Red lights, weed and the beautiful Dutch!

For many visitors to the Netherlands the first stop on the agenda is Amsterdam, well known for red light hookers, weed and a relaxed way of living.  Over the years I have managed a few trips to the great orange land and this time around I stopped back in Amsterdam as well as enjoying  side trips to Alkmaar and Apeldoorn.

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Now, I suspect you have not heard of Apeldoorn or even Alkmaar for that matter right?  One thing you need to do is visit Alkmaar, the Dutch home of cheese!  Now aside from the cheese there is one other memorable highlight.  The Beatles museum that stands just by the river.

Once you step inside this museum dedicated to Liverpool’s finest it is apparent there is a good deal of rich history on show.  There is far too much to go into in just one blog though.  Items that standout include the original contracts signed by the band along with clothing worn by band members throughout the 60’s.  On top of that you can see George Harrison’s first ever guitar, ironically, made in Alkmaar!

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So how did the owner of this museum get hold of so many treasured items?  In the early 90’s he assisted the three remaining band members in court proceedings against licensing issues and due to his impeccable knowledge. Instead of being paid with money he was offered priceless and treasured items from the private collections of all band members!

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On my second last night I took the drive with some friends to Apeldoorn where I was given the pleasure of watching a fantastic performance from a youth production company called “Up With People” and wow, what a smashing performance! They carried on for nigh on three hours.  Just imagine “Glee” but better!

Running since the mid 60’s, “Up With People” gives young performers the opportunity to hit the road and visit cities all over the world as they perform to tens of thousands of fans for the best part of a year.

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Amsterdam, as always was an astute pleasure.  I did however have a gum infection for the trip which was extremely painful and proof that I should always get dental work done when I need it rather than holding off only to end up spending the best part of three weeks in extreme pain.

Still, there is always plenty to see in the city off dope smokers.  The red light district is a distinct highlight as you watch the poor girls in windows dancing away as they do their best to encourage men, and maybe a few woman to venture inside for some rather expensive fun.

In 2010 I visited the house of Ann Frank, a sobering experience to say the least.  I considered going back on this trip though the line ups meant at least two hours in wait just to get in the door.

The beauty of travelling in this country is that you can enjoy so much in modern comfort.  Trains are fast, efficient and very cheap.  The people are top notch and there is rich history and culture to explore around every corner no matter which city you choose to explore.

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