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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Netherlands, August 2013, on two wheels......and no motor!

What a great summer!

 During August, Jim and I traveled to Schiphol airport in Amsterdam to meet our friends from the Dutch Connection for a two week bicycle trip. Previously in 2005 we biked the Netherlands with our 3 children who were then 20, 25 and 28 (all single in 2005, now all married!).  We enjoyed the trip so much, we jumped at the opportunity to join our friends again in Holland this summer.
This is the happy group traveling with the Dutch Connection!
 
Pat and Ernie Myers are the Dutch Connection.  No lovelier couple! We absolutely adore them!  Ernie is the leader of the strongest riders  - he is 78. We have to keep up with him!
 
Jim and Gloria in front of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

                                                   Jamie, Gloria, Jim, Joe and Adrienne in 2005.

 
The Rijksmuseum is a Dutch National Museum dedicated to the arts and history.  The Rijksmuseum was founded in The Hague in 1800 and moved to Amsterdam in 1808.  The current building (incredibly beautiful!) was constructed in 1885.  The museum has a collection that spans 1200AD to 2000AD, displaying over 8000 objects. There are masterpieces by Rembrandt, Van Gogh and Vermeer. 
 
Isn't this amazing! Early Van Gogh at the Van Gogh Museum.
I love Van Gogh's self portraits.
 
The Van Gogh Museum is on the same grounds as the Rijksmuseum and is dedicated to the works of Vincent Van Gogh. The Museum holds the largest collection of his works.
 
Rijksmuseum half model display.
 
I'm reminded of Downton Abbey! Thank goodness we don't have to wear dresses like these displayed.  Notice the long sleeves to cover their hands. Might be tough to ride bikes or race sailboats with this dress on!

Clive Van Orden from Williamsburg, VA. We have traveled on many trips with Clive and he met us in Maryland when we cruised the Great Loop in 2010-2011.
We enjoyed a candlelight canal cruise on one of the many canals in Amsterdam.

The group gathered at 830AM each morning to review the plan for the day. Riders are divided by their perceived skill and whomever they wish to follow!  Jim and I enjoyed the fast riders (of course, haha!) and there were about 10 in our group (5 for the longest ride.)  27 people were there for the two week ride. The Dutch Connection had another group coming for the next two weeks for an identical ride.

This is a Dutch parking garage in Harlaam. No cars, just bikes. Almost every street had a road for cars, a bike path and a path for pedestrians. Bike riders are respected, unlike the US.
 
Lunch along the North Sea.

This is what it's like in the busy city. These are two of our friends, Leslie Wilson (my pal), from Flushing, MI and Patti Zensinger from Hilton Head.
 
We visited the lovely, old canal town of Delft with streets lined by medieval houses. Its charm goes far beyond its fame as the center for the famous porcelain Delftware.

One typically thinks of Delft as blue and white, but I am charmed by the colored Delftware.
 
Patti Zensinger and I at the Kinderdijk, which is a village of 19 windmills built around 1740.  This group of windmills is the largest concentration of old windmills in the Netherlands.

 

Kinderdijk is one of my favorite places on earth, probably related to my childhood in Holland, Michigan and my Dutch roots. So lovely!
Where did this come from? (OK, I took a picture of a postcard!)
 
As we rode from city to city, we would take diversions to interesting sights, such as the Sypesteyn Caste. There was a castle on this site in 1288, but the present structure is more recent.
Riding through the Gooi (try to say that in Dutch and you are spitting bullets are you pronounce the "g"). We rode in the dark for an ice cream treat with our lights on our bikes. Great way to end the evening!
Cheese markets are everywhere in Holland.  We found our favorite cheese was Jong Belegen.
Hydrangeas are everywhere. Most homes have beautiful gardens and hydrangeas are the most flower. Colors range from pink to maroon.
Houseboats are common.  Who could have a house in Holland without flowers! Gorgeous!
My camera is on a lanyard around my neck, so that I can take pictures as we ride. Bike paths are everywhere. This path rode through the gardens of homes along a canal.
 
Follow next Blog for Part 2!

 
 
 
 
 
 

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