After leaving Belgium, our next stop was the Netherlands. First, we went to The Hague, which apparently is the true capital of Holland, and not Amsterdam like I had thought. The photo below shows the Peace Palace, which houses the International Court of Justice for the UN.
In The Hague, we enjoyed a delicious meal of fried cod in a restaurant along the beach. Although reading the menu in Dutch was difficult, many of the people in the Netherlands were fluent in English so luckily, communication was a piece of cake. Dutch sounds to me like a mix of English and German. I’m not sure how similar Dutch is to Swedish but all the street signs also started reminding me of IKEA…
We also happened to tour a cheese factory and a wooden shoe factory. Both were pretty enlightening! To make wooden shoes, they soak the block of wood in water to facilitate the cutting. Also, wooden shoes are surprisingly comfortable to wear…
Everyone rides a bike in Amsterdam! This photo below is somewhat misleading but really there were bikes everywhere along the streets. In fact, I even saw a parking garage specifically for bicycles. What amazes me is how anyone can identify their own bike from the masses of similar bikes.
In Amsterdam’s red light district, the smell of marijuana was everywhere so either you’re happily smoking a joint or unwillingly inhaling it secondhand. I happened to be in the unfortunate latter group ):
Many of the buildings along the canals in Amsterdam are crooked. They reminded me of dominoes just waiting to be tipped over.
For the record, the Netherlands has the cutest souvenirs out of all the places I’ve been so far. I had trouble restraining myself from buying everything.
Random Observation of the Day:
- “Coffeeshops” in the Netherlands are famous for selling cannabis for personal consumption (completely legal) so if you’re into that sort of thing, you know where to go. We came across quite a few younger people smoking cannabis and eating hemp cakes. They even have a Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum in Amsterdam you can visit if you’re interested. For a regular coffee shop that doesn’t sell marijuana, make sure to visit a “coffeehouse” instead.