In the morning, we checked out of our hotel at midday, taking advantage of the late checkout and high quality internet. We had all our bags and no Contiki coach to take us, so we ordered a taxi at the concierge desk. Google maps informed us that it was a 20 minute drive to Colin’s Oma (grandma) so we estimated the the cab shouldn’t cost any more than 30 Euro or 45 dollars. When we were dropped off ‘near’ our destination and saw that it was 50 Euro, SP nearly had a heart attack.

Not knowing where exactly we were going, being unable to speak the language and having no phone or internet meant that we were lost for over an hour dragging along with us our suit cases. Eventually we asked a passing local for help, who escorted us (not that type of escort) to our building. Outside waiting for us was Jaap, Colin’s interesting uncle, to show us to the apartment.

Once we arrived inside and the initial hellos & hugs we sat down and have coffee and delicious pastries. Colin showed his Oma all the pictures and videos of the trip, explaining all the adventures and places we had visited in the past three weeks. Hearing & seeing all of it reminded me of what a mammoth undertaking we had accomplished.

Afterwards we learnt to play Rummikub, which is a combination of scrabble and the card game 500. Maybe it was beginners luck but I like to think it was skill, but I won the first two out of three games. For dinner we had my first home cooked meal in over a month, cauliflower and cheese with chicken schnitzel & gravy plus potato. It reminded me a lot of how my mum use to make it which was some pleasant nostalgia.

After dinner we watched some TV, incase you didn’t know, Dutch TV is awesome. It has so many channels, each with really quality TV shows (like 16 & Pregnant, Jordy Shore) from around the world. We didn’t get up the next morning until 11am, then was greeted by awesome bacon and eggs plus toast with apple syrup and strawberries. Jaap and his dog met us and took us into the city, showing us how to use the metro and trams.

Once we arrived in the heart of Amsterdam, he took us to Begijnhof, a church/park area where he and Colin’s mum use to play as children. We stopped with his giant dog and had some expensive beers. Colin and I were getting a little bit hungry, so we purchased chips with mayonnaise, a Dutch deliciously to share between us. He didn’t give me a single chip. After that, we went through Red Light district (which looked different in daylight) to China Town and had a cheaper beer.

Jaap went elsewhere, and left us to stay and explore. We went to heaps of tourist and adult stores then to the famous sex museum. It was quite different than the Sex Machine museum in Prague, encompassing much more sex history throughout the ages. It was interesting but nothing I hadn’t seen before.

Afterwards, as we were walking through the streets, we ran into the two Gold Coast girls from the tour! We chatted for a while, they had gone out the night before in a pub crawl with another guy from the tour. Apparently the people on the crawl were mostly guys but they had all managed to get lucky. They invited us out to a different crawl that night, but the idea of a sausage fest with more tourists didn’t sound that exciting to us.

On the way back I was mistaken for a local (or drug user) again and asked directions to a coffee shop. We grabbed some local cuisine for dinner and decided to call it a day. We couldn’t find the tram but worked out an alternative way home via a bus. On the bus we talked to four Austrian (our country’s cousin) girls who had just arrived in the city. They proceeded to pick our brains for tips and suggestions the whole duration home. Once we were home it was more TV then bed.

The next day we had planned to go to a monkey park, Apenheul, but we found out it was over two hours away! Being too lazy and getting up late, we decided to head to Artis, the Amsterdam Zoo, instead. We planned our journey from home while we had access to the internet and embarked on our first true solo trip. We got to our stop and headed in the correct direction, but were soon confused when the scenery did not match our maps. We later found out that the bus had dropped us off at a different stop and direction which completely through us off.

Eventually, after a lot of walking and sightseeing we found the zoo. On the way I was confused as a local, by a tourist, who asked me for directions. When i said I was Australian he looked so surprise I could even speak English! The place was very cool, better than any zoo in Brisbane, they also had an aquarium section and a planetarium! We took many photos and made many jokes, it was a very fun and relaxing day. We made up for our terrible wastage of time finding the place but a perfect run home.

When we got home we had pork and gravy, potatoes and mushrooms, apple source and salad. Then we played some more games of Rummikub (I won a third of them) then finally some more TV before calling it a night.

Artis:

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