"Racist!" she screams " you're a racist!"



I had just woken up into the hazey night at Antwerp, my eyes were
glazed and my mind was still very much vacant from the effects of some
of Amsterdams more notorious tourist attractions.

The surroundings were alien to me, and the coach we had decided to return to Cardiff on had become skewered across the main road.



The scene seemed obscured with much thanks to the constant screams of abuse by the woman at the extremely patient, and in my opinion,
friendly driver, along with chants of "Devil Woman" and alot else in
the foreign languages spoken by the coaches patrons.



"What was going on?" i had asked fellow traveller, Max Evenbly, who had been accompanying me on this journey.



The look in his eyes ensured me that he was just as unawares as i had been during the build up to the conflict on the front of the coach.



"I don't know, i think the police are coming though"



GREAT!! i had spent a week in Holland, walking from Rotterdam to Amsterdam, traversing through cities, canals, forests and around lakes.



I had been robbed by a 'taxi driver', had lost the majority of my money, and had been living in the elements since, but despite this,
even now on my return home to clarity had i not been gifted the time to
sit back, relax, and reminiss on the ordeals that had been overcome,
the challenges that had been achieved, and the amazing time that i had
had with some of the friendliest people i have ever come across.



"She's lucky noone on the coach objects to the space cakes" i thought.



Here is the story of The Kiwi Knights in Holland . . . . . .


29th June 2010


The coach pulled into Rotterdam station around seven in the morning on
a sunny, crisp day. I had just spent over eleven hours on an uneventful
ride out of Englands capital, on a coach packed with excited people all
eager to reach Holland and be away from the dark night time journey
that could test anyones patience.



The first dutch city on our first dutch excursion to Holland greeted us with an array of art and structures that inspires awe for
all those who are lucky enough to witness them, but under this
diversity there seemed to be something a bit 'dirty' about it. Rubbish
was piled up and streets were filled with a large variety of peoples
unwanted goods still resting where they'd been disposed of the previous
night.



Our plan here in Holland was to do a walk to Amsterdam, starting in Rotterdam and travelling via The Haag, but as we would soon find out,
plans can change very quickly.



Due to arriving so early in the morning, nothing was happening for a good few hours, but even when it did it seemed to pick up slowly,
unlike other major cities i had previously travelled to. This was due
to the sheer number of bicycles used rather than motor vehicles.



But anyway , enough about Rotterdam, it was nice, artistic, relaxed and attractive on a sunny day, if you like that sort of stuff then i
suggest Rotterdam as a great place to go on your next vacation, it was
a kool place, but it wasn't why we're here.



After picking up some much needed munch and seeing quite alot of Rotterdam in the process of locating the numerous divided shops, it was
time to start moving and todays trip i was heading to the town of
Gouda, i didn't know why, but it just had a campsite (or so we
thought).



And if any of you have looked on a map and thought, Why did you travel east to Gouda when to get to The Haag you need to go west?

Well it was my first day in a country which is very leniant on certain things which may play with your mind, and my mind had been
played with.

Never Mind, sometimes things just happen that can't be controlled.



The walk led us east along Rotterdam itself and through the suburbs north-east towards Gouda.



Canals and man-made lakes webbed themselves across the ground creating a labyrinth effect and making direct line walking near
impossible.

This made for an interesting day which whilst seeming to take countless hours was all but over, before i had time to think it was
becoming night again.

I didn't know it but the clock wasn't finished with me yet, it still had plans for me before i would be allowed to rest my head.



Before i describe Gouda, i must inform you that i had walked a large distance, i was tired, hungry, grumpy and my mind was still abit,
let's just say. . . . hazey.



Gouda was grim, that's the first thing i must get off my chest, it was very grim. Not in a slimey, dirty way, but in a 'Jack The Ripper'
style grim. Dark and chilled, a place you'd paint black and red, and
where you'd imagine famous horror movie characters like 'The Blair
Witch', 'Hannibal Lector', and 'The Grudge' would hang out together in
the parks late at night, where they'd sip on their lattes and chew on
living kittens.

Safe to say i didn't like the place, and things were getting worse. The campsite we were planning on spending the night in had been
turned into a residential area and we had no idea where else to go.



A man appeared in a bar we had entered when enquiring about camping, he offered to take us to a town called 'Moerkapelle', and
where he said there was a campsite. we were wary of this man but a
local shop keeper verified that there was a campsite where the man
offered to take us, and we went along for the ride, which turned out to
be a wrong decision and added to my dislike of the town already brewed
up over the last few hours.



