Land of bicycles and stroopwaffel
Trip Start May 20, 2009
24Trip End Oct 15, 2009
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Where I stayed
My good ol´ SCI and Innisfree friend, Aleid, came to meet me at the train station. It was only a 15 minute walk to her place, a very nice cottage like place in a small courtyard with no traffic, but very near the center. Aleid has 3 bikes - typical dutch - and I got to ride her new ´volvo´of the bike world, a large, solid, brightly colored thing. I managed to stay on the bike as we went around the Dom and then for a nice drive in the country to a pancake house on a canal. I recommend the spek und kaase. I seem to manage about 10km at a time on flat landscapes. The other unusual thing (for me), is that Aleid decided I needed some new clothes.
I took one day to go into Amsterdam, on the train; only about 30 minutes away. Amsterdam is where I first landed in Europe in May, 1975. I can still remember a few highlights (and lowlights) from that time.
This time, I met with my friend Maria Johnson. Maria and I worked together at the Church of the Brethren offices in Elgin, IL back in 1981. We lost touch for some years and re-found each other about 5 years ago. At the age of 50, she met her love, in Amsterdam and is trying to live happily ever after. Maria brought her bike over on the ferry from North Amsterdam and we met for a drink and caught up with our lives. I wandered around Amsterdam for a few hours on my own - often sitting in parks and people watching since walking long distances is not possible these days. I then met with another Innisfree/SCI friend, Maarten Stam who lives there. We met at Dam Square. I told him I was the only one hanging out and knitting. (I find that having small knitting projects keeps me occupied and makes nice little gifts for my hosts.) We went out for a bite to eat and then he found a very out of the way place for a beer, along a canal. Very romantic spot.
I returned to Utrecht that evening. I got to try out and break in, a blow up air mattress at Aleid´s. I can say that I can highly recommend it. We had very nice chats in the back garden and drank some pots of tea and coffee, usually accompanied with a stroopwaffel. The next day I left for Belgium, but that is another chapter.
P.S. I will have to add photos when I have access to a computer that is not in an internet cafe.