Amsterdam: Clogs and Cheese

We wake up at 1040am, groggy and hung over. We have to be at this bus by 1145am. It takes 40 minutes by tram to get into town. Crunch time again. We throw on clothes, no time to even make coffee and we are out. The tram crawls along as a hold my pounding head. Somehow we make it to the meeting point, a woman directs us to a big tour bus and we board. We are traveling with one asian man, a British couple, the driver, our tour guide and us, the two hungover Americans making it 7. Onward.

We thank God when we hear the trip is only 30 minutes long. Our tour guide starts teaching us about the geography of the Netherlands and how the area of Holland has had to adapt. The windmill village we were heading towards was home to over 40 windmills and a chocolate factory. This used to be the way power was generated which provided energy for the machines to make spices and other items. With windmills comes farmlands which bring animals thus the cheese and our excitement.

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We step off the bus hungry for fresh air and cheese. On the first big inhale it tastes like you are actually swallowing chocolate. Since the factory is down the road the air is full of it. This might be heaven.

We make our way over to the clog shop were we can learn how clogs are made. There is a small display of the different clogs you can make. Sunglasses remain on as we laugh at wedding clogs. Sign me up.

The machine takes off and works like a key copier. Who knew mass production of clogs was needed but apparently now you can make one in just a couple minutes. It still takes 3 weeks to dry so don’t freak out and order them for Christmas just yet.

After we decide not to purchase a pair, we pat the Dutch version of a bodega cat and head to the cheese store. Here we learn how they make gouda, sheep’s milk cheese and every other taste imaginable. The next room is a long counter of different types to taste. We take 2 laps.

With cheese in hand we search for some fresh hot chocolate and tour around the windmill village. There is a fee to take a tour of the windmills which we avoid and opt for a stroll with the animals.

After our fill of cheese and chocolate we make our way back into the city. We dine on pizza and sandwiches as the hangover fades away. Somehow it is 4:32pm when we get to the Rijksmuseum museum which is home to many famous paintings including Rembrant. The museum closes at 5pm. Classic.

We take the speed tour of the museum, getting lost and stuck in rooms with never ended odd art pieces like a bed in a glass case. A kind American passes us and says just go to floor 3, thats where all the best ones are. Up we go and find 30 foot paintings of colonial men posing for something important. Promptly at 459pm we are kicked out. No worries because it is time for the canal tour from our Heineken experience and then Europe’s highest swing.

In the canal we rest for the first time in what feels like weeks. Amy falls asleep twice with the rocking of the boat. She’d wake up and say “Im ready! Lets go!” and then nod off again. I appreciate the spirit. After the 40 minute ride we end up at the A’dam Tower.

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300 feet over the water in the freezing air we jam out to Rihanna while our new friend straps us in. This is actually more like a ride than a swing. You are secured in and then lifted another 15 feet up. With the EDM music bumping in the background you are pushed forward and jutted back. The lights twinkle over the water and you see Amsterdam from an awesome height. Views during the day time would likely be better but this was still awesome.

Before you swing away there is a small photo op. This was a classic American thing to do except you get the digital photo for free. At home you would be $25 for some weird One World Trade Center backdrop. I know this because we may have bought it when my dad visited…

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Throughly frozen we take the free ferry over to Central Station. We jump inside one of the bars for a questionable burger and some wine. This was how we ended our last night in Amsterdam. Completely wiped out but completely in love. Tomorrow we fly to the Czech Republic.

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