MY EUROPEAN TRIP PART 2, AMSTERDAM, LONDON

Hi ! It’s me again, Ren !  Here’s  Part 2 of  MY TRIP TO EUROPE.  I hope you’re not bored yet , coz I’m going to finish this all the way  to the end, ha ha ha.

The official tour with Cosmos Travel actually began after  London. London was our “free ” time, which means , we were on our own.  In a way, I liked being on our own. We were more relaxed and unhurried. We could rest when tired, shoot better pictures,  take our time posing , buying for souvenirs, and savoring the atmosphere.  I recommend travelling this way if you have longer vacation time, know how to read maps, and over-all, know what you’re doing. Otherwise, group tour is for you, and you do not mind looking like this after a brutal schedule…..

Anyway, back to London…. The places we went to were Trafalgar Square, Picadilly Square, shopped at Soho ( bought a pair of shoes ) had lunch at Mark and Spencer, went to other places before we went back to the hotel,,, we didn’t stop there… we went out again to shop for souvenirs at the Notting Hill area.  By the way, there was still sunlight at 9:30 PM , thankfully, though the shops there close quite early.

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.That must be the national library. It  says ” Bibliotheca “. There sre so many people loitering outside the library. Why don’t they  instead go inside and read, ha ha ha…. kidding.  That big clock/timer shows a countdown to Olympics.  It says 38 days,  6 hours, 58 min, 13 sec to Olympics.  The other building says Ripley’s. That must be the Ripley’s of Ripley’s Believe It Or Not. I should have insisted on going in to check out what macabre stuff they have in there, like Jack The Ripper’s scalpel or a poor guy’s dried, shrunken head……  my cup of tea. ….

Good thing the sun goes down at 9:30 P.M. in summer, so it was still bright  and  and nice to walk around  Notting Hill and Portebello Markets Sts. , near the hotel.

Portebello Market St. is a narrow street with quaint little shops selling old things,  used goods and antiques.  Mom bought 4 old door knobs.

Well, that’s it for London. …… 2 days wasn’t enough , of course. I hope I can come back again and see more of England.  When we got back to the hotel, we received a note from the Tour director for the first time.

6: 30 ——-wake -up call

7 :00 —–Luggage out  and breakfast

8 :00 ——Departure

The next day was the first time we met our tour group. So we departed London at exactly 8 AM, travelled to Devon for  3 hours where we boarded a ferry to take us to Calais, France.  The scenery from London to Devon was ordinary, though.

.Me on board the ferry.

So we got off in Calais, boarded a Cosmos motorcoach  to take us to Amsterdam.  We passed by Belgium, stopped over there for lunch for 3 hours. I wasn’t hungry, but I thought I’d have a doughnut, but when I saw the price, I was like, what the  #$%^& !   1,95 Euro ! !  ( $ 2.70 a piece ? )  A dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts here in the US  is only $ 5.00 !  But I was thirsty,  so my mind was protesting as I took out  1,90 Euro from my wallet for a small bottle of H2O. (  $ 2.65 ) I realized these stores  were  catering to tourists, but that was literally highway robbery.  Good thing the scenery from Calais to Amsterdam was spectacular, though it did get a little bit boring after looking at same scenery  the whole day.

We arrived in Amsterdam at around 6 PM. That was a long drive,  though  there were pit stops every 2 hours…..( some sort of tour regulation, mainly for the driver ), and usually at this place called Auto Grill where we could use the toilets and have snacks, some hot foods, but mostly sandwiches. About the sandwiches……. hard baguettes( spelling? ) that would crack one’s teeth,  with some ham, wilted greens, and  they were very, very dry… tasteless too.  How I longed for some McDonald’s ! ! ! … Give me some soft hamburger buns, and a quarter pounder,  please.  And some ketchup… mayo, mustard, pickles, tomatoes, onions…..  ( Sorry, ranting here…. so, my cousins  from the Philippines who went to Europe were right about the sandwiches. ) Each to his / her own, though, so don’t hate me. Perhaps, it’s just my ” unrefined” American preference for a sandwich with everything in it.  @–@ ”

Back to Amsterdam….. So, we arrived at our hotel ( Best Western, Blue Tower Hotel ) earlier than expected.  Since there wasn’t ” free” dinner at the hotel, we decided to go somewhere, specifically the famous ( or infamous ) Red Light District of Amsterdam for dinner. RLD is at the Central Station area.  Also, we didn’t think our tour director would take us there to see the ” sights”, anyway, so we went there on our own.

