After a 6 hour journey from Hamburg, we arrived in Amsterdam Centraal, which is housed in a very nice building. We were in the minority of foreigners not interested in going to the ‘Coffeeshops’ to buy cannabis. We stumbled out onto ‘Damrak’, the main street outside the station. It was buzzing with trams and tourists attempting to avoid their angrily beeping progress (including us, by a matter of inches).

We then took a wander through what turned out to be the even more famous Red Light District, which while apparently ‘open for business’, was also patrolled by Politie on bicycles. There is something about bikes which detracts from the intimidating factor and adds to the humorous factor. After a bit we had to reluctantly buy an overpriced drink (€2,50 for a thimbleful of diet coke) from a café to use the toilet. Free public toilets do not appear to exist in mainland Europe, or at least any of the cities we have been to. We also sometimes get irritated looks when we order the cheapest and smallest drink between us.

Later we met some friends who live in Amsterdam and went for some great Dutch (and probably Belgian) beers in a much less touristy pub than the ones lining the main streets. After this we got the tram to their flat and watched the Olympic Opening Ceremony on TV with a tasty Chinese takeaway. The ceremony was a bit bizarre in places but had many undeniably impressive moments. We went to bed very tired but contented.

In the morning we got some tips about where to go and said farewells. We had failed to book the Anne Frank museum and after walking past decided the queue looked non-negotiable, we will have to save it for another time. We did get an excellent chocolate muffin and had a nice walk along the quiet canals which Amsterdam is renowned for. Next stop: Bruges, Belgium.

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