Jan '19 21
category: Small travels

Amsterdam, Gouda and the CX championship in Belgium

 

I, ladies and gentlemen, have a very good connection for the weekend.

 

I get up in the morning around 7, twenty minutes later I go to work. I'm in the evening, I do not have to go in the morning. It's snowing, so I'm going off the shoe because I'm going to kill myself on the bike, and I'm just going to get nervous when I'm listening to people. In the office, I report 7:53 wondering why there early and calculating how much life I am losing through these gratis just a moment. Then a festival of eating, drinking coffee and restarting things, about 17 to hunt for a bus to Panda, in which I think, why I left the hour too late and why I spent 4 zlotys on a ticket, since I would probably pay 10 zlotys for Uber. 17.20 we get from almost 60kg of luggage to a taxi, which takes us to the airport. 19:50 we fly to Amsterdam, there are 2 days (or 3 nights) of fun and on Monday at 7:05 we get on the plane to land at 9:05, and at 10:00 we will check in again at work. I mean, Panda is coming back, because I'm going to stay in the Netherlands for another 3 days, which I will sit in the World Trade Center during working hours watching my life go out the window, and in the evenings I will try to maintain my dignity.

 

 


If you're looking for a guide on "How to spend a weekend in Amsterdam", you've come across very badly ... as usual

 

Because tourists, unfortunately, like from a goat's trumpet, although I never understood this comparison. The trumpet would be quite good. This is an entry about a bit of alternative spending time. Amsterdam was to help return to the gray reality after the December visits in the US and Morocco.

 

When people in the Amsterdam office ask if you saw a bit of the city over the weekend, and you answer that not very because on Saturday you left, and on Sunday you went to Belgium to see how drunken and muddy football fans shout to tired and muddy riders know that ... You are not an ordinary tourist. But they do not know. They probably have not seen the movie: "Joe's ok"Which is the best film in the history of short cycling films;) and"Shhhh, be quiet ginger", Which shows what's important in life.

 

At the airport in Schiphol we are checking in at 22:00. You can get to the center by taxi for 30-60euro depending on luck and your own need for luxury, because you can choose cheap Uber or taxi Tesla model S. We choose the train, because it's the easiest option. The ticket for a ~ 15 minute journey from the airport to the main station in Amsterdam (Amsterdam Centraal) is 4.50E if we buy online and 5.50E if in a ticket machine (because the paper costs). Ticket machines are simple to use, trains run every now and then (even if Google Maps states otherwise), and finding the platform is easy, because just follow the arrows. Even if we are handicapped, the locals will be happy to help us, because the people of the Netherlands are very nice, and virtually everyone speaks English.

 

 

Do you know how a man feels for the first time in years on the ice rink on Stegny? Just like us, after leaving the station in Amsterdam, only people are on bikes instead of skaters. Even though it is an hour until midnight. This is a great view: there are practically no cars, people on bicycles so many, what people on streetcar number 31 on Monday at 8:47 near Wołoska.

 

After a few minutes of walking, we reach the hotel:

 

 Inntel Hotels Amsterdam Center

 

If I say that Inntel Hotel it's the most overpriced hotel in the history of my life, I do not think I will overdo it. It may have 4 stars, but it does not differ from the usual motels we visited in the States - the location probably does its job. Weekend stay (from Friday evening to Monday morning) is from PLN 2300 in the cheapest option up to PLN 1,100 if it is to be with breakfast, payment on the spot and any possibility of resignation. It is cheaper during the week - the next two nights cost between 700 and 1000 PLN. We quickly realize that the center of Amsterdam is not cheap.

 

  • 70m ^ 2 apartments in the center is almost 2000 euros per month.
  • Pizza from 7 to 15 euros in an average pub
  • A good hamburger is about 15 euros
  • Kebab 6-10 euro.
  • Underground public parking in the center - 45 euros / day.