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.The 4th photo is the street where we saw semi-nude women showing off their ” wares” at ” display ” windows, gyrating, swaying , dancing…. and there was even a topless one who looked bored while polishing her nails.  Check out some of the guys on the right… they were ogling…… I feel sad these women have such kind of livelihood. I’m not judging…. they’re legit, organized  and pay taxes, too.  We weren’t supposed to take pics, ( or we might get roughed up or whatnot) but we did manage to take photos of the area without flash. Secretly, by the way, and very fast.

.The area is compact and not all the streets cater to pleasure-seekers. as you can see from the photo above……… there are souvenir shops, good restaurants, even a convenience store where we bought something to eat ( pastries and soda )

Oh, and check out the pic below …. Weed is perfectly legal in Amsterdam, right?  High snack !

.Next day was group tour. We started with a canal cruise on Amsterdam’s famous canals. The area along the canals have been put on the list of UNESCO’s World Heritage. What does this mean? It means, it now belongs to humanity, and its preservation is funded by UNESCO.

Those are hundred year old  rich Dutch merchants’ homes, and if you notice, they’re very narrow and tall, with very narrow doors, and I assume , narrow stairs.  They also served as warehouses, i.e. that’s where they stored the goods they bought or sold.  For a long time, Amsterdam was the richest city in the world, and the Dutch were the first to establish the first multi-national corporation, The Dutch East India Co.  Going back  to these homes…….  do you notice those beams jutting out at the top of each house?  They were used to haul up or down  the merchendise, the top rooms serving as storerooms.  They were also used to haul up a person having a ” Dutch  headache” ( hangover ). First they would dip the person in the canal, then haul him up. Ahahaha !  Well, Heineken is Dutch.  ^–^   Now, why do you think  the houses are so narrow ?  You’d think  land is limited and expensive, especially those along the canals , but the merchants were very rich and could afford to buy large tracts of land.  Just like any shrewd businessmen all over the world, they  built vertically to avoid paying  huge real estate taxes….. because tax  in Amsterdam then was based SOLELY on the WIDTH of the  house.  Therefore, the narrower the house, the smaller the tax.  6-6….  Don’t be surprised then about where the origin of  “Dutch treat “came from.  A  guy gets a huge salary increase and invites some friends to celebrate, but , sorry folks, it’s Dutch treat. Which means pay your own way, or the bill is split to the last penny. In short, a penny pincher. lol  ( Mom says this term is very common in the Philippines. Filipinos will fight   to pay the bill, and therefore , to say that a celebration is actually a Dutch treat is an embarassment, a social faux pas. )

But I digress….

The house with reddish/purplish windows was where Anne Frank  and family hid from the Nazis.

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.Take note of the bicycles parked on the road. Bicycles are THE mode of transportation in Amstaerdam.  They have weekend bicycles and weekday ones. The weekend ones, I guess, are those with baskets and baby seats. I’d seen those. The Dutch leave the least carbon footprints in the world. Very nice.

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Our canal cruise ended at  a diamond center where we disembarked and  were shown around the diamond center.

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.We were aware  we were brought there to shop for diamonds… I don’t know who got commissions, but I heard one in our group  purchased a small  rock.   They have a shop there, expensive stuff… jewellery,  and  expensive watches…. We couldn’t afford the diamond, nor the Rolex, hahaha, so Mom just bought a Swatch watch,  for me.  I think that was the least expensive item on display.  But thank you !

So, back to the motorcoach, and here I end our day-long tour.  Part 3 will still be some Amsterdam, ( just a few photos)… and  Germany.

.Peace and good day !

81 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Ben on July 22, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    Thanks for sharing your story and the great pics 🙂

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  2. Wow! You really had a blast! and those diamonds were really a WOW! @,@

    Reply

  3. While reading and looking at your photos, I was all like “Wooooow”! Grabe! nainggit talaga ako. sana one day… hahaha

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    • Oh, my, GianCarlo… you really need to start saving, starting NOW ! Super expensive…. Especially if your Euros will come from Philippine pesos. Grabe ! I can already imagine it. You’re going to cry.

