1966 Alfa Romeo Giulia – Netherlands (Part 8)

The Netherlands.  Canals. Windmills.  Wood shoes.  Cheese.  Coffee shops.  If we were on an African safari, they would call this the “The big 5”

Seriously though, we love the Netherlands.  Why?  People are always the primary reason for anything we are attracted to.  If the people are not nice, nothing can really make up for it.  The Dutch are great! Smart, practical, wry sense of humour. I have been many times for work and pleasure.  Amazingly, this was Aey’s first visit. Aey and I have dear friends there with kids the same age as Jake, we met them in Bangkok.

Before we start the trip to Amsterdam, if you want to see the other locations that our family and the Alfa Romeo made it to. Here they are:

1966 Alfa Romeo – Road Trip
1966 Alfa Romeo – Vesuvius and Pomepii
1966 Alfa Romeo – Perugia
1966 Alfa Romeo – Pisa & Manarola
1966 Alfa Romeo – Varese, Italy
1966 Alfa Romeo – Lausanne, Switzerland
1966 Alfa Romeo – Darmstdat, Germany

Here is a map to remind you where Amsterdam is located.

Map of our Netherlands destination.

Map of our Netherlands destination.

Let’s go and hunt down ‘The big 5’. Enjoy the photos. The photos will be in the following sections:

  • The Drive
  • Amsterdam
  • Friends
  • Kinderdijk (windmills)
  • Volendam (fishing village)
  • Departure
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The Drive

Pretty uneventful.  That is a good thing.

Quick break just across the border of the Netherlands.

Quick break just across the border of the Netherlands.

These guys looked like they were fun to party with.

These guys looked like they were fun to party with.

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Amsterdam

Our first day was us just driving downtown without knowing a thing.  Just follow the signs.  The weather was horrific, as it was really raining hard and it was quite cool at 10C (50F).  We did not have clothes for this.  About noon the rain slowed down and then stopped.   We found a coffee shop with great food and dried off there.

It was raining very heavy for our excursion into Amsterdam. Cold too.

It was raining very heavy for our excursion into Amsterdam. Cold too.

Amsterdam is awesome. Parking meters only take credit cards. Good luck.

Amsterdam is awesome. Parking meters only take credit cards. Good luck.

Fits right in.

Fits right in.

Coffee shop! Good food too.

Coffee shop! Good food too.

Mom gets a photo while we cross a bridge to pick her up.

Mom gets a photo while we cross a bridge to pick her up.

Typical canal scene.

Typical canal scene.

I put a GoPro on the inside window and drove around for 15 minutes. I doubt you will want to watch 15 minutes of driving around canals, but if you do, here it is!

Friends

We knew Jose and Mieke from when they lived in Bangkok.  Mieke and Aey were pregnant at the same time.  They moved to the Netherlands about 2 years ago and settled in.  Bought a house in a great neighbourhood, about 100 meters to the school.  Really idyllic.  We miss them.

Jose is a motor-head as well. I think us showing up in an old car was a blessing and a curse!  He got bit by the bug.

Family shot. So much fun.

Family shot. So much fun.

Buds. Blowing big bubbles with a rope and a washer.

Buds. Blowing big bubbles with a rope and a washer.

Best buds.

Best buds.

Kinderdijk

Kinderdijk is the epicentre of windmill watchers.  It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  This means you can’t snuggle your car up next to them for a nice photo!

As you can see in the photos, it is spectacular.  The sun was very bright, so you will see us squinting to a point our eyes are tearing up!

Classic Kinderdijk #1.

Classic Kinderdijk #1.

Classic Kinderdijk #2.

Classic Kinderdijk #2.

Jake making a memory.

Jake making a memory.

Tranquil. No crowds. 'Quick dad, the sun is in my eyes'.

Tranquil. No crowds. ‘Quick dad, the sun is in my eyes’.

Another sun in the eyes photo!

Another sun in the eyes photo!

Wow, really a beautiful place.

Wow, really a beautiful place.

Happy family. Luckiest man alive.

Happy family. Luckiest man alive.

Wonderful for Jake to see the size and scale of a windmill.

Wonderful for Jake to see the size and scale of a windmill.

