Monday 29 July 2013

Travelling around Amsterdam and taking lots of photos

Thinking back to my travels a few weeks ago I wanted to share some more pictures from Amsterdam to inspire people to visit the city.

There is most definitely a stigma attached to Amsterdam where most people conjure up images of mass stag do's, visiting the red light district and hours spent in 'coffee' shops smoking marijuana. But there is another side. There is so much culture, so much history and so much to see and to which doesn't involve sex, drugs and rock and roll.

For our second day in Amsterdam we visited the Stedelijk Museum which houses modern art, contemporary art, and design. This is right next to the Van Gogh museum so if your a fan of Art you can literally spend a whole day in both these museums.

Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

Parks in Amsterdam
After spending several hours in the Stedelijk Museum we headed back into the city centre and did some traditional sightseeing. In Amsterdam there are so many amazing buildings to see, some modern and new with impressive architecture and others old and wonky and leaning in true Amsterdam style. 


Tram tracks in Amsterdam

Cycling in Amsterdam 
This picture really did sum up Amsterdam for me, Lots of cyclists and lots of flowers!
After several hours walking around the city centre taking in the atmosphere we headed to a lovely riverside bar for a bite to eat and several beers.
Entertainment in Amsterdam

Traditional Amsterdam buildings

Amsterdam at Night

I would highly recommend Amsterdam as a place to go on holiday. If you want to see where we camped in Amsterdam visit my earlier blog post. 

Have you been to Amsterdam? Tell me what you favourite thing about Amsterdam is?

Thursday 25 July 2013

Guinea pig begging for food... Or is he really a meerkat in disguise? Super cute pictures!

Recently my Guinea pig has been getting more and more confident and sitting up and begging for food. It's incredibly cute but even cuter he is quite unstable on his feet and wobbles back every now and again.

I have two guinea pigs and only one does this and last night I finally managed to capture some shots of him doing his fantastic little trick.

Cute Guinea pig picturesCute Guinea pig photos

Guinea pig Guinea pig begging for food

Even without food he will often sit up and look for something, He has always been the more confident out of my two piggies and always likes being up high, sitting up on top of his bed rather than in his bed. Sitting often with his paws up on the cage looking out but this is his cutest moments yet. 

Wednesday 24 July 2013

Ruarri Joseph and Ash Grunwald play Fistral Beach Newquay.

After Thursday nights epic Levellers gig at Lusty Glaze Saturday night saw me heading down to Fistral beach for another gig. Tonight we would be dancing along to local boy Ruarri Joseph and Aussie Ash Grunwald.

However with such an amazing night on Thursday it was going to be hard to beat however I have seen Ash Grunwald several times before and knew it would be a great gig.

Sadly arriving to the temporary venue things already weren't proving to be that good. I went to the gig with 4 friends each paying £15 a ticket, having spent this £60 we could have saved our money by just sitting on the beach or at the Fistral blue bar and looked down onto the gig with a perfect view like the majority of people down there. However we had paid for the gig and wanted to go in, and support live music in Cornwall and as the atmosphere is always better in the crowds at a gig we headed down onto the sand.

We arrived missing the first support act but in time for Ash Grunwald, who in my opinion is amazing, however with no fault of his own the sound quality was appalling, with every deep tone played the speakers would crackle and pop and Ash even commented himself on the set up and the fact that he wasn't able to play due to his equipment sliding on the stage. Ash Grunwald was ever the professional and carried on playing his songs whilst the music technicians behind him rallied around trying to improve the sound. With lots of feedback, shrieks and crackles the gig went on but was not that impressive. I have seen Ash Grunwald in two other venues previously and the places were jumping with bass kicking through you. However Saturday nights gig felt slightly poor with terrible sound quality. If this was a free gig on the beach you wouldn't complain but when paying hard earned cash for a ticket, parking and drinks it becomes an expensive night and expect slightly more.
Fistral beach live music gig. Newquay Cornwall
By the end of Ash's set you kinda forgot about the poor sound quality and tried to enjoy the set ready for Ruarri Joseph. Unfortunately Ruarri Joseph didn't have any better luck with the power completely cutting out during what should have been a heartfelt and moving track.
Ruarri Joseph, Fistral beach gig

Both artists performed to the best that they could in the conditions, and it was great to see both artists perform again however if I see another gig advertised at Fistral beach I don't think I will be going, Yes the sunset was amazing, yes the artists were amazing and yes the rattler was very tasty all adding up to a great night but the constant technical issues really did ruin what should have been another amazing beach gig.

Tuesday 23 July 2013

The Levellers play in Cornwall at Lusty Glaze beach.

