Last May, my friends at PHYSEE and I took a day off from work for a team outing! PHYSEE is an exciting start-up I was working with, that strives to make electricity generating ‘power windows’ (http://www.physee.eu/). The kick-ass team consists of: Tower of Babel Ferdinand, Triathelete Willem, Stuurman Thijmen, Ruby ruby Ruben, Junior Willem, Exit room expert Kubra, Chefin Magriet, our in-house celebrity YOLO Georgios and yours truly. The team is expanding fast, so it would have added more valuable members by the time of this post.
Ruben and Willem were in-charge of organizing the team outing and they did a great job of that! I was really hoping for a dutch-style sport like sailing and we indeed went blokarting! This was followed by an escape room and an evening out in Amsterdam at one of the most serene, easy-going cafes I have ever seen. The destinations were a complete surprise. So much so that up to the D-day, the beach Ruben had in mind was different from the actual booking, so even he did not really know where we going till the last minute!
Blokarting is a simplified form of sailing, but on wheels. The beach at Ouddorp has a ‘clinic’ which can teach you how to catch the wind in your sails. We steered with our legs and used the sails to navigate around an 8 figure perpendicular to the direction of the wind.
The sail flows with the wind like a big flag, unless you pull it against the wind and transfer some momentum to the kart. At the turns, you temporarily go against the wind (thus, at a fixed speed or decelerating) and after the turn you are again along a direction of the wind. The switch is quick and if the sail is pulled on too hard, then it’s very easy for the wind to exert a sideways force on the kart and topple it! It was the final evaluation day for our instructor, so I hope she did not mind us driving on two wheels or toppling over the karts from time to time!
After a long drive north on smooth Dutch highways, we were in the big city of Amsterdam. Problem solving and innovative thinking is something we do everyday, so an escape room puzzle with such good team members was lightening fast and a lot of fun! Since we were 9, we divided ourselves into two groups and both teams finished within 35 mins out of the 60 mins given to us! No photos were allowed in this room of a ‘mad scientist’ so you just have to take our word for it.
From this escape room near Amsterdam centraal we walked over to the Hannekes Boom cafe. In the 17th century, ‘Hannekes Boom’ used to be the Northern most tip of Amsterdam and one of the few ports of entry into the city. At that time, it was a dark place, far away from civil society and even in the 20th century, it remained as the city outskirts. Today, thanks to the cafe, the NEMO science museum and other initiatives, it is one of the most happening spots in the city.
This cafe is one of the busiest that I have seen in Amsterdam, but it still manages to keep its charm and warmth. Visitors to the cafe can sit under a tree, on the sunny balcony, by the pier or drive in with their own boat and use that too! I would definitely recommend this place for a real Amsterdam experience.
The drinks were followed by a dinner at which I missed because I had a flight to catch. A short video of the day is available here: https://goo.gl/4Lj1uI
Watch out for this team as they are undoubtedly going to do great things in the future!
P.S: I learnt some dutch too that day: Ik het Siddhartha, hoe het ben jij?