: Amsterdam and Arnhem

So our summer adventure begins.  One of our longest legs in the journey is from home to Harwich, but the roads were surprisingly quick. We arrive early for our ferry – let’s call it a ship because it was huge, a floating hotel and very comfortable. Straight on no problem, straight to our cabin, a nightcap in the bar watching GB beat the Netherlands at hockey and then time for bed. Hope they don’t hold it against us for the next week.

Blimey what a loud wake up call. “Dont worry, be happy” at full blast. Not what I particularly want first thing but it did its job. We’re up!

We travel up from the Hook of Holland on great roads. Only one wrong turning but the trusty sat nag got us to Camping Zeeburg. The campsite recommended by our friend Katty was really good. Facilities were great and its position for getting into Amsterdam were excellent. We had pre-purchased a 48 hour transport ticket and used it for the tram wherever we went.

The first day we got our bearings in the city, walking the lovely canals, looking up at beautiful buildings and visiting the cathedral Neuwe Kirk.  I’ve never seen so many bicycles, even when I was in Beijing. Everybody uses them everywhere and you have to look in every direction when crossing the road or you find yourself colliding with them.  

It is a lovely friendly city and we needed to make the most of it before the rain on Sunday.  We walked to Rembrandtplein to get the tram,admiring the statues in the square before heading for the Brouwerijhetij on Funenkade, which sits beside a windmill. Dubber had a 9% beer. Thought I was going to have to carry him home!

There are two smells as you wander Amsterdam, cheese and marijuana. The first is because this very Dutch food is on sale everywhere with small tasting pieces for you to try. The second is because the drug is freely available and tolerated and so everybody seems to smoke it. 

Sunday brought torrential rain. We delayed our start for the day and had breakfast with our friends who  are sharing some of the trip with us. We knew it was going to be wet so we planned a day at the Rijksmuseum. It took several hours walking through art work that clearly showed the development of Amsterdam from the 16-20 century. We loved some of the Vermeers and paintings of this era.  So that was the city trip done. Now time to explore a more rural Holland.

Monday saw us travelling eastwards to Arnhem. Our campsite in complete contrast being relaxing and set in beautiful forest on the edge of the national park Hoge Veluwe.  It was lovely to finally set up camp at Camping Warnsborn and relax in the evening sunshine after the long walk into Arnhem and back for supplies.

This is a great campsite with a mixture of ages and nationalities in our companions. Facilities are excellent and everyone so helpful. We think our grandchildren would love it. We spend the next day going for long walks through the forest and taking some time to relax in the sunshine.  

To walk or to cycle?  The next day we opted to walk and six kilometres later we arrived at the Netherlands Openair Museum.  Wow it was worth it. We had a great day exploring the 99 buildings which had been brought there from all over Holland.  The windmills were amazing.

What a great way to finish the first stage of our summer trip. We are loving the Netherlands.