Thursday night saw the amazing Levellers headline a gig at the sundowner sessions on Lusty Glaze beach. The evening was setting up perfectly walking down to the beach in shorts and a t-shirt the sun was still blazing hot even with it getting late into the evening.
Lusty Glaze sundowner sessions, The Levellers

The crowds flocked down to the beach and the cider started flowing as the support acts started warming up the crowd. The crowd didn't really need much encouragement as the atmosphere was already hyped up and full of energy waiting for the levellers.
The Levellers at Lusty Glaze - Cornwall
The Levellers arrived on stage and put on a fantastic show, for anyone that doesn't even know their classic songs they would have loved the show. With the sun creating a fantastic show behind us setting into the sea and the Levellers in front of us bouncing energy into the crowd it was a really fantastic gig and recommend everyone in Cornwall to attend the magical sundowner sessions.

Jeremy Cunningham from The Levellers

Highlight of the night for me was meeting Jeremy Cunningham who plays bass for the levellers :") Brilliant night all round.

Thursday 18 July 2013

I think I need assistance from the Duracell bunny!

Living in a world of technology it's not surprising that we get through heaps of batteries but this week everything in my house seams to have died at the same time. Being into my photography I know that having back up batteries all the time is highly important and with my Nikon DSLR I always take a fully charged spare battery with me 'just in case' but for everything else in the house I don't have a kitchen draw full of new batteries. Even when we were away in Europe in the van I took spare batteries for my little compact camera, and spare batteries for the head torch.

After getting back from my travels across Europe the week started with me wanting to bake a cake and my digital scales not switching on as they had a dead battery. Then I went to switch the mac on and the batteries in the keyboard had died. Followed by my partner moaning that the TV remote had stopped working! I wonder if it something to do with the hot weather but this week everything is dying on me including lots of blown lightbulbs???

I popped to my local shop and was horrified by the cost of batteries, I usually use rechargeable batteries for everything but unfortunately the batteries that I needed were those little flat disc ones and AAA's non of which I have rechargeable ones. You might be reading this thinking WHY am I writing about batteries but I didn't realise how expensive they are now so wanted to have a rant!

My local shop wanted nearly £6 for each pack and I needed 3 packs!!! I returned home to an unhappy boyfriend as he still had no TV remote but I wasn't paying that for batteries. I'm not usually a super scrimper but after our holiday to Amsterdam and it being the end of the month the penny pinching begins. I've never bought batteries online but after a quick search realised that it's so much cheaper buying online. I used Battery Station and Amazon Who I didn't even know sold batteries and managed to get the three packets of batteries I needed for the cost of one in my local shop.
Image courtesy of
Now I live in a village and the local shop is more of a garage and general store so I know I should support my local shop and I do when buying bread and milk and try not to go to the big soulless super stores but I am now fully converted to buying my batteries online and my other half is happy that not only can he change channels on the box with the remote but there are spare batteries in draw.

Tuesday 16 July 2013

Driving to Amsterdam. Gaasperplas camping and city sight seeing.

Waking up in our camping spot for the night near to the Zeeland Bridge  in the Netherlands we realized that it was in fact still raining. It had rained really heavily during the night but luckily for us we pack ear plugs so that we can sleep anywhere and this blocked out the sounds of the stormy weather.

With no real reason to hang about in the camping spot we got on the road straight away and headed north towards Rotterdam and up to Amsterdam.

Map to Amsterdam

We had already researched a campsite for the next few nights located on the outskirts of the city and near to the metro station.

We successfully managed to navigate the roads in the pouring rain and found the campsite, The Gaasper Camping Amsterdam. On arrival this looked a little scary with massive metal railings around the entrance, security barriers and CCTV.

Gaasperplas camping Amsterdam

However, This did make us feel slightly safer as with such tight security on the outside did make us more at ease about leaving the van and our stuff inside. The area itself wasn't the best and seamed quite a poor area, with a footpath through a car park to the metro station. Being next to the Gaasperpark did give you the feeling that you were in fact camping in the countryside and not in a big city. 

We arrived around lunchtime so decided to head straight for the metro station and into the city centre. 
Gaasperplas metro station Amsterdam

The metro Amsterdam
We got to the platform and were totally lost and there was no body around to even ask for help. The only maps of the area were of the mainland overground services so working out how to get to the city centre was a complete mission. Luckily the train pulled into the station and the train driver got off the train and walked over to us asking us where we wanted to go in very good English. He explained that we were at the end of the line and could get a train from either platform and had to change at Van Der Madeweg. He gave us a copy of a metro map and we were sorted to get to the city centre. All we had to do now was return before 8pm or we would have to figure out how to use the night bus as well! 
Metro map Amsterdam
With a map in hand it was much easier to work out where to go. On the metro we realized again that we were travelling through the part of the city that wasn't so nice, with high blocks of flats and buildings being demolished.
Building demolition Amsterdam
Arriving in the centre of Amsterdam the rain eased off enough for us to absorb the sights and work out where we wanted to go and what we wanted to see. 
Amsterdam city centre
Not only were we lost pedestrians in a big city contending with traffic on the opposite side of the road but we also now had to avoid cars, bicycles and now trams. Coming from Cornwall and not really having to deal with much traffic and only country roads I was constantly holding my partners hand like a child to make sure I wouldn't get run over!
Amsterdam city centre. Netherlands