      Reply

  4. I was in Amsterdam in 2006. I loved it there. Never got to Germany, though: World Cup was there in 2006, and we didn’t want to deal with that.

    Reply

    • It was the Championship match ( Euro Cup ) between Spain and Italy when we were there. Funny thing was, the driver was Italian and our tour director was a Spaniard. there was some heated argument that day between the two, then the driver took a day off during the match, ( we were in Spain then ), so we had another driver that day. Next day, there were a lot of teasings. Spain won, by the way.

      Reply

  5. Hello! I wish you great week and invite you to look at my new photos.
    http://marciento.wordpress.com/2012/07/22/people-ludzie/

    Reply

  6. I want to go to Amsterdam someday! Looks lovely! I’m really enjoying your posts about Europe. I did hear about not taking photos around the Red Light District because you either get in trouble or you have to pay them for the photo. Quite interesting.

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  7. ooh, diamonds are girl’s best friends (is that right?)

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  8. Great pics, Ren! Did you get a chance to check out Vondelpark (I think I spelled that right)? Amsterdam is a beautiful city. Everyone thinks it’s all crazy with drugs and hookers everywhere, but I found it quite quaint and lovely. I went in the dead of winter though, and I wish I could’ve been there in nicer weather to enjoy the park and the canals.

    Did the hookers try to call you into the little rooms? Wondering if they do that for females, the whole knock on the glass and summon you bit. Haha. The Red Light District was full of tourists when I went. There were tour groups walking around with guides looking at the girls. It was very weird, I thought. Anyways, glad you enjoyed it!

    Keep the posts coming, Ren. They’re nice and they give me a heads up for my upcoming trip. I will start a new account now to save up money for a donut.

    Reply

    • I don’t think we went there, but it was pointed out to us….. the guide even said there are areas there for lovey dovey couples to make out, specifically designated and approved areas…. I assume there are arrows pointing to these places, ha ha ha…. wow…..

      Reply

  9. love you for including the second photo, lols!. 😉 you’ve been redeemed by the last, though, haha… did you lose a few pounds from walking and gawking, kapatid? ^^

    btw, so sorry i’ve been unable to write you – busy-busyhan. :c about the manga, illustration – niece can’t. she has two projects since last month and gets home by midnight… sorry talaga, ha. ^_^ hey, hope you’ve lost the jetlag already… regards… 🙂

    Reply

    • I did not lose any…. o.o” ……. Our breakfasts were always free, so to save on spending for a full lunch, I gorged on breakfast. I ‘m a cheap-o, he he he.

      awwww, really? Well, lemme know when she’s free, okay. I can wait.

      Reply

      • aww, you didn’t lose any – running after the tourist bus and negotiating those historical cobblestones in Europe? and by the way, i’ve heard that gawking usually induces weight loss, too, lols! ^^

        what a term – gorge… oh, it’s fun to eat breakfasts at hotels – one can choose from a long array of foods and fruits as long as she wakes up early, ahaha…. btw, you don’t look like you gained weight either, Ren. you’re a lucky gal… 😉

        sige, i’ll ask her again sometime. nakapahinga ka na, kapatid? thanks pala for swinging by and leaving traces. appreciated, as always… cheerio! 😉

        Reply

        • Ah ! The cobblestones ! Not only that….. the roads are steep, like you won’t believe it.

          LOL I ate like a pig, when food was FREE at the hotel. aaargh, I’m really a cheapo. he he

          Reply

          • ahaha, i believe you, dear. it is said they are not for tourists who have not exercised in three months, hehe. i can imagine, especially in Southern France, they say the places there are really worth seeing – the terrain, the view and all. ^^

            haha, ikaw na ang nag-pig out sa free, hehe. di ka naman tumaba, wari ko… btw, it’s the first pic pala, not the second. that’s so cool of you to have posted it, hehe. 🙂 regards and thanks for dropping by…

            Reply

  10. wow! i wish i could go there someday.. thanks for sharing!

    Reply

  11. You’re looking so good, Ren! looked like you really had a nice time! 😊

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  12. Posted by mbelleausten on July 26, 2012 at 5:31 am

    Nice pics! 😊 it’s evident that you really did had a wonderful euro trip😊

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  13. Bloody awesome!

