So much more than red lights & marijuana

Starting off, I just have to say, respect to all the travelers who were able to give a little blog every day of their travels. Tonight is really the first night I am actually sitting down to really write something down. So far I have edited some photos on trains and during brief moments of quiet.

The days being so long have really been messing with our brains. It is so great to have daylight until 22:00, but then my brain tells me then that it is only 18:00. And then out of habit still waking up at 6:30. Of course as a photographer, having all this light at your disposal is, is such a joy!

Our travels already started on Monday with our flights. Tedious and tiring though they may be, the journey is as much part of the holiday as the destination. The night flight there was spent sleepless, which we luckily made up for with power naps on our second flight, after our layover in Abu Dhabi.

Waiting for us in Amsterdam on Tuesday, was the groom-to-be, my good friend Frans. It is all because of his wedding that this trip came about, and we didn't need a second invitation to grab on to this opportunity.
At his house, we had coffee and glorious stroopwafelsafter which he took us to Brouwerij 't Ij. This brewery comes with a windmill right next to it, so it is a big 'welcome to The Netherlands'!
We all tried their different beers (my personal favourite is the 'Ijwit'), enjoying a small plate of cheese on the side. This is where Frans' fiancé Anneke joined us for a last beer, before dinner at De Ponteneur
Sadly we made the rookie mistake of taking a camera...but no memory card. So you will just have to take our word for it that it was indeed good food, good beers and extremely good company!

Sometimes you just have to take the photo that is taken by everyone...but who says you can't put a new spin on it!

Wednesday was spent walking...a lot of walking. I always say that the best way to see a city is to avoid trams & buses (handy at times, no doubt though!), and just walk to get a sense of the city and the people living their everyday lives there. 
At 10:30 we got off the metro at Amsterdam Central station, sorted out one or two necessities and took to the road. Frans joined a bit later in the day, as he still had things to sort out for the upcoming wedding.
According to Google Maps, we walked about 15km through the streets of Amsterdam. We walked past the canals (the big ones and the smaller ones), past thousands of bicycles, little shops, bakeries & bakeries (ahhh, the bakeries!), through big squares and small squares, through the Begijnhof, spent some time in Vondelpark and walked through Sarphatiapark.
It was around 22:00 when our feet told us it is time to head home.

We decided on Thursday to choose one of the 3 big museums on Museumplein, and the decision fell on the Van Gogh Museum, definitely worth a visit for anyone visiting Amsterdam. Dinner was spent at Frans' house, where he cooked a delicious vegetarian meal for us.

Oh, the irony...

Friday we started a bit late, as we had to sort some things out for our banking. It has been near impossible to pay anywhere with our Visa credit card, and it doesn't help that all the cards we have authorised for foreign use, are all Visa. After secure messages to the bank, which we had to activate sms roaming on my cellphone for as well, we got it all sorted out.
Sonja came from England for the wedding on Friday as well, and we were excited to meet up with her at the World Press Photo Exhibition at the Nieuwe Kerk on Damplein a bit later, but first coffee on a terrace in the glorious sun, as the weather has turned for the good and became absolutely perfect.

The streaks in the sky made by planes. You don't see this back in South Africa, and it makes for a beautiful sky sometimes.

We always look out for the WPF photos, and were keen to go to the exhibition for the first time. As always, all the images were striking and thought-provoking and we spent a good two hours browsing the images and reading the back-stories.
By the end of this, both Frans & Sonja have met up with us and we sat down on a terrace for a beer, before we went off to my old home in the Beemster.

And we are off to Zuidoostbeemster!