Jake took a great picture. Thanks Jake.

Jake took a great picture. Thanks, Jake.

Windmill selfie.

Windmill selfie.

Wood shoes. Tick.

Wood shoes. Tick.

You can see, we cannot get our car close to the UNESCO site.

You can see, we cannot get our Alfa Romeo close to the UNESCO site.

Volendam

Volendam is a lovely town just north of Amsterdam.  It is a seaside fishing village that has a touristy walking street along the water.  Well worth a visit.  I also took a little video, but I do not get to drive around the nice parts of town, as it is all pedestrianised.

Approaching the draw bridge in Volendam.

Approaching the draw bridge in Volendam.

Draw bridge in Volendam.

Draw bridge in Volendam.

Volendam canal, nice reflections in the water, and an old Alfa Romeo.

Volendam canal, nice reflections in the water, and an old Alfa Romeo.

Our only photo of the seaside of Volendam. Wish we took more.

Our only photo of the seaside of Volendam. Wish we took more.

Classic windmill in Volendam. I think we are on a bicycle path! Yikes!

Classic windmill in Volendam. I think we are on a bicycle path! Yikes!

If you want to see a bit of a boring drive around Volendam, we have published video on YouTube.

Departure

Jake and I said goodbye to the car.  I do hope he gets to enjoy classic cars as much as I do.

Jake trying the Alfa on for size.

Jake trying the Alfa on for size.

Because this is our last stop on this tour, the car is destined for a boat going to Baltimore.  I called many different shippers and the prices ranged from 650 Euros to 3,000 euros.  My usual customs clearance guy, Dan Ozdinec (dano@awis.us) of All Ways International Shipping (Baltimore) recommended Hischam. That was a great tip.  Hischam Mekhchane of B&B Expeditie (hischam@bbexp.nl) is the go-to-guy for shipping cars. He filled me with confidence that he knew what he was doing.   I chose the “ROLO” option which translates to ‘roll-on, roll-off’.  Bought insurance.  Total price was 690 Euro for the ship (only).  Insurance, duties, and other fees are separate.  I pulled out the credit card and Hischam says not to worry, we will invoice you.

Hischam makes it amazingly easy.  We had a flight at 13:45 (1:45PM).  Working backwards 3 hours, and we need to be at the airport at 10:45.  Hischam’s office is 20-minute taxi ride to the airport. So we need to leave Hischam at about 10:00, for a decent safety margin. I asked Hischam if we get to his office at 9:00 can we be done by 10:00, and he says we only need 30 minutes.

Bada-bing-bada-boom (same as ‘Volia’). Hischam was correct, we spent less than 30 minutes. We spent the next 30 minutes talking about cars and the 123ignition distributor I used. Hischam is cool, you can have a good time talking with him for a few hours. By the way, Hischam loaded our luggage into his car and drove us to the taxi stand.  Nice.

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Hischam, our shipping guru, with cars going on ships to many locations.

Hischam, our shipping guru, with cars going on ships to many locations.

If you tried to do this out of Rotterdam, I think it would be a lot harder, as the airport is 1-hour drive and a 150 Euro taxi.

It is really that easy to ship a car.  Wake up at a reasonable time.  Drop by Hischam and have a great coffee.  Go to the airport.

Get out there.  Live your dreams. Life is short.  This is good advice for travel, work, starting a business, or just about anything.  ‘Just jump’.

Note:  I grew up in Maryland and when I was about 14, my parents sent me on a State run bicycle trip in Vermont.  Ken Woodall was the leader.  I can remember he made us all jump off a bridge into a river.  Quite a high one.  So high that I had bruises on my arms from the impact. I am far from a daredevil.  But, I can remember overcoming the fear of jumping from that bridge with his words ‘Just jump, don’t think’.  This was a life lesson that never left me.  I apply it to work, investments, personal relationships. Funny how little tiny things like that stick with you.

Here is our departing shot, at Schipol.  We had a perfect photo with ‘I am Amsterdam’ sign behind us, but this photo was more fun.  Hope you liked this trip as much as we do.

At Schiphol. Windy. Cool. Jake goofing.

At Schiphol. Windy. Cool. Jake goofing.

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