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  14. Awesome images! 😀

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  15. Do you think Europeans ever come to America and think about how beautiful everything is? Europe seems so fresh and clean. Even Amsterdam where I hear has junkies on every corner.

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    • Mooselicker, the US has its own charm, but , sadly, it’s always Anywhere, USA, just buildings and nondescript houses. I don’t know, I haven’t been to Boston and new York. Europe has such an ancient history that we can still see and touch. Medieval castles, coblestone streets, old buildings with amazing decorations…… it’s incomparable.

      But USA does have beautiful natural scenery, like The Yellowstone Park, for one.

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  16. Great work , Your photograph are so stunning blend with those beautiful places there, Thanks for sharing 🙂

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  17. I like it when the sun is still up late at night…hehe…gives you more time to do things for the day. I would like to walk on those narrow streets made of cobblestones and discover on the crooks and nooks of that place.

    I feel the same with the women on the RLD. Maybe they didn’t have a choice and needed money badly. I bet those money they make are worked hard for.

    I am not sure about the FIlipinos fighting over to pay the bill. Hehe…Well, with my friends, we have the term “KKB” (Kanya kanyang Bayad) but if one of us came from abroad or is earning more money, he/she would insist paying the bill for the group. 🙂

    Some of the tourists from your pictures look bored. LOL

    Too bad for me if I live in Amsterdam. I don’t know how to ride bikes so I think my mode of transportation here will be Cadillac. CadilLakad… corny! *grins*

    Cheers Ren! 🙂

    Reply

    • Jepiner, it’s the same here in the US, it’s still daylight even at 10 PM , especially in June. The cobblestones are awesome, especially in Rome. There are streets that the people thousands of years ago walked on, and it was amazing to walk on the same street now.

      It’s amazing too that these women can actually get a house loan from banks and write Sex Therapist under Employment Status.

      re Dutch Treat… I got that info from my mother, ha ha ha.

      yeah ! I checked out the pics again, and indeed, they did ! Ha ha ha….

      It’s nice to see so many people riding bikes…. they’re so green in Amsterdam.

      Reply

  18. Nice series of photos. Feel be part of your journey. 🙂

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  19. Wow a trip in Europe… beautiful!

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  20. Thank you ! I was so lucky !

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  21. Posted by WordsFallFromMyEyes on July 28, 2012 at 2:11 am

    Ohhhhh, my gosh – SO jealous!! Those pictures, each of them scream GOOD TIMES! How precious, this time you’ve spent, so precious. Absolutely wonderful. I loved your commentary too. It told so much. Oh, Renxkyoko, MEGA worth it! 🙂

    Reply

    • Awwww, thank you ! ! I had such a wonderful, fun time in Europe. Those ancient structures were amazing, a sight to behold ! I’m going back , one more time, in the very near future, that’s for sure.

      Reply

  22. You do like Naya Rivera on the last pict. Out of topic 🙂 sorry
    I don’t really like travelling in a rush. Maybe for the first time group tour is okay. But don’t you feel like want to go back there again a little bit longer?

    Reply

    • Awwww, thank you. Naya Rivera……. I’m so flattered !

      That’s true, Farah, we couldn’t even take pictures. I mean, we could, but we couldn’t stop and focus… it was like, shoot, shoot, shoot, and then just cross your fingers they would turn out okay.

      Yes, I wanna go back ! ! I just love to see again those amazing, historical places.

      Reply

  23. hey, Renx, naaliw talaga ako sa unang pic nyo, as in… mga nakalaylay ang ulo at wagas na wagas ang pagtulog, hihi. not a care in the world, kayo na… buti nakarating kayo sa pupuntahan, kapatid. buti, hindi kayo ibinenta ng tour guide sa brothels in Europe, haha. ^^^ i won’t wonder if he or she did, hakhak. 😉

    nakakatuwa ring ang sisimple ng get up nyo. mukhang alam nyong milya ang lalakarin at aakyatin, haha. naaliw ako sa marami mong trivias, parang pwede kang tour guide whehe. parang nainggit ka sa Dutch? hihi… mayaman sila tapos, they live simply? walang gaanong pollution, they try to preserve their environment and liberal in many and various senses. ahaha, sila na… ^^

    nakakaaliw ang itsura nyo sa rld, mukhang fugitives lang, as in. ^^ iyon yata ang parteng na-excite ka, kapatid? oh, mukhang bilihan lang ng french fries ang bilihan ng weed, ahaha. it’s a legit enterprise nga raw doon, sabi…^^

    marami pa itong kasunod, hano? aantayin namin… 😉 btw, nai-traslate ko na ang poem for you. cheers!

