Well here we have it folks, our last stop of Contiki! And where better to finish a good trip like this than in a party city? Our first stop before we got into Amsterdam was at a place called Cheese and Clogs, and there they made.. well.. cheese and clogs!
I was pretty impressed by clogs, they are super comfortable and if you need a hammer for any reason you can always use a clog. Our next stop was a village called Edam. There happened to be a fare in town with all the typical stands, stores, and rides. We explored the town a little, then everyone went on a bike ride. The bikes were called granny bikes, because they couldn't go very fast and they had no brakes. You could slow down by pedaling backwards though. There was some hilarity to be had when people would stop infront of you with no warning and of course you can't really react fast enough so crash! Someone did that to me and the wheel bent slightly out of shape even though we weren't going much faster than walking pace.
Our first stop was at a genuine dyke with a genuine lock.
Our second stop was at a cool old windmill where we had a group picture taken.
And that was pretty much Edam! We got back into the bus and went to Amsterdam. Our first night we were taken to an excursion that was most certainly not advertised on the Contiki website, I guess for good reason. It was a sex show where you pretty much watch people having sex on stage, as well as doing other things without going into too much detail. It was interesting.
After that we walked through the red light district which has girls literally on display in windows. Taking pictures around these areas is a big no-no, we heard someone on a tour took a picture and the bouncer came out, took the guy's camera and threw it in the canal!
We headed to The Grasshopper which is probably the most famous pub / coffee house in Amsterdam. Now in Amsterdam you get both coffee houses and cafes. The latter is what you would expect – cappuccinos, lattes, etc. But coffee houses serve marijuana too.
Anyway, fast forward to the next day. So for those who don't know Amsterdam is a city with canals literally everywhere. It's not like Venice because it also has roads. Many people ride bikes here, pretty much every road has a lane dedicated to bikes. And there are bikes everywhere along the street. People with newer bikes lock them up, but older ones you just leave them where ever and no one will steal them because it's likely they already have a better bike. I arrived fairly late in the morning by bus at Central Station, which is pretty cool so I took a pic of it.
This photo shows a typical street, cars and bikes next to a canal. Note another famous coffee house – The Bulldog.
Another canal photo.
A pic of some monument in some square that I can't remember what it's called. I took it because I liked the evil guy standing in front.
I attempted to go to Anne Frank's house (the Jewish girl who lived in the attic for two years hiding from the Nazis), but the line was ridiculously long and I didn't have enough time. I did get a picture of it though when we did a canal cruise. Her house is the second one from the left.
That night after the canal cruise we went for our final Contiki group dinner at a nice hotel restaurant, it was all you can eat and drink. We didn't really stay long enough to take advantage of the latter unfortunately, but we did go out to a club and partied like it was the last night of the tour, which it was.
The next day we piled into the bus for the last time, and drove all the way through Belgium without stopping (except for a short break), into France, boarded the ferry, and went back into London. And that was the Contiki tour finished! What a tour! I had the time of my life (although I'm still having the time of my life even after the tour) and I loved every minute of it. It's definitely something that everyone should do.
Stay tuned for more tales of my European adventures!