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Erik & Smisty & TPR do Holland, Poland, and Swedeland

Wed Aug 07, 2019 3:14 pm


Erik & Smisty here. You may remember us from such Trip Reports as Erik & Smisty's Vancouver Oddventure or Erik & Smisty at the Mall of America.

We'd always wanted to go on a TPR trip, the timing just never seemed to be right. But now we have! We visited something like 10 parks in 10 days, covering The Netherlands, Poland, and Sweden. Since this was also our first trip to Europe, we spent a few days on our own both before and after the official trip. This first part will be covering our pre-trip wanderings around Amsterdam. But, not to worry, we've managed to sneak in a ride or two....

But before we get to the photos, more words! A few observations about Amsterdam:

If you're at all worried about being lost or at a disadvantage because you don't speak the language, almost everyone in Amsterdam seems to speak English just about as well I do. Do be aware that it's very much UK English, though. So it's a lift, not an elevator.

On a related note, I've never felt so much like a big old hunk of Ameritrash as when a citizen of a country I'm visiting apologizes to me for their poor English-language skills.

Most signs are in English and Dutch, but if it is only in one language, that language is usually English.

We were told that if you take a photo of a prostitute in Amsterdam, they will throw piss at you. Which is interesting because in America they charge for that.

We didn't go to the Red Light District at all, except once by accident, where we saw a lady in lingerie hanging out in front of a window. I would've taken a photo, but, well, you know.

In Amsterdam, "coffee shops" sell marijuana, "cafes" serve coffee, a "restaurant" is a type of fish, and "whore houses" are just places that play Burt Reynolds films. Crazy!

The Dutch struck me as rather conservative in terms of dress and personal appearance, which is interesting considering how tolerant they are culturally.

The city is beautiful, but there's a consistency to the look of the old town streets/canals that borders on sameness.

A lot of the buildings are wonky. I mean, they're old and built on marshland. But, also, a lot of them were originally warehouses and built with front-facing facades that tapered out as they went up, so they could hoist things to the upper floors without cargo damaging the front of the building. If you look, you'll often see a steel beam sticking out from the front of the building near the top.

The canals look cool, but don't seem to serve much of a purpose anymore, beyond transporting tour boats. There are no proper water taxis or citizens rowing over to their neighbor's house, that I saw, and no real industry (utilizing the canals) besides tourism. There were some houseboats, but they just sit there, so, really, those could just be land houseboats on land canals.

There are a lot of bicycles in Amsterdam. No matter how many bicycles you are imagining based on that statement, there are more.

As an American, we often think of ourselves as largely coming from England, culturally. But being in The Netherlands really reminded me of just how much my country was influenced by Dutch culture.

Restaurant service is slow, especially towards the end, as full-service dining is apparently meant to be a leisurely activity, and you're supposed to feel at home and not like you're being rushed out. Not always ideal if you're on vacation and eager to get to the next thing.

Holland is two regions of The Netherlands, and calling the country Holland is roughly akin to calling the UK "England," except that the Dutch don't really seem to mind. So I will mostly just say Holland because it's easier to type. Except, of course, when I don't. But within the context of these trip reports, forgive my ugly American-ness and just consider the two names to be interchangeable.

What the Dutch call a staircase, Americans call a ladder.

Okay, let's do this....

Part 1: Bicycles & Stroopwaffles - Page 1
Part 2: Coaster Trains & Bitterballen - Page 2
Part 3: Planes & Pierogi - Page 3
Part 4: Buses & Glassbombers - Page 5
Part 5: Ships & Meatballs - Page 6