We had been left in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the night, at a time in which i wish i had listened to travel advice and
common knowledge, but even though it was a bad thing at the time, this
single event had a huge effect on the days yet to come, and it wouldn't
take much time for things to fall into place.



In Moerkapelle things turned, the only bad part of the trip was over, Moerkapelle was the doorway from the cold and into the shelter
and good times.



We met a man called 'Rudey' who we drank at the pub with, a very friendly and generous man, who brought us a plate of traditional dutch
food that i can pronounce but not spell.



We parted ways and the day was now allowing me to rest, so at 1am we vacated the bar in the small rural village and headed to an estuary
not far from town where we would set up camp for the night.



Ironic how we had started the day at the end of the river Rotter and had coincedentally finished the day at the estuary at which the
river starts.

We had had an eventful day and even as early on as the first night, we had already turned the order of things upside down.

Making metaphoric chaos out of order


30th June

BANG!!!!

"What the hell was that?"

BANG!!!!

Oh, no, i had set up camp on a public park and someone was here to assassinate me, or so i assumed.
If you ask anyone that knows me then they will tell you that i am not a
morning person and the thought of being assassinated sounded a more
attractive option as long as i wasn't woken up any further.

I was forced to be up and about and had found myself set up on a dyke
(Ha Ha a dyke, yes it's funny, we get it, a dyke is another name for a
lesbian) , the noise turned out to be a bird scarer, not an assassin
squad here to torture me into revealing the location on the infamous
'Alan Stealth' through my association with the guy.

But that's another story.

It was day two, we packed up camp whilst eating our salami and cheese
sandwiches and left our beloved dyke behind. Todays walk started in the
countryside and pretty much consisted of countryside until we reached
the town of Zoetermeer.

Zoetermeer started off as an industrial estate as we approached from
the east but soon proved itself as a truly special town, fully fitted
with the old roads where cars aren't allowed and the buildings mixed up
from the ages and divided around the lakes at Noor Da'a which were a
beautiful site in the summer sun that had made todays temperature
almost 30oC.

It was a town in which i enjoyed my time in, the people were nice
enough and enjoyed a joke but time wasn't on our side and we had to
leave, our next stop was the city of Leidon.

We had decided to walk along the Noor Da'a lakes, through a small
plantation which seemed to be a popular retreat for the people who
lived in the local area, especially on a hot day like this.

By now i was starting to worry about the state of my feet from all the
walking i had done so far, i had blisters on my little toes which
somehow had managed to over power my toes and become larger than the
toes themselves, but typical me, i hadn't brought anything with me
which i could use to deal with them and so had no choice but to head on.

I was relieved that the walk from Zoetermeer was pleasant and mostly
consisted of following a canal which cut itself through a number of
small towns which were all decorated with orange triangular flags that
darted themselves across houses and over head from lamp post to post,
and the words "HUP HOLLAND HUP" decorating almost every other building
in preperation for Hollands world cup game against Spain, which we were
hoping to be in Amsterdam soon enough to catch it.

It all made for such a surreal site to see almost every urban area showing such patriotism in auch a calm and welcoming way.

We passed through the town of Zoeterwoude and were reaching the
outskirts of Leidon, sanctuary, but something i now know too well is
that walking through cities takes a substantial amount longer to walk
through than your long country roads, so we ended up at camp late, not
as late as last night but late enough.

We sorted out our spot and almost instantly were greeted by a couple
called John and Helen from Middlesbrough who brought us over
sandwiches, crisps and cider, we were living like kings, but not only
that they also brought us over a couple of deck chairs and a table
which we could use for the night.

"I could get used to this"

After walking such a distance today and yesterday, it was time to get
refreshed down at the pub, where we met two local guys working there
who gave us a free pint each.

"They knew how to welcome people"

We found out one of them makes arrangements on guitar and the previous
day had been the most viewed person on youtube from Holland, rather
impressive i thought. He showed us his arrangement of "Gary Jules, Mad
World" before being sheepishly ushered out of the bar as it was quiet,
they wanted to go home and we weren't paying for our drinks anyway.

Nevermind, the best gift was yet to come, there were showers in the
grounds, i had literally spent the last two days in the hot sun
carrying a large back pack and hardly any shade to cool me down and
this was the first chance to have a clean and brush my teeth.