    Reply

    • Kung nakuha ng pics yung ibang tulog namin sa bus, eh, nakabukas ang mouth ko, tapos may drool pa. Ahahaha !

      I’m just repeating what our tour guide said. Siempre, may history and trivia. Ang lakas n pa ng sense of humour niya. When you’re on the bus for one day, you should be ready to look like refugees, after the long drive. Those pics, we just checked in and right away went out to see the sights on our own. Sayang ang day… we used that one day to travel… although the road scenery was a wonderful sight. So, okay din.

      Reply

  24. i really enjoyed your tour. All the enthusiasm is infectious. Hope the weather held up for you

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    • Hi !

      The weather held up for us. It was raining an hour before we arrived in London. Of course that wouldn’t stop us , ha ha ha, but thank goodness the weather cooperated. It was very hot in Italy, though > 100 F !

      Reply

  25. London is beautiful!

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  26. I cant wait for you to post the photos of France and Italy. I hear the men over there are to die for 😉

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  27. Posted by responsetonoeleen on July 31, 2012 at 8:06 am

    Noeleen’s sister exercises her right of reply at: responsetonoeleen.wordpress.com

    Reply

  28. Fantastic post! The Anne Frank window pic was both interesting and poignant. Keep up the good work 🙂

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  29. Wow, it looks like such a fun trip! I’m really stoking on the window picture where Anne Frank and her family were just decades ago. It looks like you’re seeing such cool, wonderful places! Have fun xo

    Reply

  30. hello, Renx, thanks for dropping by, reading my long posts (haha) and for the comments and the likes. you’re a dear. ^^ yes, I was in Thailand but for a couple of days only. not as long and as swell as your Europe trip, haha. 🙂

    btw, been to a few other places, too this year but haven’t been blogging about them, hehe. i found that it’s harder to write about travels. don’t you think so, too? it’s rather difficult to put together sensibly experiences in a hurry and in a blur – which, btw, most trips are, hehe. ^^ btw, where’s the next installment of Europe trip, kapatid? cheers! 😉

    Reply

    • It’s a bit difficult to organize my thoughts. I planned on writing a small journal ( a small handy notebook ), but I forgot. Completely forgot ! So now I have to recall everything , with relevant pictures.

      Cheers, Ate !

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      • ahaha, am afraid that’s what happened to me re:Thailand trip. yes, it could be difficult in the beginning, recalling what happened where… i didn’t have pics when i did the write-up (hasn’t been uploaded yet) but at least, it’s only one country, haha, and for a couple of days only. ^^

        your trip covers several countries and for weeks at that, uhuh. but at least, you’ve pics to aid you… kaya mo ‘yan, kapatid. write on, cheers! 😉

        Reply

  31. I think a tour is a great way to go if you’ve never been to Europe before. The first time I went was as a hs Senior, and I took an organized tour, which was cool because it hit a lot of countries and gave me a nice overview. When I’ve gone back, I’ve just gone where I want, but I like that my first exposure was well-organized.

    I do keep a journal when I’m travelling. I find it helps with my recall. It’s a little bit of a habit that you have to develop. It’s not easy at first, but it gets that way.

    I’m so glad you’re having fun (I know you’re back and that this is all in the past, but since I’m only finished with Part 2, you’re still there)!

    Reply

    • The notebook that I brought with me was completely blank. The hardcover has beautiful roses, and the pages are pink ! ! ha ha ha Not my type at all, believe it or not. An old recycled notebook would have inspired me to write.

      Reply

  32. London is an amazing place… I had worked there for almost 2.5 years and it was a wonderful experience… During my stint at London, I traveled to Amsterdam… It was one of the best trips of my life… So unplanned but stuff just fell in place… Enjoyed every bit of it… You have a great blog in here… I would love to come here again and again to check out these amazing posts! Cheers 🙂

    Reply

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