We left St. Goar to head to Edam, Netherlands, famous for it delicious cheese. After another long day of travelling, we arrived and were shown how they make the cheese and clogs. That was pretty cool but wasn’t as good as the huge diversity of cheese samples we got to taste. The best one was one that had bits of bacon in it. I was very tempted but as Australia has very strict import rules, I didn’t think it was going to be worth the effort.

Our next stop was meant to be a cycle tour the city but we had the first real bad patch of rain on the entire trip so it was cancelled. This gave us more time to experience what our Tour Manager calls ‘Dutch Culture’, so we checked in earlier at the best hotel of the trip only to leave soon after to head into the city. We headed into the main section of town and got off the bus and did a bit of orientation.

Before long we ended up in the ‘Green Light’ district, but the coffee shops there were completely different from Starbucks and Sip back home. After an hour of free time we met up again as a group, this time to head to the ‘Red Light’ district to watch a live sex show. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I was shocked nonetheless. It was literally a live. sex. show. The best part was when they called some of our group on stage to participate!

They called five of the single(ish) girls on stage to help a male stripper undress and to rub lotion on him. It was hilarious and many people were in tears watching. After another interlude of a sex ‘show’ they called five guys to the stage, four of which from newly formed couples on the tour and ‘little dog’, a guy in our group who is everyone’s favourite. A person in a monkey suit with a strap-on came on stage as a woman in a grass bikini and a banana came on stage.

As you might have guessed, the woman inserted the banana and then peeled it, inviting one guy at a time to take a bite. As you can expect, the first guy was a bit shocked and confused, but did it anyway. Little dog bit off more than he could chew and got in trouble for breaking the no touching rule. The final guy was the one that formed the new couple practically on the first day and was really embarrassed to do it. After pleading with his new girl friend if it was ok, he took the final bid and we thought it was done… However the monkey then sprayed water from his fake appendage all over everyone! Thinking there was no more surprises, we almost fell off our chair when he removed the mask to reveal Jon, our Tour Manager underneath!!

Afterwards we walked past the ladies in the window. For anyone interested, different streets have different themes, such as Silicon Valley, big butt boulevard and Ralph Road. Little dog had to nibble and was the only person to sample the local cuisine, spending 80 Euro for a super model quality girl. There is also a ‘Blue Light’ district full of lady boys and gay men, but we never ventured through there.

We went out to a bar, then grabbed the yummiest noodles I have had in a long time. We shared a cab home and called it a night. After some more FaceTime it was time for bed an awesome sleep in. Everyone else had to get up early to take advantage of the short time in this awesome country, but as we had about a week and a half here, we opted to relax and recharge by having a lazy day. We explored the west side of the city as our hotel was here but Colin’s Grandma is in the south-east and probably would not be back there. We found some awesome parks that puts Brisbane to shame, they had tennis courts, soccer fields, baby pools and rivers.

At five am we got on the coach and headed to one of the best dinners of the trip. I think they must do it deliberately so that you end the tour with a favourable memory to make the overall experience seem more pleasurable. On the way, the Tour Manager recounted every day and all the activities we did, it was amazing how much we accomplished. I wish I had recorded it as he explained it so eloquently, but it really did make you appreciate what a phenomenal experience we had undertaken. After we ate, we headed onto the bus for a boat cruise through the windy canals of Amsterdam. It was quite fun, we got this interesting drink that had a ritual involving biting the lid off with your teeth and sticking the lid to your forehead.

Everyone was running around like crazy, trying to take photos with everyone. I think they realised this would be the last time we would be together as a group and wanted to capture a moment with everyone. After the cruise we boarded the bus for the very last time which was quite sad but exciting at the same time. We went to a shots bar, where we were given a free drink. I later ordered the weirdest shot called the Shizuan Bun. I was handed a yellow flower and a full shot glass, told to bite off the yellow part and chew it for 10 seconds then take the drink. My mouth went numb then burning and the effect lasted half an hour.

It was too hot inside so most people went to a coffee shop to get a refreshment, I guess no one told them coffee dehydrates you. Afterwards we headed to a club called No 129 that was a lot of fun. Again everyone was taking lots of pictures and going crazy. The Tour Manager personally gave me a rum and coke and mentioned that he thought I was one of the best guys on the trip which was nice to hear.

After several hours of dancing, Colin went home but needed the room to himself for a while. This was quite a conundrum for me, as soon after everyone had gone too hard and wanted to go home.luckily for me there were four local girls wearing party hats sitting near by. I asked them what they were for (21st) and got into a great conversation with them. The people here are so incredibly nice and friendly, for example, the day before we were in a supermarket buying just a single drink and the older lady in front let us before her.

They explained we were in the tourist part of town, which makes perfect sense as that is where the tour guide always takes us in each city we visit. They kindly took me under their collective wing and we went to another bar. I taught them how to shuffle as a thank-you but before long it was closing time and they showed me where to catch a cab home.

I was anxious going back to the hotel, worried I would disturb Colin. Luckily for me he sent me a message and it was safe to return to my room, where I FaceTimed Tanya for a while before sleep. We got to sleep in the next day as the majority of people went back on the coach to return to London. That concluded our 21 day European Vista experience, and what an experience it was.

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