There and Back Again

Amsterdam-canal

 

In the past two weeks I have been to The Netherlands, Wales and a whole variety of places in England.

Amsterdam is a complicated, confusing, beautiful city. The division between the tourist trap, “coffee” and smart shop fueled, stoner city and the arty, bohemian cool of the Jordaan suburb feels remarkably well delineated. I’d really like to spend more time there.

I do like the positive, more relaxed and accepting attitude the Dutch have to drugs and sex but the experience of Amsterdam is marred by that being the main tourist attraction. I would really like to see a city where those attitudes are normal without an accompanying industry being made from tourists reveling in their freedoms for the first time.

 

#amsterdam knows how to throw an #edm #festival. #awakenings #awakeningsfestival

A photo posted by @liatach on

Among the many things we saw and did there, the Saturday we spent at the Awakenings festival and the visit to the bodyworks exhibition were my highlights. The level of organisation and the scale of the music festival was extraordinary. Oddly it finished at a 11PM but a grand day and night out was had by all.

flayed-saxophanist

Yes this is a flayed cadaver playing saxophone.

I missed the Gunther Von HagensBodyworlds exhibition when it came to Australia years ago. So I was very eager to see it at its permanent home. I was not disappointed. It is amazing and bizarre. The whole experience is made more peculiar by the twee, “Happiness is good for your health” messages displayed and inserted throughout the exhibition. These are in contrast to the remarkable preserved cadavers, unpleasant medical conditions and genuinely creepy character of Gunther Von Hagens himself. A man who meets too many criteria on the mad scientist supervillan list to be taken seriously when he encourages you to ‘Don’t worry be happy’.

Post bucks weekend we turned over the guest house and headed south for the wedding of Steven and Jill in a wee town outside Swindon.

avebury-stone

Massive chunks of stone and bored children.

Chalk-horse

If only that cow had better aim it’d have an eye.

The wedding was lovely, the hotel grand and even my speech went down well. Two nights in Swindon flew by and we headed west via some standing stones, a chalk horse and a roman ruin to visit maternal relatives in Wales. Cardiff was a hoot and included a tour of a significant portion of the local playgrounds, much to the delight of L and F.

 

Cardiff-pier

 

Perspective art on the barrage in #cardiff.

A photo posted by @liatach on

Post Wales we headed back east for dinner with friends in London and two nights in a grand old dive of a hotel in Slough. From where we went to…

LEGOLAND!

Which was, as expected a grand day out. We had hoped to stay at the Lego hotel for the complete experience but we left it too late and prices became outrageous. Some of the outdoor Lego pieces have seen better days, green slime in the water features, cracked and faded plastic on the builds, awful expensive food, and labyrinthine park layout. All did not matter, the rides were great and everyone left beaming.

The submarine ride through a giant fish tank with sharks and Lego Atlantis was my favourite. Unfortunately F was too small for many rides but had a great time regardless, L was only just tall enough for some of the big rides.

Lego city firemen, Viking splash and Star Wars Miniland featured among L’s highlights.

The whole day was improved by the accompaniment of my wonderful cousin Jenny.

Post Lego we drove in one mad and seemingly endless day from London back to Glen Orchy Scotland and collapsed into our own beds again. Four days later and normality is returning. Bedtimes are being pushed back to more reasonable hours and the washing is finally done.

Through all this I have of course been watching the slow motion train wrecks of Brexit and the Federal DD election in Australia. Thoughts on them another night.

Brexit-Dont-panic

 

Snapped in passing at a Moto on the way north. I like it because of Hitchhiker’s of course.

There is art to be done and further adventures to contemplate.

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