Today was our last full day in the Amsterdam area (we are in a hotel about 10 miles south of the city). We had grand plans… going to church would have cost about $150 in Uber… we planned a day trip to Germany, but all of those dillusions of grandeur failed since we woke up around 11:30am. Church started at 10 (and was like 45 minutes away) and the train to Germany (Cologne) left at 8:30… so, Sunday became a day of much needed rest!
After getting our bearings for a little bit, and eating granola bars and PB&J sandwiches, William and I decided to go on “a little stroll” while the girls went to the pool. Our little stroll turned out to be (by my estimations) a six mile walk. We went through the back of our hotel, past a super delightful farm, in search of the town that was just a few blocks wide, and then on to the massive bay (or, ocean, as I would call it). Here are some farm pics:
We had to go through at least one gate (there are two that we should have, and a few others around here) because this path is used for (a) employee parking and (b) joggers (or, people like me: slow walkers :p).
The town walk was really fun, actually. It was SO very different than walking through Amsterdam. There were canals, and we walked on the bike path (there wasn’t a separate sidewalk), but it was a really slow environment compared to the hustle and bustle of the city. We stopped to talk to two or three people who were out taking care of their yards… each chat was delightful. We even went undercover a few times and said “Hallo!” as we passed people. That was acceptable. Waving to people, on the other hand, wasn’t acceptable. For sure they spot tourists as people who wave. Duh.
“Good morning,” I would say to people as we passed them. One guy looked at his watch and then said “It’s three o’clock!” Ah, time to switch to good afternoon, then!
We asked if there were any restaurants in town (it was small, but not too small for a restaurant). “No” was the answer each time. “Are there any markets?” Yes, just go down there, then turn right, then turn right again. It’s by the Pizza shop.” Mind you, that was not a restaurant, according to locals.
We made our way to the market and went shopping for goodies (chocolate, of course, waffer cookies, and lots of fruit… and plastic knives!), double-bagged our food (thank goodness they had bags, the last place only had them for sale), and then walked out to go back home. Of course, we passed a nice-looking cafe with lunch items… apparently that wasn’t a restaurant either. So we found two-non-restaurants that were exactly what we were wondering about 🙂
The walk back was as delightful as the walk there… through a charming neighborhood with all kinds of history, on a lazy Sunday afternoon. However, we were just going in the general direction of our hotel, not paying too much attention to where we had to go, and we ended up stuck in a new-construction neighborhood with townhouses and new couples moving in to them. “How do you get across the canal?” “You don’t! You have to go all the way around there!” Turns out, we got too ambitious in our shortcut and added another half mile to our walk… we had to backtrack quite a bit… the two tourists carrying bags of groceries.
We made it back to the hotel and I iced my ankle and relaxed a bit, then we went to the French cafe for a reasonably priced burger. The waitress was really cool – I love how they take time to chat with you here. This has been our experience at every restaurant. Here’s the American menu – notice you have to pay extra for fry dips:
When we got back I started polishing my first presentation for the conference, and made travel arrangements to Antwerp. We will leave here tomorrow at about 9am (unless we sleep in until 11:30 again!) and take a bus to Antwerp. The best part is the bus cost less than $60 for all of us… that is really inexpensive compared to the ubers we’ve been taking!
While I was working on my presentations the kids went for a walk back out to the farm (and got the pics on this page). Sam came back and packed, the rest of us will throw our stuff in the suitcases tomorrow morning. We are all still pretty tired… it’s only 10:30pm and the girls are OUT. William is on the back patio chatting with his bestie (Landon).
And that’s it. I’m bushed, and we’re all excited to go to a new country and city tomorrow! Here we come Belgium!!