Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Day 2 - Grand Holland Bus tour

So today my new hubby and I discovered once again that we quite simply are not the "organized-tour| type of people. We took the Grand Holland tour today (courtesy of Lindbergh Excursions and 38euros apiece), which was nice, but not exactly the best bus tour ever (although it definitely beats that 13-hour overnight bus we took to Madrid last trip...).

We wandered around the city for a while this morning at 7AM until finally stumbling across a place actually OPEN... we enjoyed a nice filling breakfast at the Jolly Hotel. It seems as though the nighttime hubbub of Amsterdam does not carry over through to the wee hours of the morning. :) The city appears to sleep until at least 9AM. Jet-lagged travellers...not so much.

Back to the tour. The Grand Holland tour started at the Allsmere flower auction - which is apparently the "largest commerical auction/market" in the world, covering an area the size of something like 250 soccer fields. We then continue to a bus tour of the modern city of Rotterdam. After this (and before lunch, I might add), we visited the Delft Blue pottery factory. It was interesting to see just how this pottery is made, and mom, we even found a little something for you. :D What remains to be seen is whether or not the remainder of our travels allow us to deliver it to you in one or many pieces. :o

One of our lovely co-tourists was a full ten minutes late departing the factory. This in turn delayed ALL of us for lunch (as it was past 2, I was starting to get a bit peeved).

Lunch was had at a pub in Delft - a very quaint town that we would have loved to have enjoyed a bit more wandering around and exploring... but unfortunately we had to jump right back on the bus after our wienershnitzel and frites.

After lunch, we continue to the Hague. Brad tells me it was quite intersting, but I succumbed to an overwhelming wave of jet-lagged exhaustion, so I couldn't tell you.

When I woke (more accurately, when Brad prodded me awake) we were in Madurodam. Established in 1952, Madurodam is a miniature city containing all of Holland's most famous monuments. Even those of my own diminutive stature could feel big here. :)

---- Brad takes over the description here...

It was fun noting which travelers found the "snow" (it didn't even accumulate during the day) a novelty... while waiting for the bus some of them were running out into the parking lot and getting friends/family to take their picture. Leslie and I had to hide our grins. :)

Part of our trip through Madurodam was their Ice Sculpture exhibit (they had a fancier name for it but I can't remember). It was something like Ottawa's Winterlude, except Holland rarely has temperatures below zero so all of the sculptures were kept in a big refridgerated room. At the extrance they were handing out massive bright orange winter coats for everyone... we almost took one, then glanced ahead and saw the big digital readout, showing that the room was a whoppping -10 degrees. :) We declined the coats.

The weather unfortunately proved to be a bit of a delay, and we didn't end up arriving back in Amsterdam untikl 7:30ish (instead of 6pm as planned). Luckily we were able to find a nice cozy place for dinner around 8pm and had a great meal.

All in all we're having a fantastic time so far. Leslie is dragging me out to the van Gogh museum tomorrow, and we'll probably spend the majority of the day walking around and exploring some more.

Having a great time and miss you all!

P.S. Leslie hopes the rabbits are still alive :)


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