The Herengracht


It would simply be daft to sit down each evening of my Journey and write a travelogue-style warts-and-all account of the day’s doings.  It would take far too long - and I have other stuff to do.  After all, I’m still on the Journey itself!

But, all along the way, I’m doing what I did on my Grand Tour; I’m scribbling feverish notes in my ‘reporter’s notebook’ about the things that happen to me - the places I go, the people I meet and the thoughts that all this excitement precipitate.

And, in the blogpostings I manage to complete as I go, I’ll share my notes with you so that you have at least some idea of what’s going on!

So far, everything seems to have gone according to plan, touch wood.  My flight left Newcastle on time and arrived here in Amsterdam a little early.  I even remembered not just to buy my train ticket from the airport into the city but also the return ticket I will need in less than two weeks’ time, worse luck.  When you do multi-legged trips like this, you get used to thinking like that.

Anyway, here are some of the Notes I’ve jotted down so far....


FIRST DAY - Newcastle to Amsterdam
Chatted to lovely old man on bus about his Army service - Vienna after the war.  He was interested in my trip to Germany.  Gave me his address for a postcard!
Both got grumpy about a young tart who didn’t tell her toddler to give up his seat, even though the bus was full to standing.

Metro announcements still want to make me heave.

Beautiful take-off.  View of airport then river then countryside.  Up through thick cloud into sunshine.  (Note:  New flyers in the seat in front.  Awed!)

A tram squeezes through the morning traffic on Leidsestraat

Amsterdam....seems like years since I was here.  Good to be amongst the sights, sounds again.  Canals and trams - perfection.
A tobaaconist's shop on Leidsestraat; in the lower window, there's Lord of the Rings pipe, 
as smoked by Gandalf himelf

Hotel near the Singel.  Small, neat, clean.  Steepest steps in the world - 3 floors up to the smallest hotel room in the world.  Tried to swing a cat - couldn’t.  (Note:  The hotel cat is very very very fat.)

Amsterdam’s dangerous cyclists.

Lovely moochy evening.  Falafel, coffee, pastries, wandering around, brown cafes (De Pijper).  Busy on the streets but cold.

The all-year Christmas shop on the Flower Market

Tried some Dutch on a handsome barman.  Might as well have been Welsh.

(Note:  the Dutch language - however do they manage to learn it?)

Knackered.  Didn’t get to bed till 1.

SECOND DAY - Amsterdam
Wonderful breakfast on the street.  Apple pastries to die for.  Best coffee EVER.
(Note:  lovely shop people on the trip so far.  They like it if you try to speak Dutch; my first time.)

At the Flower Market

Lots of (obviously) expats around.  Americans.  Brits.  A Geordie couple.  Am I more talkative to people because I’m alone?

Tram trip.  Number 4.  Destination was like Team Valley.  Then Flower Market - always a treat.  Flower-sellers still as bolshy as ever.


(Note:  Men holding hands - obvious couples; nobody bats an eyelid or even seems to notice.  Mmmmmm Amsterdam!)


So there you have it.

There’s loads more, some of which I can’t even read.

I hope these photos whet your appetite for the book I’ll almost certainly never write about this journey.

Tomorrow I launch myself into unfamiliar territory.  I’ll be travelling by train to Berlin, which is (I suppose) where the ‘German’ Journey really starts....

Post comments on this blog or email me:  truckshunters@googlemail.com


Serge said...

Amsterdam est jolie.Un jour peut être que j'irais.

Ian Robinson said...

Oui ç'est vrai. Et oui - BIENTÔT, stp!

Serge said...

si je gagne au loto OUI.
si je perd oui aussi.

Ellie said...

Sorry chaps, but I can only comment in English.
Have to say that I have had a VERY tiring yukky day, but before climbing into bed with my three pusscats I thought I would tune in to Truckshunters.....
Ian, reading your blog has made me feel warm. I don't know if you are aware of the fact that I will NEVER fly again as it terrifies me, but I don't have to. I read your blog and I am there - have done the journey and am amongst it all .............nite nite, and thank you x