Europe Trip pt.6

28 Nld - Amsterdam

We left Arnhem to go further north and arrived in Amsterdam. We found a great campsite right near the centre, we got put in a row with all the other small campers.

Campers

Metro

We caught the metro into town and decided to head for the Anne Frank house, however it had a 3hr queue so we gave it a miss.

Anne Frank house

The whole city is very laid back and beautiful. Similar to Venice, some streets are connected by canals and lots of bridges.

Canal in Amsterdam

We also saw a few street shows while we walked around, performing for money.

The smell of marijuana was strong and frequent, we saw quite a few cannabis seed shops and coffee shops. Most coffee shops were busy with either tourists and local regulars.

Seed shop

We walked around the centre until we came to De Wallen, the infamous red light district of Amsterdam. This area is also the oldest part of the city, dating back to 1385!

The streets were lined with brothels, red neon lights, strip clubs and theatres. Photos were forbidden, but on the streets there were hundreds of little glass doors with prostitutes behind of all shapes and sizes. They tapped on the glass and threw glances in the hope of attracting a customer.

Moulin Rouge

On the streets there was a mix of tourists, stag parties and locals. This is something you'd have to witness to fully understand, it was an experience you wouldn't get anywhere else, in public atleast.

After a drink we headed to the Pathé Tuschinski, a cinema built in 1921. The interior was very impressive, with much of the details done in classic Art Nouveau style. We watched the new Tom Hanks film in English with Dutch subtitles.

Pathé Tuschinski

We walked back towards the station at night, where we saw a different side to Amsterdam, it was very lively with all the nightclubs and bars filling up with people.

Night

29 Nld - Amsterdam

We liked Amsterdam a lot so we decided to head back in again. We went to the Red Light museum to learn more about the place. It was interesting, we learnt about the area, laws and stories, but it was a bit tacky.

City lights

We got street noodles and ate them by the canal. On the water a lot of party boats went by, filled with people drinking and listening to music which was pretty cool.

Next we visited Ice Bar Amsterdam where we got drinks served in glasses made from ice!

Ice Bar Amsterdam

The temperature in the bar was -9.4°, we were given coats and gloves as we entered it was that cold.

Ice drinks

We walked around the city and came to a big botanical garden but it was closed.

Tiny car

All around the city these tiny cars were scooting about, sometimes in the cycle lanes. I think they are rented for inner city travel as you would with a bike.

Statue of Rembrandt

On the way back into the centre we stopped at a coffee shop and legally bought marijuana. It came pre-rolled and sealed in a little plastic tube. We spent about an hour at the coffee shop, where we also got mint leaf tea, then headed on back towards the city centre.

We walked around the centre again and as it got dark, we decided to walk down De Wallen one more time. This time the street had become much busier with all the red lit windows filled and huge crowds of people. The whole street glowed red pretty much and the prostitutes were occasionally opening the glass door, waving and stepping out.

Amsterdam

It was a shame to be leaving Amsterdam, the only capital city we visited on the trip. I think we'll definitely visit again sometime, especially as it's so close.

30 Bel - Bruges

We decided to have a chill day, following all the walking around the previous two days. We drove west across the border into Belgium, as we crossed there was a lot of deep tunnels that went under rivers and lakes.

In the Belgian supermarket, I found this Cherry flavoured beer, it was really sweet but still tasted like beer too. I might try to order some when we get back!

Finkbräu

We stopped at a campsite in Bruges, it was a pretty cool site which had a sort of hippy vibe. We made fajitas on the camping stove and just chilled at the campsite for the rest of the day.

Fajitas

31 Bel - Bruges

After reading a little about Bruges, it really sounded like a cool place with loads to do. We were able to walk into the main walled, medieval part of the town on foot.

Entrance gate

The main square in the centre is looked over by The Belfry a tall medieval bell tower.

Belfry

We had a walk down the smallest street in Bruges, De Garre.

De Garre

We visited the Blood Basilica where the blood of Christ is supposedly kept. Inside there was a queue of people waiting to receive a blessing and look at the blood.

Blood Basilica

A map we picked up had a tip that it was possible to ask at the reception of a hotel to visit the basement. Inside there was the remains of a really old cathedral, many of the walls were still intact.

Normal hotel

Ancient cathedral in the basement

We struggled to find a place to eat that wasn't over priced, so instead we went to the supermarket. We picked up some food and I found these cute tiny beer cans!

Tiny beers

Just outside the main square we found a quiet park to eat at, which worked out much better than the restaurants anyway!

Quiet park

On a street corner, someone from long ago used an upside-down cannon as a buffer to stop horse carts damaging his building...

Cannon

Across the road from the cannon, a friend had gave me a tip to visit the Beer Wall. Inside upthere was indeed a huge wall of beer and a little bar at the back.

The beer wall

I ordered a combination of beers that included four small glasses and snacks.

Afterwards we headed down the road and managed to get into the Chocolate Line shop, just before it closed.

The chocolate line

We asked for a recommendation and were given some really weird flavours, including Cabernet sauvignon flavoured with Cabernet sauvignon vinegar another containing vodka, that was nice too!

skull chocolate

32 Fra - Dunkirk

We left Belgium and headed along the coast to the town of Dunkirk, famous for being the setting of the largest evacuation in military history.

There was a really long beach that led right into the main town, we walked down it and headed for a museum.

Beach

The museum focused on Operation Dynamo, the codename given by the British at the time.

Museum

Afterwards we walked back up the coast and got a slush!

Slush

33 Fra - Dunkirk

In the morning we got the standard french coffee & croissant combo.

We walked down to the beach again, but this time we headed the other direction, away from the town centre.

Bunkers

To our surprise, there were loads of broken down bunkers and pillboxes scattered around a long stretch of the beach.

Mirror bunker

The first bunker we saw was completely covered in fragments of smashed mirror, it looked so surreal.

inside the bunker

We explored the bunkers and abandoned barracks for a good few hours. It was interesting to see the places that the soldiers where positioned first-hand. Quite a few of the bunkers had metal gates, but most of them you could go inside.

More bunkers

Afterwards we walked back towards the town and went to a reataurant named after the northern french dialect Ch'ti.

Ch'ti beer

While there, I ordered the locally brewery Ch'ti Blonde beer, it had light and fruity flavour.

34 Fra - Calais

We drove up the coast a little further and arrived in Calais. The weather was still really hot, luckily there was a huge empty beach right behind the campsite.

Day beach

We chilled on the beach for most of the day, then went back again after food.

Night beach

35 Fra / Eng - Calais / Dover / Manchester

We woke up early in order to get to the tunnel. When we arrived there was some extra space on the train before ours, so we managed to get on that one instead.

Driving onto the train

I'd never been on the tunnel before so it was pretty fun.

Inside the tunnel

When we arrived back in England, I drove to my uncles in Bedford again to see my gran who was visiting from Ireland. After lunch we drove back up to Manchester to finish the trip.

On arrival the total trip milage counter was on around 3,330. We ended up seeing a lot more than planned, and even went places we'd never heard of.

Thanks for reading my blog and I hope you enjoyed the photos, we both had a great time and are looking forward to the next adventure!

Read about how we made "Keiko" the Suzuki Carry!


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