Part 1: Bicycles & Stroopwaffles
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After 13 hours in the air, we took the train into the city-proper. THIS IS THE TRAIN STATION. Seriously? F-you, Amsterdam!
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Our hotel, the Sir Adam, part of the A'DAM Tower, beckons across the IJ River. But first we must cross the Intersection of Doom from the train station to the free ferry as pedestrians, bicycles and scooters zoom every which way in what was probably a well-coordinated dance until we blundered into the middle of it.
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The karaoke elevator. (Not pictured, but also in our hotel: the disco elevator.)
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Every room at the Sir Adam has a record player, and there are bins full of vinyl down in the lobby. Also, the view wasn't bad and whenever anyone asks me what my favorite thing on the trip was, my first thought is this hotel room but I try not to say it because that seems uncultured and bad.
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Atop the building is the A'DAM Lookout observation deck. The giant red horse represents, um, Holland...defeating...the horse tribes of Northern Europe...in the 1600's, I'm pretty sure.
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"Over the Edge" is a swing ride over the side of the tower. And while "Europe's highest swing" is quite nice, it's no Stratosphere. It costs 5 euros, but obviously I have no idea how much that is. Pictured here is our cousin Marcolio and his girlfriend Nefertiti.
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Also in the building, this high-end burger chain that a lot of trip participants seem to have checked out at one point or another. It was pretty good, too.
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This is what Amsterdam looks like. I'm going to try to post photos that look different from this, but those will largely be lies and trickery. This is Amsterdam.
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Bebo is the leading chain of faux-vending machine fast food places that have been all the rage in Holland since the invention of little doors.
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I imagine that one of the more stressful jobs in Amsterdam is driving instructor.
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If you don't think we went to the Amsterdam Cheese Museum, you've obviously never read one of our trip reports.
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It's really more of a cheese shop with some exhibits in the basement, but I honestly would've gone in if it were only a cheese shop, so it's a win in my book. Check out the Dutch stairs in the background. Good luck!
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Little known fact: Almost all of the cobblestones in Amsterdam were imported from Hell.
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Lunch with Marcorio and Nerfetti at De Carrousel. I had the ham, egg, and cheese pancake and strawberry nutella poffertjes.
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We skipped the Anne Frank House but this one's lighthearted name keeps it from being too depressing!

On the other hand, it seems even more disrespectful than my comment that there is a road going through what is supposed to be a memorial to Holocaust victims.
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Based on our research ahead of time, we were going to skip the Rijksmuseum in the interest of not overmuseuming. But once we saw it in person, we had to go.
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I enjoyed this massive medieval mixed medium museum much, I must say.
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Rembrandts and the full museum experience.
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I don't know much about art, but I know what I like.
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If you're going to spend months carving a statue, I think you really owe it to yourself to ensure that it's picking its nose.
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We also went to the Van Gogh Museum, but since they clearly hate publicity and don't allow photography, and the Rijksmuseum has Van Goghs of their own, maybe just go here.
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One of these things is not like the others.
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Oooh, stroopwaffles....
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Smisty, nooooooooooo!
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Approximately 15,000 bicycles are pulled out of Amsterdam's canals every year. That's actually not a joke. I did research.
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The Artis Amsterdam Royal Zoo opened in 1838, making it the world's fifth oldest zoo.
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The best part of this photo is that on the right hand side of it is a canal, and on the other side of that are multi-story apartment buildings. Which means that one could theoretically have an apartment in Amsterdam with a view of elephants, zebras, and giraffes. Which is honestly something I never even considered as a possibility but now is the only thing I can think about.
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Artis also has an aquarium in it, which I am for. And inside this aquarium, for some reason, is a black and white poster-sized photo of The Big One at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, which I nearly included a photo of here just so I could say there was a photo of a roller coaster in this section of the trip report. But, in the end, I decided I was above such trickery and besides you're reading it anyway.
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"Dude, I can totally see inside that apartment building!"
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I don't think I can poop here.
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This bird looks like it deserves to be in prison.
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I would have bought these guys, but there's no way I could handle that level of judgement.
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This is a monkey riding a cow. I'm not sure how consensual it is on the part of the cow. Maybe the cow is for it. Maybe they are in love. I don't know, and I'd prefer not to speculate.
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Micropia is a separately ticketed part of Artis dedicated to microscopic animals and bacteria.
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You are a disgusting ecosystem.
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Micropia isn't terribly large (which makes sense, I guess), but it is interesting.
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I wish I knew, kid. I wish I knew.
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On the right is the Hortus Botanicus botanical garden. We would've gone inside, but it was beginning to get hot in Amsterdam (foreshadowing!) and what we'd experience so far in the city suggested that a greenhouse here would likely not be equipped to keep us comfortable, temperature-wise.
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Oh, you don't want one of those, believe me.
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"Grillroom Donny" was a hole-in-the-wall, but it served amazing street food and the dude who ran it was awesome. The thing on the right is a waffle, by the way. It's just hard to tell.
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Soarin' Over Holland. Conveniently located next to A'DAM Tower and our hotel room.
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They create people here.
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Misty really liked that the preshow told you what parts of Holland you were going to fly over.

