Well today it crystallised in my mind just how religious this holiday has become.
It started innocently enough with us visiting various churches and stumbling over a Bible Tour in the Belgium Art Gallery but has become more evident after watching the Da Vinci Code last night and receiving the 'Pray to Jesus' sermons in a Museum tour in Harlem today. Its only going to get hollyer as we intend to stay at the missionary Christian hostels in Amsterdam (in the red light district no less!) for the following 3 nights. I just didn't realise that Europe was SO religious. In Bruges, for instance, I don't think there was a moment when we were out of the protective sight of some saint or the virgin Mary herself.
Any way.. we are in Amsterdam after a lovely night on an Island off the north coast of the Netherlands called Texel. Half the coast is one long beach. It really reminded me of the south coast of Australia (7 mile beach to be exact). We cycled there from our hostel, nestled amongst sheep farms, and walked along the shore. Had my first ever mustard soup and cycled back into the main town to have a sticky beak. That's when we stumbled upon the cinema. It was showing American films in English with dutch sub titles. This was great until the French and Latin portions of the Da Vinci code started. The cinema was a quaint place to put it mildly. There were coat racks around the place that were actually being used.. and in the middle of the movie, and coincidentally the middle of the car chase, there was a 10 minute intermission. We cracked up.
Also it is worth mentioning that they have a fantastic bike friendly system over here. On the island there were separate bike lanes most of the time and bike racks everywhere! it was a pleasure to ride (until the next day – my bum is still not happy about the experience).