 

 

Warsaw, however, is great in economic terms. Amsterdam is a priced California for me, though numbeo.com claims that to have a similar quality of life in Amsterdam as in San Francisco, you would only have to earn $ 5,500 instead of $ 7,800 there. On the other hand, PLN 9,500 is enough in Warsaw to live like in Amsterdam for PLN 20,000. The only question is whether it is better to be poor there than to be rich here:

 

Consumer Prices in Amsterdam are 87.88% higher than in warsaw
Consumer Prices Including Rent in Amsterdam are 109.72% higher than in warsaw
Rent Prices in Amsterdam are 159.01% higher than in warsaw
Restaurant Prices in Amsterdam are 112.06% higher than in warsaw
Groceries Prices in Amsterdam are 94.13% higher than in warsaw
Local Purchasing Power in Amsterdam is 31.03% higher than in warsaw

 

 


Only cold and raining, cold and raining for this place in the middle of Europe

 

Statistically in January, it falls in Amsterdam for 12 days (in Warsaw for 8). It's still better than November in which it rains every other day. There are also a few degrees more than in our country. However, he does not make a significant difference to anyone: if you get wet one way or another - why bother. Observing through the hotel window of the Dutch, we are not able to determine what the weather is like. Regardless of whether it is pouring or blowing, it is perfect - they ride bicycles exactly the same way. Because, as my boss, who has lived in Amsterdam for a year:

 

 


"Dutch just do not give a shit"

 

And that's the truth. The Dutch have a full spout on whether it is wet or not. They also have a total spout for a hundred thousand other things. You can see it well through their large windows without curtains. When choosing a city, you can serve the "Big Brother" live by sitting in front of any window. Regardless of whether they walk in pajamas around the apartment, or eat scrambled eggs and waffles in front of the TV - all this can be seen from the street. I would say that this is the last time I saw such a thing on Long Beach, but it seems that for such a comparison, you could earn a japa here. I mean, it would be possible if it did not flutter.

 

 

 

On page dutchreview there are some nice texts (unfortunately in lengłydżu):

"Why the Dutch do not say sorry", „5 questions that the Dutch will give you"," Why do they drive without helmets "and so on.

 

The Dutch do not seem to care about conventions and are brutally straightforward. Why say "sorry" since nobody really is "sorry" anyway. The question "where are you from, why you came here, what are you doing here and when you are leaving" is the order of the day. Regardless of whether you are in the store or just someone has accosted you in the pub, and that's also not difficult. Unfortunately, almost all of the people we meet once again raise a very simple question: "why do we live where we live, not here?".

 

 


And on Saturday it was raining

on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday too
... and then the weather was going to get worse

 

 

Surprise lack. In the morning it's dark, cold, it's raining and I feel at home at all. We were going to go on a trip to Rotterdam on the day with the sandals we brought with us ... but no. It will not succeed.

We hit the city. Amsterdam is a city like San Francisco - you do not have to set a walking route - wherever you go within the center, it will be fine. Tenement houses, canals, boats, museums, shops, and all this collapsed with bicycles instead of cars.

 

 

The number of bicycles in the city is estimated at 881,000, each year, somewhere between 8,000 and 15,000 are being picked up from the municipal canals (and a further 25,000 are landing in them). Every day, the inhabitants of Amsterdam overcome 2 million kilometers during their 613 000 rides. It's hard to be surprised, supposedly every day 58% of residents (over 12 years old) travel by bicycle.

 

 

After the last visit in the States, Panda is dependent on butter, potatoes and pancakes. So we start with apparently the best pancakes in the city (potatoes will catch up with fries): Pancakes Amsterdam - prices start around 10E for one. The choice is Dutch and American, which generally differ only in thickness, because they both taste like pancakes. They are good, but definitely different than the original, American - less butter and paradoxically - mostly sweeter. It's by pouring them with maple syrup. It's not bad, but it's a racem.