It was bliss, standing in a skatty public shower late at night, all i
could think of was "Fuck foot rot, i'm taking my time in this shower"

Reluctantly i left my beloved virus sanctuary and was thinking of bed,
falling asleep was not a difficult task at all, almost as soon as i
laid my head on my makeshift pillow made of a jersey and a damp towel,
i fell into a lullaby almost immediately.

1st July

Today had started off well, unlike the first night when we had camped in the open, making us exposed to the direct sunlight once the sun
rose, last night we had camped in the shade which made a nice change
from being woken up early in the morning in a pool of your own sweat.
To make the start to day 3 even better was that John and Helen from the
night before had left us a gift of muesli bars, plasters that actually
worked unlike the ones i had brought on the previous day, and also some
mighty scholl foot cooling stuff which was amazing stuff. An incredibly
generous couple who made our trip that much easier.



Today was planned to be the easiest day we'd done so far, even though we had a large distance to cover it was all along the 'Noordzee'
beach, which would be a far easier route to travel compared to walking
through the urban areas that we had been doing for the majority of time
so far, and what we blamed to be the main reason of our off course,
over the top treks, we'd be arriving in Amsterdam already if it wasn't
for the fact that neither Max or myself can read a map, which is
worrying considering we have to walk across a continent shortly.



We left Rijnsburg around 11am, eager to reach our camp early and go check out the beach before it gets too cold, we used the N206 until we
reached the town of Noordwijkel Hout and turned towards the beach.



Noordwijkel Hout was a small seaside town that was decorated in the usual orange flags and banners, a place where i tried out my newly
learnt dutch for the first time in a general store before quickly
giving up after my attempt of,

"Twee Coca Cola als je blieft" was answered by the words

"Cheese? Cheese?"

as the shop keeper rushed around handing me numerous slices of cheese freshly sliced of the wax wheel.



We had to walk along the beach to a large beachside resort of Zandvoort, which seemed to be one of those towns conveniently places
where it is for the pleasure of the people living in Haarlem and
Amsterdam.



The walk was tiring and my blisters had now grown their own blisters, but it was all worth it when we decided to go onto the beach
to grab something to eat on the sand with our overly large backpacks
and video camera in hand, i don't know what the local beach goers
thought but they eyed us up strangely and the few which were topless or
unclothed quickly put their gear back on in fear that we were here to
capture some sights for our own private little movies.



Due to a golf course and "Amsterdamse Waterleiding Duinen" our course had decided to wind all ways possible through the dunes, even
going back on itself some times with sign posts every now and then
reminding you of how far you still have to walk.



"Zandvoort 11km, Zandvoort 10.3km, Zandvoort 9.8km"



A constant pain which made your muscles ache that little bit more just knowing you have to keep it up for an extra few hours.



In the dunes it all seemed different though, we were away from the actual people of Holland, where we'd been immersed in the last couple
of days, and were thrown into the wildlife, including birds, rabbits
and even Bambi himself came to chill out with his friends to hear about
our story, but had to cut it short as they were on the way to watch
Huwie 'No Hat' Price play a show nearby.



It was also where we witnessed a real life version of our "Kiwi Knights" poster with Zandvoorts tall buildings and church poking above
the dunes to where the path we were walking seemed to lead.



Before dark we reached our camp, but not before finding out that the camp we originally planned on staying at no longer existed, it made
me question the authenticity of the map we had brought from Rotterdam,
it had failed us twice in three nights so far.



"David F*ckin' Dhalia does not accept failure"



The man at the reception advised us that the spot we were talking about setting up on can get very noisy at night and if we wanted to
rest then there are better alternatives for us. Of course we needed
rest, we had walked a large distance but this was Holland and it was
our last day of walking before reaching Amsterdam and our hike would be
complete, so we set up camp in the exact spot we were advised not to,
and we were in for a suprise.



Not a sound, it was silent, by 11pm the whole camp seemed to shut off, the so called noisy area was filled with teens from various
neighbouring countries all seeming to be here for the more relaxing
drugs than the alcohol, and it seemed making noise was something they
didn't want to be a part of.



I sat outside my tent in the night air, resting on my sleeping bag and inhaling on my cigarette as i watched the multi coloured tents
murmur and seem to come to life, trapping in their hosts as they
quietly sunk further into their solitude and passed out.



It was a large contrast from the camps i remember with the crew back in New Zealand where you automatically assume you wouldn't sleep
until the sun was rising and Leeds Festival where sleep was often a
forgotten chore between beer and breakfast.


2nd July


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