This week's challenge for Photo Friday is Fuzzy. This little primate was spotted in the primate zoo in the Netherlands.
I was told of a zoo where every convict was a primate. Since then the story has grown roots in my memory and when we contemplated a trip to the Netherlands, I immediately thought of spending an afternoon with those of my order. I was probably as excited as a kid in a candy store when our last day in the Netherlands was dedicated to getting to Apenheul (Ape Hill) and perhaps taking a picture or two.
We were up and about early in the morning to get out to the train station. We picked up a couple of strippenkaarts so we could save some money on the local transportation in the country. You can use the strippenkaarts with 15 slots a peice anywhere in the country. It makes it pretty easy to plan out transit on the other end when you don't have to worry about the payment.
The return trip, on the Inter-City train, cost a total of 47€ a body, with a transfer in Amsfoort. The trip was not as long as it felt, but soon we were in the station seeking out the number three bus to take us to the Hill of Apes. We saw a building that was labeled as the Canadian Club as the bus toured us around the city, and later research shows there is a large number of Canadian veterans that have settled in Apeldoorn. We were so busy checking out the little town, that we watched as the zoo zipped past us on the bus. We ended up disembarking much past our scheduled stop. It have us a nice chance to have a nice stroll in rural Holland. We wandered past some nice comfortable homes. Before we were able to access the front gate.
After a bit of a walk through some greenspace, we came to where we were equipped with our monkey proof gear. Each guest is required to put everything in their pockets, their food and 'anything of value' into a canvas bag with a monkey proof clasp. I guess the little buggers are quite good at taking things and exchanging them with the trainers for more food. The gentleman at the gate detailed us in how we should behave because the inmates walk free within the walls. We entered their world.
We first saw some ringtails. They didn't seem to care too much about us as we walked through their land. We meandered through fuzzy red things and hair black things taking in quite an environment and some funny poses. The cutest, of course, are the little babies, and we were given quite a treat seeing the chimpanzees get fed.
We heard the drums start when we started down the path, and the chimps went wild. They ran out of their house and started gathering on the play area in front of the viewing area. They didn't clamor for space, but took up their places and waited for their food. Soon a trainer was throwing various fruits over the wall, and the mayhem started. Most of it was what one would usually see watching animals that are kept get fed, but it was cute to watch the youngest member try to get away from his mother and have a nice little snack.
During our visit to the zoo, we did get a little rain shower but we still stayed until the zoo closed. On the way out I spotted the first acorn I have ever seen in my life. With that note, we slowly rode back to Amsterdam. It was pretty late on in the evening when we got back to Ingrid's and we immediately set upon packing for the next leg in our adventure. The next day was shaping up to be a big one including travel to another country, setting up camp and watching an international rugby test.
The day had finally arrived, and it was time to embark across the ocean and start a two week vacation in Europe. Mike was kind enough to drive us to the airport, at a time we thought would be early enough. We arrived, confronted with the longest line in which I've stood in quite some time. Not that it mattered, as everyone got the same, designed by a midget with no arms, seat that Air Transat is known for, and given the chance to do it over again, I'd pay the extra money to ride on something where I can make it 30 minutes without being rammed by a cart.
The line was processed rather quickly, and surprisingly there were no problems at security. Once we were clear we searched for some hot food, but had to settle for some convenience sandwiches, and a cold pint before we boarded the plane.
I managed to sleep through most of the three movies and food services, but it was definitely a tight flight in the middle seat. Most of the flight my faced pressed into the seat in front of me, as there was no way my broad shoulders were going to share the back rests with the other two gentlemen. We had a non-verbal agreement, every once in a while I would lean back and they would both slump forward for a while. We all knew that there was nothing any one of us could do about our situation, but work together to make it as comfortable as possible. Everyone on the plane clapped when the pilot brought us down onto the tarmac. I wasn't sure why, as I'm pretty sure landing the plane is in his job description, but perhaps he did an exceptionally good job while I was sleeping. As soon as we had our luggage and were through passport control, Sonja's aunt Ingrid was there to pick us up.
We stopped at a lounge and picked up a couple of Heinekens. Time between beers: 10 hours 52 minutes and 51 seconds. We were told that a proper Dutch beer has two fingers of head, and if the beer is given to you without the required head, you can return it for a fresh one.
We jumped from train to tram and ended up at Ingrid's apartment just off of Waalstraat (Wall Street) on Ijselstraat. Her 'typical' Amsterdam apartment was a tight 47 meters square (just a smidgen over 500), with the balcony included in that space. There definitely isn't a lot of junk in that size of a space. The stove doubles as a countertop and shelf, the fridge is a typical size to find under a Canadian bar, a single sink in the whole apartment and a toilet stall that doubles as a shower stall all worked together to get all the needs into the small space. Pendo was a bit wary of us, not that it mattered, all we really wanted was a shower and a bed. Afterall, tomorrow we were exploring Amsterdam