Well for all those who have been to Amsterdam over the years, I guess you know what its all about... or do you?
I had the very awesome privilege to stay with Tom and Anne and their two wee ones Jasper and Rosie on their newly aquired adventure contraption called the "Papillon" (French for Butterfly).
Tom and Anne and the crew are also at the beginning stages of planning crazy adventures all round the world on their 30 odd meter ship recently purchased from a beautiful couple on the ADM (a pretty old squat in the industrial area to the west of Amsterdam). What a place the ADM is, full of so much life, love and amazing creations.
Crazy everyday creatures
Everyday was so unique and so amazing its really hard to explain what really went on. The best part about the Papillon was the cruising all the way up the Noordzeekanaal into central Amsterdam having a wee puff of Amsterdam's finest.
Cruising into central Amsterdam
I love being on boats and would love to join da crew in the Caribbean when you finally get there. Anne keeps saying its a race back home, I plan on getting back around Xmas 2010 for my 25th to have another wild combined party with Nick and Ben. Anne seems to think she'll still beat me cause she reckons ill love it so much and wont return. Who knows?
So the Papillon is almost ready to go, The crew are planning a departure in the spring/summer up to the Norwegian Fjords for a bit of a practice run before they take on the North Atlantic Ocean passage to Canada. But even before then they are looking to spend next winter, not in the coldness of Amsterdam but in the warmer Mediterranean around Crete. So many wicked adventures to come. They too will have a blog and some very interesting stories to tell, so I look forward to hearing about the adventures of the Papillon very soon, Ill put a link to their blog up when they set it up, this one will definitely be wroth a read.
Tom enjoying the ride with wee Rosie while Anne is at the helm
So the ADM a very interesting place to say the least (http://www.admleeft.nl/index.php). There are so many amazing people staying there from all over the world and quite a few are working on some very interesting projects. Its a very diverse mix of all sorts, from sailers to gypsies. Its a place of great creativity and a place for dreamers to actually turn their dreams into reality. They also have massive festival there at the RoboDock. Check the site out.
On Monday night its a must to go to the barge up the end of the dock for an all you can eat seafood buffet of locally sourced and fresh as seafood from the North sea. The owners who we met are the only sustainable fishers left in Holland as they fish traditionally with hand nets and drag the fish up to the mud flats and sort the catch out. It would have been an awesome experience to have gone out with them for a week of fishing. Their Barge was incredible too, Squeezing down the stairway into a candle lit cabin that open up into the guts of a massive barge and there be seafood everywhere, anything you want, you pick and choose. The ambience of the place gave a feeling that i will not ever forget, between the candle lights, dark stingy pirate vibes and the music, seafood, dogs and amazing crazy people, Woo.
Mario the chef also put on another dinner for us one night in his caravan, and well apart from the great food the company of these mad hatters was amazing, laughing constantly all night long. I love the ADM and cant wait to go back one day in the future if it is still there. Cheers for the good grub Mario (Mario wants to be the chef on the Papillon when they set sail).
Fred was also creating a world record masterpiece, making a motor-bycle that could ride 300km on one litre of fuel. He has simplified the engine remarkably, it doesn't even have a gear box. Check it!
Fred with his 25cc motorbycle
I took off on the weekend to give my good friend Jason Lessels and his woman Birgid a visit in Oldenburg, Germany. So my experiences and the good times in Europe keep on coming. Bigid organised between all their uni mates to complete a very north German tradition called "Kohlfart", It's pretty much an excuse to play silly games and walk around the country side with a very old billy cart that the wheels are about to fall off on and its full of alcohol.
Jason dragging the cart back home, now almost empty of alcohol
While constantly drinking with these extremely big germans (the germans are so tall), we played games like Bosseln, a bowling game where you have two teams and bowl the ball along the lanes as far as you can and try not to get it in the ditch full of icy water. There was a throw the teabag with your mouth competition, the 3 pieces of cardboard race where you always had to have one foot on 2 pieces at one time, and the ever so amusing egg and spoon race.
The 3 pieces of cardboard race
After all the drinking we headed into town and ate Cabbage (thats what you eat after the first frosts in winter time) and potatoes and Pinkle and kochwerst. It was so delicious. Was such an amazing day full of loads of fun, what a german experience!!! Cheers guys. Ohh and on the cycle ride home we had to stop by and do some binning.
Next day I took off up the very north of Germany to see the North sea. The land and sea are separated by these enormous dykes. They are so big and they are all over the place. Man... rising sea levels could mean far more less of northern Germany in the near future. The islands up the very top are quite unique as you can actually walk a couple of Kilometers to them apparently when the tide is low. That arvo, the sky decided to precipitate and it was quite difficult to find a camping spot as there weren't many woods around. Anyhow I eventually found a place by a frozen lake and set up camp in the freezing rain. All I was thinking was, what are you doing you crazy bastard, head south, the Mediterranean is calling you.
This is my camp set up when it rains and while im next to a frozen lake.
Little do I know I still have to cross the snowy French and Swiss alps into Italy where fresh snow is still falling. Bugger to that.
So heading back to Amsterdam I headed along the North Sea coast line and along the largest man made dyke across the sea that I had ever been across, the winds were strong but it was a beautiful sun-shining day. There were large washed up ice bergs on the edge of the dykes too, something Id never seen before, they looked so sharp and dangerous.
The bike on the dyke
Without knowing I was back in Holland heading down the east coast along beautiful sandy beaches, it wasnt to long till I was back at the ADM to chill and sort my self out till I took off to Belgium to see max1million and Farbio and their beautiful families and Monica my sister is heading over too.
Cheers to Tom and Anne for letting me stay, I had such a great time, especially with the kids, and to all the great people I met and shared wonderful experiences with at the ADM, what a place.
Dragonflys flirting at the ADM