Our life in Holland. Other people’s lives. Sometimes, the crossroads of our lives and theirs.
At or below sea level, water plays an important role in much of the country. Shipping, agriculture, and land reclamation are essential to Dutch life. So is rain.
Dijks separate water,
What can’t be grown outside, is grown inside. Naturally, a bike path bisects fields of greenhouses.
In Amsterdam, a canal bisects the city and a sea of bicycles. There are hundreds of bicycles parked within view. There are hundreds of canals in the city.
Rails run down the center, buses and small cars use the lanes, bicycles fill the brick-colored bike lanes, and parked cars separate pedestrians from it all. This is prudent and humane city planning. People and things are transported efficiently.
Real people walk and rides bikes. Most people walk and ride bikes.
This small rural street is one lane wide, with two bicycle lanes, one on either side for each direction of travel. More bicycles than cars use this route.
A teenager riding with a euphonium is completely normal. His mother congratulated his performance, kissed him on the cheek, and sent him cycling towards home. Parents attended the outdoor concert by bike, despite 30kph headwinds/tailwinds. Aerobars on upright bikes are not uncommon.
Wind, weather and age are not excuses to stay home, or to drive.
This food-truck festival was widely attended, mostly by cyclists and pedestrians.
Other industries are present along the county’s waterways.
A rich history is everpresent.
Alongside modern life.
Best of all, natural settings are not lost amidst centuries of civilization. Open spaces exist in Europe, and we’re still clambering along the shores of the North Sea– hills and forests lie ahead.
Just a day and a half away from New Mexico, and we are cycling in Holland. A long way from home and a quick trip– both relative. We took the El Paso-Los Angeles Limousines from ABQ to Denver. Packed up the bikes at Denver B-Cycle, thanks to Andy and Phil. Boarded an RTD commuter bus to DIA. Flew IcelandAir to Reykjavik, then to Amsterdam and rebuilt the bikes in the airport. Rode 15km towards the center of town, mouths agape at spectacular sea-level spring and cycling along infinite fietspad, the Dutch word for bike path, and canals. At last–we are in Holland, in Europe, along well-signed fietspad, and soon, on dirt trails. Our bikes are exciting and amazing to us. Our opportunity, also exciting, in which we credit ourselves for hard work and planning and saving money. While still late spring in the Netherlands, summer is here!
Thanks to Alle and Irena, our Warmshowers hosts in Amsterdam. We left town via the LF20 Flevoroute toward Haarlem, then connected with the LF1 Noordzeeroute towards the south along the coast. Rolling along sand dunes at dusk, we took cover under a small shelter as coastal clouds rolled onshore. Within a day, we will connect with the GR5 walking trail, which connects the North Sea with the Mediterranean. Anyone in southern Holland or Belgium? Luxembourg or eastern France?
Enjoy our summer in Europe with us! Lael has more great posts on her blog, Lael’s Globe of Adventure.