A Travellerspoint blog

Holland's Highlights

Be warned, the Netherlands is not all that it seems (plus it's a lot like it seems)

rain 19 °C

OK then let's start with some facts:

LATE UPDATE!!
(I forgot to put this in earlier but remembered today when I had some lolly and realised it was much too salty)
- The Netherlands are home to possibly the world's largest collection of salt based confectionary. When looking for lollies be warned: try one first because when you get that bag of goodies back home, no doubt they will be salty and disgusting. As usual the dutchies love them

- There are tonnes of people in the Netherlands that are huge and by huge I mean massive. On the right is Gijs, I am staying at his house and he was a school friend of my dad's. On the left is Ben, his son. Ben lives in the house behind us, luckily only the door is really low

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- People really do wear clogs and not just for ceremonial purposes, but for everyday life. Milking the cows, going to tractor pulls (more on this later on) and going to the shops, just knocking about, anything

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For the record this old dude is the bloke who now owns the farm where my dad was born (and his dad and his dad's dad built it... you get the picture). The guy on the right bought it off my Opa before they left the Netherlands for Australia

- People ride bikes everywhere. They go on special cycling holidays where they drive somewhere just to ride their bike around. They love bikes so much they even have them in their coal mines

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- There are tonnes of cows. Apparently the Dutch eat about 16kg of cheese per person per year and that milk has gotta come from somewhere. They love milk so much that you can buy this stuff called "Karne Milk" which is basically a carton of sour milk, not the best tasting stuff but they love it

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Secondly, some lesser know facts about the Netherlands:

- They have their own fair share of LARGE attractions. For example near Achterveld there is the egg:

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Please note that I had to ride a bike to get there

There is also the giant cigar:
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Please note that is not just a turd with a cigar label in a plastic tube.

- There are lots of funny signs and street names

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Literal translation, "Middle Arse Way"

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Literal translation, "Ass Chatter Way"

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I completely understand why the dog on the sign has a big smile, he just took a dump on someones neat, freshly cut grass.

Other Highlights:

- Playing the family card game "Skip-Bo" with my mum's elderly aunt and uncle in Terwinslen (southern Netherlands) when the CD we are listening to (which sounded a lot like a dutch version of Kevin "Bloody" Wilson) began playing the song "Livin' Next Door to Alice" in dutch except for one line in english, "who the f*** is Alice". I found it very difficult to not laugh out loud, lucky they don't speak english

- Driving down a street in Kerkrade where one side of the street is the Netherlands and the other is Germany. Street signs on side were Dutch and the other German

- Going to a tractor pull. Not the kind where two tractors battle it out but one where a suped up tractor pulls a massive sled in the dirt. This bad boy had 4 jet engines on it

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The winners of each division we driven around on the dias in front of all the spectators.

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- Visiting the Dutch "Alps" and the highest point in the Netherlands, a staggering 322.5 metres above sea level.

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- Going to some museum and finding this old dutch supermarket product

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Posted by hengel 15:49 Archived in Netherlands Tagged backpacking Comments (8)

Venice, Buggers and the land of Apple Tea

Life after the Partner

sunny 38 °C

As the Partner began to close in on 10000km and exit Italy for France, myself and Anne made our way to Venice where we stayed for four days eating crepes (three a day for Anne and No1 in her top 5 best foods), eating pizza and watching Gondolas (it was 80 Euro for the alternative).

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Anne relaxng in the window of our Venice boudoir. In her element.

Our next destination was to be Istanbul and after searching for over a month for a flight under 500 Euro (Anne already had her ticket) I eventually found a bus that was headed in that general direction.

One 21 hour overnight overday bus ride (stuffed in between a window and a dog), a night in Sofia Bulgaria (Buggers) and a 12 hour overnight train ride later, I arrived in Istanbul to find that Annes first flight to Paris had been cancelled and that she wouldn't be arriving for another three days. Luckily enough H P Runnalls had been keeping the place warm and we took over Istanbul together.

Anne did eventually arrive after four nights in Paris (which she was really pissed about!) and the three of us were ready to take on Turkey.

Istanbul.Brilliant place. It will be remembered fondly for its Apple Tea, Nargile (smoking pipe: see below), fantastic hosts, and carpet shops (maybe not so fondly).

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Anne and Hannah considering entering the Mosque.....

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Anne and Hannah entering the Mosque.

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The rooftop terrace of our hostel. Breakfast up here each morning.

Ephesus. One of the best preserved ancient Roman cities. Pretty amazing. Quality amphitheatre.

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Testing out the 2000 year old sewerage system. Took a very similar photo to this when I was here with family 11 years ago. I haven't matured at all.

Turkish Bath. The girls were jumping at the chance to get themselves rubbed down by a fat Turkish man so a Turkish bath was the logical result. The get-up we are shown in below is to hide the bruises.

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Pamukkale. Hot thermal springs pour down the hillside here and deposit calcium carbonate which solidifies as travertine. I just got that sentence off a website and it's as cool as it sounds!

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Olympos. Everyone stays in treehouses near an amazing beach here. Worth a trip in its own right but we were there to begin a four day-three night Boat Cruise along the Southern Turkish coast.

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Boat Cruise. Incredible. Put it on your top 5 must do's. The water was spectacular.

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Our Yacht.

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Cliff jumping off the Turkish Coast. I am hoping for a lot more of this in Greece.

Currently we are in Naxos, Greece where we will be meeting with Morto and Kerr tomorrow. Unfortunately our other travel partner, Man in Chair couldn't bring himself to leave his chair and will be absent, as will Hengel. However, a ring in has been sent all the way from the states and as a well known published author, hopefully Dooza will be the next guy you hear from on this site.

Love to all. I leave you with this....

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Posted by MOB 05:33 Archived in Turkey Tagged backpacking Comments (4)

Reborn in Copenhagen

"You want to see dick, and that's OK!"

overcast 22 °C

Alright, Morto here, apologies for the delay in latest blogs. The four likely lads have scattered around Europe temporarily so here's some pictorial evidence of my latest travels.

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Last tender embrace with the Partner, her current fate unknown

Germany:

Returned to take Sven on heads up in poker and eat doners for a week.

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Keep on grinding it out on internet poker Sven, it's noble (and profitable) work you're doing

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With Swede Erik and German Stephanie (to explain my expression, Sven was the photographer and I was saying "eeee")

Denmark:

Went here to experience life at a Scandinavian level.

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Alright, sitting in a park in Copenhagen. Dudes turn up in these white suits. They go to get another dude (who is getting married) who completely nudes up. He slides through the plastic tube (getting 'reborn'), gets out, the white dudes slap his arse, and he puts on a classy white suit and they all start drinking beers. Sitting there with a friend (the only observers) and they yell out "You want to see dick, and that's OK!"

Sweden:

Went here for a day to say I've been to Sweden.

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2 guys I met in the park, went out for lunch, and met their fishing buddy who chills out with a bit of hash when not reeling in massive fish one by one. Not a bad life

Belgium:

Went here with Kerr and Hengel for a bit of rock.

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Belle and Sebastian rocking Pukkelpop

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The dude from Wolfmother? Our festival idol. Never has leopard skin matched so well with pink panther boxers

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Modern art Brussels style.

Take it easy

Posted by MOB 02:40 Archived in Belgium Tagged backpacking Comments (3)

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