 

 

For comfort we direct our steps towards the classics: Rapha Amsterdam (a shop with expensive bicycle clothes). Rapha in Amsterdam is the best Rapha we've ever visited, and we've seen them a bit. The reason is simple: we just go to the "SALE" collection - these are my favorite models. In the shop, from 30% to 60% is almost everything, and if that was not enough - almost all sizes are available. I did probably the biggest shopping of clothes in my life (although mainly civil, because when it comes to cycling - the style of shirts does not convince us). We leave the store for fear of final bankruptcy.

 

 


Why wood for the forest?

and I do not mean Panda in Amsterdam

 

Two streets further we get (quite coincidentally, he he he) at Brompton Junction, where unfortunately there are also promotions. There are also Bromptony rentals at prices such as 9E for 8 hours or a week for 50E. It comes to us that bringing bikes with you to the city, where there is a rental at every intersection is a bit out of sight. Especially if you can rent the same as you have ....

 

 

We quickly realize that we have become the people who "jumped for shopping on a weekend in Amsterdam". This thought scares us, so regardless of the weather, we decide to leave the city and come back to it when the stores close.

 

 


It may rain, but at least the wind blows.

 

Riding a bicycle around the Netherlands is a wet dream for every cyclist / cyclist / tourist. A network of good and smart paths (in principle roads) of cycling overwhelms. The drivers' awareness is also impressive, although as the bike is treated here as a normal, full-fledged participant of the movement, there is no reason to count on a reduced fare. Practically every route marked with Strava or Google Maps (in the bicycle version) is a special way for bicycles. I do not know if I would like to do group cycling training on it, but that's not why they are here.

 

 

Do you know how much energy Mariusz Pudzianowski needs to move the tire away from the tractor? I do not know, but I bet that it's half of what we put in to move 15km / h. If the rain does not bother you much when you're riding in a cape, the wind is quite a significant obstacle, especially considering the position on the bunker. The weather of the day is very simple. We put on a cape - it starts to blow, we take off - it starts pouring. We do not get anywhere far away, just to Gouda, 65 km away - yes, the one from cheeses. It's enough to start getting dark. Well, who sets off late - he ends early:

 

 

Unfortunately, it turns out that Amsterdam is not so nice. Maybe it's a question of the region, maybe our luck, but the whole road to Gouda is perfect. It's not just about quality and the network of roads. Nice homes are not only Amsterdam, but in other places. Such really nice. We feel a bit like in the neighborhood of Naples in Long Beach (again), in which expensive houses with exposed windows are located on the canals - even if it is a block of flats (more Wilanów than Prague).

 






 

The crowning is Goudain which we could stop instead of Amsterdam. It looks like a classic, decent, Bavarian city, with the advantage that instead of Germans there are Dutch. I think Gouda is a place where we could even live, commuting to work in Amsterdam. Looking at what a double-decker bicycle park looks like in front of Gouda Centralna station, many people come up with this idea.

 

 

To Amsterdam, we return by train for 13E from the person.

 

 


Sunday dilemmas.

 

On Sunday surprise - it's raining.

There are two options - to walk around the city or to escape somewhere. Only where it rains, after all, we will not walk around museums. I am glad you are asking because the question has been stressing me throughout the previous week. Our stay covers just the date of the national championships in cross-country cycling. Polish and worldwide we saw last year, it's time to check how it looks locally, but abroad.

I remain torn between Belgium and the Netherlands, because it is close to each other.

Both have very strong arguments for themselves, because the Dutch takes place in HUJBERGEN (written: Huijbergen), and Belgian in Cut Beke (written: Kruibeke). We approach the subject professionally and write out the advantages of both solutions:

 


Huijbergen

funny name

free (or cheaper by 18E / person)

closer

easier to reach

the entry would only be about the Netherlands

we will see the elite of men and women (on the same day)

easier organization (smaller party)

better weather

sand instead of mud on the ankle

Mathieu van der Poel

A player from the CCC Liv group

Kruibeke

also a funny name

Belgian fries

belgian wafers

Belgian fries

belgian wafers

Belgian fries

belgian wafers

Belgian fries

belgian wafers

Belgian fries

belgian wafers


 

From the above analysis it is clear that we chose Belgium.

