03.05.2009 - 04.05.2009
Well, it's been a busy week.
Our last day in Paris was spent trying to cram in everything we hadn't yet seen, including the Notre Dame and the Moulin Rouge. The Notre Dame is an incredible building - not like the other churches that we have seen so far. The gothic design is really very intricate and not something that you can do justice to with one photo, but here's my best attempt:
I was disappointed in the Moulin Rouge... I've watched the movie so many times that I was expecting something quite amazing, but it really is just another nightclub. The front of it was very small, and I think that it's comparative age is the only thing that distinguishes it from the dozens of other clubs along that street (the Paris equivalent of K Road). Still, it was worth a photo (just to say we'd been there!)
The next day we travelled to Dordrecht, in the Netherlands, where we were warmly received by family (my Dad's side). These are some pics that I took in 'Old Dordrecht' - posted here so Oma can see. :-)
After two days we left Dordrecht for Amsterdam, where we are still staying with family (again on my Dad's side). We have spent the last two days exploring the city and spending way too much money at the markets.
It's funny - I've noticed that you can tell a lot about a city by what they sell in their tourist shops. In Amsterdam, about half of the souvenirs for sale are 'Red Light District' or Cannabis themed - I have never been in a city that is so blatantly immoral. The streets are lined with sex shops and what they call 'Coffee Shops' (cafe's that are licensed to sell soft drugs). Here's a pic of one - they're almost all Rasta-themed:
We have enjoyed Amsterdam, though. The family have been very kind and welcoming, and it has been nice to be looked after instead of having to fend for ourselves all the time. The family that we are staying with have an adorable little two-year-old who will persist in talking to us, even though we can't understand him. He gives his Mum trouble when she talks to us, too - he tells her to stop talking 'silly talk'. ;-)
Yesterday we went to Madam Tussaud's wax museum. I hadn't been to one before, and I was really impressed with the resemblance of these figures to their real-life equivalents. I have included a few pics, but the lighting in the museum made them look much more real than they appear in the photos. The flash made them all shiny...
Tomorrow we move on again to visit more family in Deventer. I have been communicating with them using a Google translation tool, so it should be an interesting experience! But I have my trusty Lonely Planet phrasebook in hand, and there's enough goodwill on both sides that I'm sure that, if we cannot communicate, a few hours of wild gesticulating will suffice.