Week 30

Day 204 – Friday 28th September 2018

Overcast start to the day and it was cold on Zippy as we headed into Amsterdam. Good job we are starting the journey down to sunny Portugal next week 🙂

To Micropia.

a Tardigrade

Micropia is part of Amsterdam’s zoo and is a science exhibition given over to the things we don’t normally see, microorganisms. They claim the founding father of microbiology was Antoni van Leeuwenhoek a Dutchman who had a microscope and a curious mind.

The exhibition uses a lot of interactive microscopes which are hooked up to video screens in a darkened room.

It’s fascinating stuff how microbes, bacteria and fungi work away to keep us alive and sometimes work away to kill us but there a few too many latin words and it’s too fact heavy a subject for a my blog. This is a diary not a degree course. A few highlights…

They reckon a remote control is as dirty as a toilet door handle

A day later

After three days. The yellow fungus indicates the user must have scratched his balls. I guess the same goes for keyboards

Of course microbes play an important role in breaking down food in any digestive system so they had a poo display

Yes that is a complete pickled human digestive system on the right.

They had a lot of rotten food on display, some of which you could smell if you were that way inclined. I prefered to watch fungi destroy this hamburger via a TV screen.

Now, wondering if I should carry on eating Roquefort, we hit the gift shop.

Some gift shop; they didn’t have a single fridge magnet. I complained of course.

To the Albert Cuyp market

They sell everything here from cannabis to underpants

A stroopwafel is a criminally addictive caramel biscuit, they make giant ones here

Fancy finding a chip stall in a Dutch market

Wow, delicious chips with a fabulous piccallil 5/5

Day 205 – Saturday 29th September 2018

To the Brouwerij ‘t IJ brewery for a tour

The bar/brewery is the building to the right of the windmill

There are only 3 public tours in English a week. One on a Friday, a Saturday & a Sunday and then there are only 20 places per tour. You have to get there before the place opens at 2pm to secure a place.

By the time the tour started the place was rammed.

We were given a most entertaining talk about the history bier brewing in Amsterdam by the barman/guide Daniel who’s English wasn’t perfect but who made up for that with his enthusiasm for Amsterdam, love of bier and his liberal swearing.

It’s a brewery, nothing to photograph other than stainless steel tanks and pipes

Daniel back to serving beer

The bier was very drinkable.

This is Julie’s, mine was gone before she could get her camera out 🙂


Day 206 – Sunday 30th September 2018

A sunny morning and as it’s our last day in Amsterdam we thought we’d go for a walk in the Western Canal area.

On our way there we came across a chippy whose fries were voted No.1 in Holland.

Mannekenpis are they Belgian?

Lovely and a generous portion but no Picallil 4/5

These chips are popular because the are not French fries or Belgian fries they are British style chips, fat, crispy on the outside and fluffy in the middle. No wonder there is a permanent queue.

I bought a grow your own tulip in a ring pull can for Julie’s mum.

The Western Canal area is still busy but it’s not as touristy as the Old Town.

This bridge is on a lot of postcards and Julie has been looking for it all week to get a snap of it. Bad luck someone’s parked a lorry on it 😀


We came across someone from the Team Corbyn.

I think ducks are going to become the new Fridge Magnets

As it’s our last day in Amsterdam I wanted to buy some cannabis. As neither of us smoke I though a brownie would be the best bet but I was suspicious of all the tubes of Space Cake on sale in the tourist shops. So I went to a proper Head shop. They only sold magic truffles (mushrooms are banned in the Netherlands) but they kindly directed me to the Green Place where I was told they don’t charge tourist prices.

Some serious smoking going on in there

Day 207 – Monday 1st October 2018

Rainy morning in Amsterdam, so a good day to be travelling.

Nowt to stop the wind round here so it was pretty blowy too.

It took us about 4 hours to get to the Snail farm just outside Comines which is a pretty little French town right on the border with Belgium.

The snail season is over!

Snail eggs

The farm has all next year’s snails as eggs in a cold room and they will be hatching in January and May. They only go out into the field in June, July & August when it’s too hot for them in polytunnels.

I have to say looking at the big new farmhouse there seems to be some brass in the snail business.

Back at the van and at a loose end I remembered Zippy was nearly empty. Google Maps said there was a gas station about 5 miles away back in Belgium.

Brilliant Google!

Eventually I found an open station but I must have made it there on fumes.

It being super rural round here we let Cfor out for an explore

The little swine has worked out how to get out of his harness

and he’s getting super adventurous

Day 208 – Tuesday 2nd October 2018

Awful day. Had a gruelling 7½ to just north of Renne

Pont de Normandie in the pissing rain

Day 209 – Wednesday 3rd October 2018

Nice dry weather this morning. Set out in the direction of Bordeaux. Wasn’t sure how far we’d get after yesterday’s experience but weather stayed good and the roads were okay so made it all the way to Vignobles Pestoury in Yvrac just outside Bordeaux.

A classic French driveway

We’ve covered a lot of miles since Amsterdam on Monday morning so if the weather stays good I think we will stay here a couple of days here.

Cfor likes it here too!

Day 210 – Thursday 4th October 2018

A beautiful day in Yvrac. We motored Bordeaux on Zippy.

Pont de Pierre, Bordeaux

It really was a lovely day for October

Bordeaux’s Palace de la Bourse and its reflection in the Miroir d’eau

The miroir d’eau for the kids

Later in the evening, back at the site, we had a wine tasting. The owners have 38 hectors of grapes and they make 200,000 bottles of wine a year. Some years though they lose a lot due to wet weather or hail stones.

Isabelle told us quite firmly that wine is pleasure!

They don’t hand pick grapes any longer, they one of these.



Vignobles Pestoury has been a cracking stop. Tomorrow it’s on to the coast and a stroll down to Spain.

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