There are usually guarded bicycle parking lots at this type of events, so we thought it might be a train + access from the station. Unluckily, I happened to pick up Pendolino, which for "there and back" from Amsterdam to Antwerp (1: 15h one way) in the second class costs 146E per person.

 

 

Well, there are probably cheaper trains, but for the sake of my psyche I abandoned the topic and took a car from the Alamo rental (by economycarrentals). For almost the new Peugeot 2008 received from the central station, we pay 30 euros per night + less than 20E for full insurance.

 

Remember how I said that the parking in the center is about 45E per day? That's more than just renting a car per night. A smart person will notice that it is better to rent a car every day and give it to the car park (refundable 24 hours a day) rather than paying for parking. Besides, driving a car in this city is pointless.

 

 


We mud, beer and bicycles

 

Do you know how much I know about Belgian cross-country cycling? Here's all I know: Wout van Aert, Toon Aerts, Koksijde, black and yellow-red shirts. I know - ignorance. The problem is that I know more or less the same about professional Polish cross-country cycling. It is statistically infinitely more than the average Pole.

But that does not matter. Just like curling does not need to be understood, to have fun watching screaming players, so you do not even have to look at cyclists in order to have fun.

We arrive at the place. It's hard to hit the parking lot because the signs start many kilometers earlier. The parking lot shows us a free place and directs us to the row of free buses waiting for us, which bring the fans almost to the starting point. It is exactly the same as usual.

 

 

The average age of fans is about 50 years. We are a bit disappointed, because the number of funny and unusual disguises is negligible ... or basically close to zero. The World Championship is another league - I do not know, maybe it's the weather's fault? It's dominated by wellies and waterproof, non-colored tracksuits.

 

If I did not know where I was, I would think it was a nationwide rally of anglers.

 

Most of the major cross-country events are divided into several sectors:

 

Food. Booths with food and beer are at least as important as the players themselves. French fries, sausage roll, hotdog and hamburger dominate. When it comes to drinking, there is practically no choice - just a golden drink. The festival system applies. Tickets are bought at the ticket office for 2.5E / one and in the boxes are exchanged for the consumption. Usually in the configuration: beer - one ticket, food - two tickets.

 

 

halls. Such a techno-party and Oktoberfest intersection. People jump, sing, wave and try to bring beer to friends. It usually comes down to a walk with six ... carton (?) Of mugs carried overhead, half of which will go to people, and half will go to people along the way.

 

 

VIP area. The exact opposite of the halls described a moment ago. Also a hall, but instead of crowds of harriers, they are eleganciaki with brilliantine in their hair, and instead of a dance floor moving in the rhythm of umc-umc, elegantly set tables. The whole fits there, like a man in a striped shirt instead of a grille in a mathematical analysis class.

 

Muddy hills. Dumpers riders are happy - I can not help it. However, they are more pleased with the tipping of fans, who, unlike cyclists, are not always prepared for them. Maybe it is extremely slippery mud, maybe beer, or maybe just bad shoes or lack of technique, but slipping fans trying to avoid sideways crowd or seeking their ideal place are regular. You know a lot about the upcoming tipping. The man freezes, knows that every step will result in an effective skid. There are two possibilities: either go to the small or on the buttocks - there is no other option. The whole crowd then turns to the poor wretch, the phones record, everyone is waiting. Meshes enclosing the route do not mark the course at all, they are there like nets on the ski slopes - they catch supporters.

 

 

Route. The route is a route - it is known. The more upsides, muds, obstacles, descents, puddles, the better. Nothing relaxes like watching your effort with beer / chips in your hand. In Kruibeke, the mud was different than Valkenburg. It did not suck, it worked like ice. I will not understand crossbows who never stood in the Dutch / Belgian mud.

 

Square decoration. I do not have anything to say about him ;-)

 

Let me use pictures instead of words:

 

 

On that day, 35,000 Belgian cycling supporters were to leave. By the weather, only 15,000 came.