Amsterdam canals

Bikes in Amsterdam

Amsterdam city centre
Another place worth visiting in Amsterdam is the floating flower markets. Even if your not really into flowers these are worth a look around as there are so many beautiful colours and smells to absorb. Opposite the flower market are more shops to peruse if buying plants is not your thing. 
Flower market Amsterdam

Boats on Amsterdam Canals
After several hours of walking through side streets, the red light district, canals and shops we opted to take one of the many Amsterdam boat tours. Here we got to see all the famous locations pointed out to us by the guided tour. 
Amsterdam bridges
Here is the back of the train station and the entrance for all the free ferries across the river joining the city. 
Amsterdam river cruises

Floating Chinese restaurant Amsterdam

Smallest house in Amsterdam
We also got to see the smallest house in Amsterdam which was only 2 metres wide. After our boat tour we headed for food and then a visit to the famous sex museum. We had to at least see one of the notorious sex museums whilst in Amsterdam. 
Amsterdam Sex Museum

Monday 15 July 2013

Burgh-Haamstede, Scharendikje, zierikzee and the Zeeland Bridge. Netherlands road trip.

From the previous days trip to Domburg we travelled across the N57 joining the islands to reach Burgh-haamstede. The journey across this area of the Netherlands was amazing. Beautiful clear still waters and amazing long bridges with stunning wind turbines gracefully turning in the wind.
Zeeland Netherlands

Zeeland Netherlands

Netherlands Zeeland
Here's our van looking very little under the bridge on the N57 on our way heading to Burgh-haamstede. 
Under the Oosterscheldekering bridge Netherlands

Wind turbines Netherlands
After a few hours of driving around the coast roads and taking in the views we took another stop for a picnic lunch. Stopping at Scharendikje marina with a picnic we took in the views of the marina and had a walk around the marina. Again another beautiful peaceful spot, On first entering the Netherlands the roads were wide and the cities we bypassed where massive, being somewhere so peaceful and stunning was quite a shock as was expecting a more industrial landscape than what we were witnessing.  
Scharendikje marina Netherlands
After leaving Scharendikje we stopped in the town of Zierikzee to see the windmill. This has to be one of my favourite places we visited on the trip. The town on first arrival presented us with a car park at the rear of a small super market and at the back of lots of shops. We even wondered whether to even get out of the car as the place didn't look very inviting. Once we ventured out of the car and into the town we were both pleasantly surprised. With quaint shops, alfresco dining, castles, windmills and lots of stunning buildings there really was a lot to see.  
Zierikzee town centre Netherlands

Zierikzee town centre Netherlands

Windmill Zierikzee

Zierikzee castle Netherlands

Windmill Zierikzee Netherlands
As the night started drawing to a close we travelled to see the Zeeland bridge as it looked pretty big on the map. We were yet again glad that we made the effort to see this bridge as it was huge! The bridge went as far as the eye could see and disappeared into the mist. Travelling over the bridge we researched and found out that the bridge is 5022 metres long. After crossing the bridge we found another spot to camp for the night after another great day travelling through the Netherlands. Next stop Amsterdam.
Zeeland Bridge Netherlands

Saturday 13 July 2013

Road trip to Domburg, Nertherlands

After spending the day in Middelburg we needed to find somewhere to stay the night so headed up to the coast. We stumbled upon the beautiful town of Domburg, which was just wonderful. With an evening market and all the shops open late we still had time to enjoy what the town had to offer before heading to the beach.

Domburg, Netherlands

The beach at Domburg, Netherlands

Beach huts at Domburg, Netherlands

Surfing at Domburg, Netherlands

Lighthouse Westkapelle Netherlands

There must be something about the sea or at least water that i'm compelled to be near to. Living in Cornwall I've got the sea on both coasts and my house is just 6 miles from the award winning Watergate Bay. But after 3 nights in Belgium in a field I needed to be close to the water. There were several Car parks linking the coast road leading to the beach but all of them had signs to prohibit us from camping in them. Eventually we found a spot right by the waters edge with no signs to stop people staying the night. There were several other vehicles down on the coast road parked up doing a spot of night fishing so figured it would be ok to join them.
Sunset over the North sea

Sunset over the North sea, Netherlands

The other thing that I just didn't think about was the very slight time difference in Europe. The nights weren't getting dark until 11pm which gave us so much more time to enjoy the places we were visiting before it got dark which was amazing. Sitting in the van we sat up talking all night watching the sun set over the sea and watching the stream of boats pouring out the estuary and across the North sea. It was truly a beautiful spot. Next on the road trip is to continue up into Netherlands and eventually find Amsterdam. What started as a weekend car show to EBI5 was now turning into a wonderful holiday.