The Netherlands

Amsterdam 3-10th May 2017

This was planned to be a trip to Amsterdam. A week seemed a long time but you never know what might happen. Book a hostel for a couple of nights and hope for the best. If the best doesn't happen, hop on a train and find the best in another town.

This time, the best happened before I even booked a hostel! Before I left two lovely ladies I met in South Africa messaged me (they both live in The Netherlands) suggesting we meet for a drink. Better than that, Efke later messaged me to say she had the time off too and wondered how I felt about doing some camping. How did I feel? I felt like lady luck had struck again, this is brilliant. Thank you, Efke!

This peace of mind meant that at Heathrow Airport I could deliver one of my first webinars as JP Mentors in a very good mood indeed.

When I landed at Amsterdam airport it was off to a good start with a proper hot chocolate. One of those ones you choose the chocolate buttons and they make your drink from it. Lush!

Fortunately, the weather was fine every time we stepped foot outside the car. When we were in it, every one outside wasn't so lucky though!

So, our journey begins!

First night was to a camping site on the beach. Along with camp fire and the local party scene and the best kids area I've ever played in! It was lovely to catch up, talk about life and I am still amazed at how easily Efke could drive around in a decked out camper van (with stove too!).

We went up through North Holland, over the Wadden sea to Leeuwarden and Groningen. Stopping off at wonderful places like Sneek (with it's world famous water port).

We spent the night at Efke's sister's place. It was a fantastic house, with a great simple colour scheme and ever better company with her sister, her husband and their little boy Jay. Using their kitchen we cooked, what looks like, the fanciest camping meal anyone's ever had!

That night we watched the remembrance event on TV, which is a national past time. The next day we headed over to the festival in Groningen, which is always the day after the remembrance. Before the party we checked out the town and had a fun time.

Look at all those bikes! Then we headed to the festival and got in the party spirit.

Efke is such a sweet person and is always looking out for other people and ensuring other people have a good time. So we (mainly Efke tbh) made sure to help the wheelchaired man get to the festival toilets and get some food. Turns out every day things can be a lot harder than you imagine!

On our way south to s'hertogenbosch (North Brabant) we passed Drenthe and Gelderland for quick sightseeing.

We stopped off at Efke's home, met her lovely dad and paid a visit to a local cow farm. They were really well treated here with loads of space to roam on freshly cut grass during the days. It's the first time I've really thought about mass production in this way involving animals. There was a pregnant cow and if it gives birth to a boy, the boy is killed (it obviously can't produce milk). If it's a girl it's taken from the mother and spends a working life producing milk and getting pregnant. It's funny how the world works. All of this for some milk in our tea!

No visit to The Netherlands would be complete without an additional stop to the windmills now would it.

Before too long we found ourselves at out final night with our final supper.

Rotterdam was nice to see and was a quick pit stop before arriving in Amsterdam.

Having said goodbye, Efke went back to her life (jet setting for work to Italy, no less!) and I found my hostel in Vondel Park. The next few days I just caught up with some side projects on my laptop and mulled around town. Thankfully, I still got a chance to meet Nienke who I met in South Africa too, for a quick drink one night.

Finally, on the last night I went into town to check out what all this chat about the red light district was about. A lot of British awkwardness ensued,i ensure you.