 

For comparison, last year World CX Championship in Valkenburg we stood in a crowd of 25,736 people. The best placed races, but in Belgium, over 60,000 can come.

 

 

When the Toon Aerts goes through the finish line and unexpectedly becomes the winner of the national championship, the crowd goes to the exit from the park. There are two more food coupons in my pocket - I can not get rid of them. The wave heading for Crocsy in Lidl is nothing near the wave that brings us to the bus. The parking lot reminds me once again why I liked it so much in the States. The crowd besieges every oncoming bus from every side - after a few minutes they have no place to turn back on the square. Certainly, it would be easier if every bus would stand in the same place and open only the front door. Luckily for us, the crowd is pushing us into the third one that has come up. We're back in the parking lot, and then to Amsterdam.

 

 

As usual after cross-country - I'm not sure if I liked it. I treat it more as a compulsory but one-off experience. How it happens that it lands on it again - I do not know. One thing is certain, a race is better seen in which there is someone to cheer on. Even if you are cheering on a man who is fighting not to get a shot ... because what's the difference?

 

 


Normally at this time - I am driving around the city
Normally at this time - I am driving in a boat

 

Amsterdam, like most other cities, is best visited by me at night. The strict center lives here until late at night or even early morning hours. It's hard to be surprised - it is estimated that some 30% of tourists come here mainly to visit a coffeeshop. This is an interesting topic, because technically marijuana is not legal here - it is not simply forbidden, and to put it precisely - the practice is not prosecuted. It is such a gray zone, because the maximum transaction of grass can only concern 5 grams (also in the B2B formula;)), and the "coffee shop" can store a maximum of 0.5 kg. No one knows exactly how it works and where it comes from, except that there are many couriers around the city. Asking too many questions can lead to a situation where the owner of the Checkpoint coffeeshop met when it turned out that he was holding 200kg of marijuana - a punishment? 10 million euros.

 

There is also a red light district, which looks like the rest of the center, but almost naked ladies are smiling at the sites, and the red neon lights burn their eyes. If someone likes crowds, bands of more or less drunk guys laughing silly at "exhibitions" and shops where everything is, to put it mildly, phallic - I highly recommend it. Everyone else can just go (because it is worth it) and forget. The district, although initially appears to be a red pimple in the center of the forehead, has a major advantage. He takes all the specific clientele out of the city (eg British from the Krakow market in summer, weekend evenings), and thus - compatriots do not circulate around other, charming corners.

 

And where is circling? It's one of those cities like San Francisco, where you can easily go for a spontaneous walk and every place will be nice. I feel a bit like in Disneyland.

1515 bars and cafes, 165 canals with a length of 100km, 11,000,000 wooden piles supporting Amsterdam buildings, 1218 bridges and bridges, 2,500 residential boats / barges, 20,000,000 tourists a year.

 

The best attraction beyond turning into random streets?

Boat trip through the canals. The cost of a 2 hour trip combined with barbecue (chickens, stejki, burgers) we pay about 650 euros (divided into 10 people - I did not even know that I know so much). The bonus is the fact that in December and January the Amsterdam Light Festival takes place, thanks to which both bridges and buildings illuminated with the works of artists from around the world. It's not bad - I definitely recommend it, even if you have seen it all from the level of the pavement.

 

A weekend in the Netherlands is one of those unpleasant experiences that you come home and feel that you live in Marrakech Europe.

 

 

Congratulations, if you have come all the way here (or you just scrolled through the photos and decided to read the last paragraph) and see you in the next entry - where and when? I do not know, but if you were going to a nice place and looking for company, write :-)

 

About the Author:
Every day I work in IT: I restart servers, I click on things and I ask if it has already been repaired. I spend my free time with friends on cycling. We visit the best parties, overcome the most spectacular routes, we ride in the toughest races. Blog allows me to develop my passion and describe the best of adventures, so that you do not have to repeat our mistakes. I am trying to stick to the unpopular rule that quality counts not quantity.


X