Trek Women
April 16, 2008

Dutch treat...

Blue_bike All weather, all ages, all sizes – people go by bike in Holland. Bikes trump pedestrians and cars on the streets. It’s great if you’re the one on two wheels; dodgier if you’re on two legs bee-lining toward a French fry stand. But, maybe I should rewind the story a bit.

Some celebrate new jobs by going out to dinner. My dinner just happened to take place in Amsterdam with Russ and Wayne. (And by dinner, I really mean copious amounts of fries and these funky little things called “bitteballen” that can only be described as deep-fried balls of gravy. Seriously, it can be done.) Although we’ve been to Holland before, the guys and I figured that visiting in Springtime with tulips a-bloom was one of those things you have to see in your lifetime. Plus, I like windmills… and Gouda cheese.

We stayed at the Hotel von Onna in Amsterdam again, notable for its owner, Leon, and its location on the Bloemgracht (flower canal) near the Anne Frank house. Leon is quite particular, his rooms are spare and spotless, and he looks a little like the boiled eggs he serves for breakfast. A few doors from the Onna, we rented bikes for a couple of days, splurging a few extra Euro to get 7-speeds with hand brakes. Bike theft is a big problem there, so the shop guy gave us ginormously heavy chains and locks to cart around.

Having already seen the “attractions,” our plan was to just pedal and see where the path would take us. On our first full day, we must have ridden close to 40 miles. We found street markets, a windmill (!), lovely parks and plenty of fries – for energy of course. The next day, I convinced the guys to go to the world-famous Keukenhof Gardens, known for its tulip fields and displays. Russ said it was Tulip Disney, I thought it was nice even if the flowers weren’t quite in bloom yet. The Keukenhof also has a windmill (!).

On a jaunt to see the city of Haarlem, we came upon a Trek dealership called the Bike Planet. The shop had some adorable Trek leisure/commuting bikes that we don’t have here, maybe they’re only for the Euro market. I wanted an orange-colored one BAD.

That night, we stopped by Café Chris, a local pub near the Onna. Turns out, Samantha Brown from the Travel Channel had once taped a segment there. Get out of town! Of course, we had to take a photo with Nell, the bartender, who kept us nicely occupied with beer, bitteballen and other fried foods. My fear though was that upon leaving the establishment one of us would (a) accidently drop a bike lock key in a canal, or (b) accidently drop oneself into a canal. We made it home safe, sound and dry.

All in all, Holland is a real treat. The Dutch are friendly, the biking is fun and the fries are delish. Definitely put it on your “waanderlust” list.

Comments

You have to stop taking such AMAZING travel pics - I wanted to drop everything, forget the kids, strap on a backpack and head for Amsterdam. :) -Jen

Posted by: Jen | Apr 17, 2008 10:19:22 AM

oh my gosh you are making me very very home sick!! I was born and raised in the Netherlands and obviously this is where I get my love for biking. I am glad to hear you had a good trip! well..
doei ;) -wendy

Posted by: wendy | Apr 17, 2008 11:10:18 PM

I love it there! My next visit, I'll have to see more of the countryside and seaside. We had contemplated renting a car and going for a drive; but, there just wasn't enough time. My sis, Becky, and her hubby Steve went to Holland on their honeymoon.

It's so fascinating to see the Moms and Dads riding thier bikes with a kid strapped to the front and one on the back. But that's just what you do in Amsterdam.

One afternoon, we were sitting in a cafe having a beer and saw a woman who must have been in her 60s, riding her bike and it had like a cart on the front. In the cart, were four Jack Russell terriers with their tongues hanging out, having a good time. I couldn't get to my camera fast enough before she passed by.

Posted by: Laura | Apr 18, 2008 7:55:43 AM

Seeing so many folks in Holland riding bikes was amazing. The bike stalls were always packed full of bikes.

Think of how much healthier we all would be if we could ride our bikes everywhere. We need to get our state and local politicians working on creating safe bike lanes.

I love the curly yellow and coral tulip picture. It looks like it's on fire. Beautiful!

Posted by: Becky | Apr 18, 2008 9:01:26 AM

I love your tulip photos in your kitchen from the flower market. You and Steve are the reason we had to go the 1st time. Maybe someday, you guys, Paddy and the Twinkies will go and ride bikes too.

I've still got my money on an April 20th birthday - full moon! Jen says you'll go into labor on the 20th but deliver on the April 21st.

Posted by: Laura | Apr 18, 2008 9:26:06 AM

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