Saturday - 2011-08-06
Again, up earlier than the girls to get some Broitchen for breakfast, and then on on the road for the journey to Asmterdam. We wanted to go via Neimegan and Arnheim if possible. Camilla's father (John) had spent time in Neimegan during the war and I wanted to have a look at both towns. Unfortunatly time was against us and Arnheim was missed out. Our visit to Neimegan was brief, just a lunch stop, but the visit was long enough for us to realise that we all want to go back at some time. The journey to Amsterdan was (fortunatly) uneventful.
We arrived in Amsterdam in the late afternoon and found our hotel. Amsterdam is like many cities trying to keep traffic (and pollution) out of the center. Hence when we checked in we discovered that on street parting is 4Eur per hour. Our options were to move the car outside of the parking ring, where parking was free, but that involved a) trying to find a parking spot and b) at least 1/2 an hour of travel each way. Given that parking was free on Sunday (the following day) we chose to pay the 28Eur to stay in the spot we had found on the street right next to the hotel. We also discovered that this weekend was the Gay Pride weekend in Amsterdam. This helped explain the extorsionate price for the hotel, but also meant we had a greta time in the center. We had already discivered that the Van Gough museum was closed, but still had the Red Light District, a Coffee Shop visit and the Anne Frank house on our list. We found details of the torture museum, which both the girls expressed interest in visiting so that was the first stop of the evening. Must forms of turture I was already aware of (not sure that that is a good thing), but it was nice to have a little more context added in most cases. As we were leaving the question about progress was raised with current examples of the US approach suggesting that the use and purpose of torture in the middle ages has not progressed too much in the last 1000 or so years.
With the vast number of people in town, finding somewhere to eat was always going to be a challenge. However we hit the jackpot. We found an Argentinian style steak resturant and each had a most magnificent steak cooked to perfection, and excellent service. By now it was raining heavily and as we headed outside the sidewalks were awash with soggy cardboard and debris. Olivia was in a pair of very flat flip flop type shoes, it can not have been too savory for her as we made our way to the Red Light District. This was an eye opener for Alex & Olivia. Girls dressed leaving very little to the imagination, but just enough. Stuck in a small room, smaller than 2m * 3m with a red fluro light hanging outside and a glass door, parading their bodies for anyone interested. I pointed out to Alex and Olivia that this was the reason their parents wanted them to work hard at school. Some of the girls seemed good sports and layed it on for the tourists, others were bored and stood there smoking, others were more interested in having a chat on their mobiles. There were a variety of shapes and sizes available, but the common trend was the long black straigtened lacquered hair, a style a bit like what the young boys are wearing, only slightly longer. The one thing that is a big tabboo is taking photo's. The pimps will gang up on you if they find you photographing their merchantise.