Sean Dom

Sean Dom probably comes closest to pronouncing Zaandam, and it’s the city I live in, the city of windmills. I was wondering what Zaandam is known for and why the hell anybody would want to visit this town.

Zaanse Schans, Sence-uh scans.
From all over the world, but especially from Japan and China, people come to visit De Zaanse Schans. I must say that Zaandam is pretty unpronounceable, but De Zaanse Schans beats that easily.

Vrede = Peace in English, just so you know!

Vrede = Peace in English, just so you know!

It is Beautiful though, and you can stroll around and really get to know how it was in the days. As a local, you will probably never find me there.

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Dam tot Dam loop. Dom tod dom loop (like in slope minus the s)

Once a year we have one of the biggest runs in Zaandam, amazing! 23.000 people taping their nipples and running 16 km. (Not taping your nipples would be rather stupid, I go there every year.. I know)

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To write down how you pronounce De Dam tot Dam Loop, well, a lot of English people pronounce it somewhat like Damn to Damn, whilst actually it’s more Dom to Dom. Both Zaandam and Amsterdam have a Dam, and people run from one to another.

Amsterdam, Am (like Amish) stir dom

I don’t think I mentioned it, but Zaandam is kinda like a suburb of Amsterdam. Only 15 minutes by train and you can have the Amsterdam experience.

Architecture

I remember being in Italy once, just a random small place at the Como lake. I entered a shop and on the table there was a book. It was opened on a certain page, and on that page was this:

Hotel Inntell, Zaandam

Hotel Inntell, Zaandam

This building rises tall in Zaandam, but it’s known all over the world. Everybody has got something to say about it. You either love it or you hate it. Speaking for myself I think it’s pretty cool, and it is a real eye catcher. All different kinds of Zaanse Homes put on top of each other.. Brilliant!

So far my own touristic view of Zaandam, allthough there’s a lot more to know, but I’ll just save that for next time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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La vie at Lac du Chalain, France

Initially the plan was to go see something outside of Europe, however, when the chance came up we decided to go see the Jura, a beautiful green part of France, happily situated near Switzerland and Italy. We set up camp at Lac du Chalain, a perfect blue lagoon of fresh water.

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We took a stroll around the campsite, and it was then and there we decided to make a trip around the lake later that week, a good 20 km.

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At the lake there are two campsites, and two villages nearby. No more, no less. So when you’re not a hiker or a biker, you probably should stay clear of the site. There’s not much to do besides visiting a tiny cave and go grocery shopping. I always enjoy grocery shopping in France, because the malls are so much bigger then the ones in Holland.

This time we were in luck! In the village Marigny there was a big party going on. It was an annual fest and every villager (a small village of 125 people) was there. With drinking games and chasing goats I could see it was something big for them, and of course we joined in!

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Before taking our first hike we took a nice French meal, consisting of onions, egg and tomatoes, finished with some French bread and some local wine. Next stop: Le Cascades du Herrison. It all felt kinda Herisson Ford, with an E. Climbing over waterfalls en big (enormous) rocks, walking steep hills and seeing the Jura in all the green it is, I found it all amazing. At the end of the day, and a stiff 15 km walk later, I was totally tired but really satisfied!

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The walk around the lake, well that was something else. Why take the already existing roads when you can go off road? Climbing and holing on to branches. Sometimes even tumbling down! One really has to watch out while taking this hike! But it’s worth while (maybe not so much the beach for nudists, but you can just walk by). Now and again you will see a boat, overgrown with plants, some local animals and if you look in the emerald green water you can see fish, minding their own business.

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If you ever go to France, go see the mountains and the lakes. Go see the waterfalls and the forests. If you are more a city kinda type, I dare you to find the Mona Lisa in Paris, and if you find it, will you be so kind to send me a picture?

How extreme can you go?

With total amazement I’ve been watching episodes of extreme couponing, just like every other Dutchie I’m a huge fan of getting stuff for free. I wouldn’t know what to do with a thousand toothbrushes, but hey, if they would be free I would certainly find something.

Too bad that something like that doesn’t exist in Holland, we have all kinds of rules that will prevent you from getting too much stuff for free. Every now and again there will be a free trial. I have to buy the article, save my receipt and send it in. Eventually you will get your money back. But as you can see this takes quite an effort.

Nothing like the American folks, they have websites and just have to print the coupons. They make a job out of it. I’ve seen people getting stuff worth over $2000, and walking out the store just having payed $20. Amazing!

So I wanted to do my own Dutch version of extreme couponing, so for the last month I’ve been checking out websites and keeping a log of my activity. Now that the month is over I am sad to inform you that my total does’nt come anywhere near $2000. I’ve got approximately $50 worth of free stuff. Among my list there is a sausage (I’m a veggie), toilet paper (why do they give those away, everybody needs toiletpaper and is willing to buy it), air freshener,  and some soda.

So for people who are known for being cheap we Dutchies actually get next to nothing for free.

So here’s a Short video about Holland

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Waltzing Matilda in Australia!

You might wonder why the funny title, well this is what I’ve learned about the song while staying in Australia. If you would translate it in German for instance it would say something like “dancing with Matilda”, but that is not what this song really refers to, the actual Ozzy meaning is this: It is Australian slang for traveling by foot with one’s goods  in a “Matilda” (bag) slung over one’s back. And that is just what we did! We had our bags slung over our back and took off to see The Great Land Of Ozz!

Fireworks

Fireworks

I had great expectations about the Australian New Years, we all have seen the fireworks! And the fireworks were amazing, the smoke turned everything in a surreal landscape. It was nothing like I’m used to though, in Holland we meet up at someones place, party until 12, make our wishes, do some kisses, and then we move to a bigger party (if wanted). In Australia however, Lees verder

Meet me in Paris

Paris was a Party, with a capital P! Although seeing the Mona Lisa turned out to be impossible,285180_2092492585054_1247056_n going to the graveyard where many, many famous people throughout history lay was amazing! Père Lachais is al little village on it’s own, where one can easily get lost. When entering Père Lachais you see streets… I am telling you! STREETS! Jan and I took a couple of hours and didn’t even get the chance to walk from one side to the other. We did get to see the grave of Jim Morrison, tucked away between other graves it wasn’t that impressive, I’ll say, my grandfather has a better one! The tree by it’s side.. well that’s another story! It tells about the songs an the life of Jim and it’s completely carved, amazing!

The tree that tells Jim Morrison's tale

The tree that tells Jim Morrison’s tale

So it’s no secret our next stop was a whiskey bar in the music area (a must go!). It was an sizzling night, we had just seen the Eiffel tower, and although it had just stopped raining, the overall feel was relaxed. One could literally smell Paris. Strolling through the streets you could see musicians everywhere. Someone actually dragged a piano down the street and played awesome music for those who wanted to hear. When we entered the bar there was live music, it all felt so moulin rouge.

I’m telling you, if you’re ever in the mood for a big adventure, spend a weekend in Paris!

Must do:

– See Paris by boat, no really, the subs will only show you concrete, while on the water you get to see it all! All the best places are situated near the water. And you can hop on and off!

– Stay near a station, Paris has a couple of them, and the best hotels are near! Maybe you know Gare du Nord? It’s a band, and now you know why!

– Ever watched Amelie (le fabulous destin d’ amlie poulin), then you should really go have a coffee where she works in the movie. You can go there! And it’s fun! Rue Saint Vincent, Montmartre.

– While you’re there, go visit Place des Abbesses, where you can find the Murs des je t’aime, the wall of I love you’s, written down in 311 languages.

Want to know more? Let me know!