We have been frugal.
We spent a couple of days wandering in and around Amsterdam, before hunkering down to the task of finding a way to our next destination, whatever that might be.
Amsterdam looks like this
Construction. That's not a canal yet, just the photo of one.
A yellow pumpkin growing in a fence.
We went to the Heineken Experience, which is cool when you're checking out the large-scale brewing set-up that they used to use. Also cool, in a way, was the 'Brew You Ride' which is kind of a 4-D experience of sorts. Lots of giggling. There's a whole advertising room, with a bunch of gigantic TVs showing different images with loud dance music playing - makes you want to drink a Heineken. And then you get a couple of free beers.
We ate out at a Spanish Tapas Bar, where we ordered Paella - yuuummm. The street we were on was moving, but not super busy. Then we went around the corner a couple of blocks and came upon the Cover Band Battle. A fella did a surprisingly fantastic Eddie Vedder, Pearl Jam's I'm Still Alive. Then we walked around and saw this! Mendo!
Sail Amsterdam 2010 is happening right now - 5 days of hundreds of ships and boats crowding the canal just a block or two away from Paul & Marieke's flat. Lucky us. It is a madhouse over there, but in a controlled, calm, fun, relaxed way.
In the foreground you see tiny sailboats, those are piloted by children. On the right in the water you can see a splash, where some kind of wakeboard via zip line thing is going on. And then there's that gigantic sailboat. Not to mention the hundreds of people walking along the canal.
Hundreds of people, moving somewhat like the bike traffic - calm, close, mostly avoiding each other. But sometimes they do run into each other, just a little. And then they just ignore it. Nobody was getting frustrated about the slowness of the crowd, or how some people just stop in the middle of the path to take a photo. They just go around. Patience.
And in the water, everyone is floating on a loop.
Royal Navy of Oman
Giant. Amerigo Vespucci.
The photo below was really not about us. I was hoping to get a shot of the woman with her baby carriage, carrying a tray of beer. Yes, there was a baby in there, too...
From the rooftop of Paul & Marieke's we saw this baby cruising by. Must be another canal over there. (Hint - look for the mast and sails on the skyline).
And we also got to see a lot of these.
Fireworks, Thursday through Sunday. And they are outrageous!
On our tour of the tall ships, we saw a little sign about the Maybe, with a piece of paper taped up that said they were looking for anyone who wanted to come aboard and sail with them to Whitby, England, via the Fresian Islands and Bremerhaven, Germany. Intriguing. We thought about it a minute, and decided to check out where Whitby is, and the Fresian Islands. What did we find? Whitby is just south of Newcastle. So we went back to meet the folks. They are very nice, and welcoming. Fred, one of the crew, tells us that the bikes shouldn't be a problem and that they're not sure if they're stopping in Bremerhaven.
We have been looking for ways to travel to the UK, and we'd settled on a ferry from close to Amsterdam to Newcastle. We'd even bought the ticket, thinking we'd travel north into Scotland and then take a ferry over to Bergen, Norway. But we haven't been able to find a boat to take us from Scotland to Norway, and the only option is to fly. We entertained that plan until we found out that our bikes would go standby - maybe they'd fit on the plane, maybe not. And if not, they'd come on the next flight. Probably.
So a sail boat, to Whitby...
In the end we decided to check it out and make sure we could take our bikes on the Maybe without getting them encrusted with salt. We also decided not to take the flight, but to see if we could ride the boat as far as Bremerhaven, and ride our bikes from there to the ferry from Denmark to Norway. As of now, we're getting on the boat tonight or tomorrow morning. And they will probably drop us in Bremerhaven, unless they don't go that far, in which case they're dropping us somewhere north and east of where we are now. Which is basically good. But the captain has already said he'll figure out a way to convince us to just stay on the boat all the way to England.