This one also gets a bit dark, as at one point you run directly into one of the blades of those giant modern windmills, destroying it in a process that I can only assume would result in your immediate and spray-form demise.

Oh, and pretty much every transition spritzes you, whether it makes any sense or not.

So, yeah, awesome.
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Weird salad at the Eye Film Museum's restaurant.
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The Eye Film Museum and the IJ River at Sunset, circa almost 10:00pm.

Stay tuned for part 2, featuring actual roller coasters!
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Last edited by Electerik on Tue Sep 03, 2019 5:49 pm.

Re: Erik & Smisty & TPR do Holland, Poland, and Swedeland

Wed Aug 07, 2019 3:28 pm

AWESOME start to the trip. . .fantastic pics, and such great commentary

(tho honestly, the "heat lines" coming off the "Wat is Poep" cover namesake is freaking me out a little bit).

Love your reports, and eagerly look forwards to following along.

Re: Erik & Smisty & TPR do Holland, Poland, and Swedeland

Wed Aug 07, 2019 3:47 pm

Great Am'dam report, start of your trip! So much crazy stuff there, it's almost like Japan ("almost").
And when you find the right food stops, it - is - awesome! I've been there a number of times,
and it's so nice to see stuff I still haven't seen yet, through other's eyes like yours and Smisty's.

Looking forward to more of your trip. =)

Re: Erik & Smisty & TPR do Holland, Poland, and Swedeland

Wed Aug 07, 2019 4:28 pm

Hmm . . . it seems that my Dad's old farm shop was equipped with a set of "Dutch stairs." I have learned something today--that life on the farm was more dangerous than I'd previously thought. Thank you.

Nice to see your first European Oddventure off to such a great start. I look forward to more.

Re: Erik & Smisty & TPR do Holland, Poland, and Swedeland

Wed Aug 07, 2019 6:33 pm

Awesome! That's one fantastic trip already!

our cousin Marcolio and his girlfriend Nefertiti

Okay, they win Coolest Couple Name Award Ever for All Time.

Re: Erik & Smisty & TPR do Holland, Poland, and Swedeland

Wed Aug 07, 2019 8:31 pm

Great report! Thanks for the tips and commentary on Amsterdam/Netherlands. It's going to come in handy for me next week.

Re: Erik & Smisty & TPR do Holland, Poland, and Swedeland

Wed Aug 07, 2019 11:52 pm

Damn you Erik and Smisty (and Chuck). I really want to do a Photo TR of the trip also, but now I have to compete with two of TPRs wittiest wordsmiths, before the serious photographers start their PTRs.

Re: Erik & Smisty & TPR do Holland, Poland, and Swedeland

Thu Aug 08, 2019 4:10 am

Great report! Can't wait to read more. Seems like we did a lot of the same stuff pre-trip. De Carrousel and ARTIS were both awesome.

larrygator wrote:Damn you Erik and Smisty (and Chuck). I really want to do a Photo TR of the trip also, but now I have to compete with two of TPRs wittiest wordsmiths, before the serious photographers start their PTRs.

Please do one as well! The world needs to hear about your VR experience at Walibi Holland :lmao:

Re: Erik & Smisty & TPR do Holland, Poland, and Swedeland

Thu Aug 08, 2019 7:24 am

More trip reports! This is going to be a heavily-chronicled trip. Which is good, because it was an awesome trip.

Bikes in the Netherlands are really scary as a pedestrian because you have to worry about getting run over, but they're even scarier when you're driving around because you have to worry about not running them over. Because that would be bad.

I must be the only person who didn't go to The Butcher, though I visited Foodhallen where they had a location, but chose not to eat there after seeing a dude in a The Butcher shirt leave the restroom without washing his hands. :lmao:

Pannenkoeken is pretty great. Stroopwafels are better.

Great work getting this started so quickly!

Re: Erik & Smisty & TPR do Holland, Poland, and Swedeland

Thu Aug 08, 2019 1:22 pm

You had me at fresh stroopwafels and you lost me at raw herring! :lol:

I'm so excited to see this trip report play out!
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