22 – 23 July 2010
In the Netherlands we made a stop off at Edam, the place the cheese is named after. In Edam we visited a clog shop and were given an impressive demonstration of how a clog is made from a solid block of wood. This guy took a piece of wood and within five minutes had created the basic clog shape including the hollow foot section all using traditional tools; a long cutting knife flexibly hinged at one end and various hand drill sizes to hollow out the foot. Our clog maker enthusiastically explained all the advantages of clogs; waterproof, quickly and cheaply made, orthopaedic, strong and adaptable. To demonstrate how strong they were he used one clog as a hammer in the process of making another and to show how adaptable they were he showed us clogs with small ski’s with wheels nailed to the bottom to form some crazy skiing skating contraption; pretty cool.
After the clog demonstration we had cheese tasting in the next room. There were about seven varieties of cheeses most of which were smoked in some way and were not to my taste however the last couple of varieties were harder, stronger and not smoked, quite nice.
For our final Edam experience we were taken on a brief canal cycle tour. We were given the classic old style bikes which had no brakes on the handlebars, only the back pedal braking system. I think everyone really enjoyed this short social bike ride.
Onwards we drove to our hotel in Amsterdam. Amsterdam, the European capital of sex, drugs and rock n roll; actually it’s just sex and drugs but they do these two very well.
That evening we went into the Red Light District and Ray gave us a tour of the various streets, bars and coffee shops so that we could properly experience the culture of Amsterdam.
The following day was a ‘free day’; most of the group did an optional pedal powered boat trip along the numerous canals to the Anne Frank museum. I had a quick look at the Heineken Brewery, before meandering through various street markets on my way to the Anne Frank museum. In the end I didn’t go inside her house as there was a long queue and I haven’t read the book, however the book is now on my to do list; apparently it is one of the most translated books in the world.
That evening we all went out for an optional dinner, funnily we seemed to be eating buffet Chinese food in Amsterdam and it was average. After dinner we essentially had our final activity as a group, we went on a canal boat ride through some of Amsterdam’s canals while sipping alcoholic beverages. It was nice to have the whole group together, to chat and take some final photos before the coach journey back to London early the following morning.