Friday, July 1, 2016

Last day in Holland

Travel can be tricky!  On our last full day in the Netherlands we were going to make it to Amsterdam rain or shine! Yet this is tricky, you can't easily drive a car into Amsterdam and park.  You can drive to a park and ride lot outside of the city, but you will pay through the nose unless you use public transport in a very specific way, which is confusing.  So we opted for plan C, parking in Rotterdam, still a big city but not as intimidating to us, then train to Amsterdam.  While parking in the lot closest to Rotterdam central required patience, we were able to leave the car, figure out the weird automated tickets and get on a train.  Once on the train, the ride was beautiful!

When we arrive at Amsterdam central, Greg chanted, “We're ba-ck!” Surprising myself, I remembered the walking directions back to the room we had rented five years ago.  The crowds, the 'coffee shops' on every corner, and the red light district, had made this city scary to me the first time around but as I got to know the city I realized the tolerance gives the city a mellow vibe, not a frightening one. We felt comfortable here and Greg got to try the local flavor of herring, pickles and onion.  I tasted the fish but a waffle topped with Nutella and whipped cream was more my speed.  We took a tour of the canals on a boat, seeing all sorts of amazing architecture and learning some interesting historical facts about the town.  It sprinkled all day and rained on and off, giving us a chance to duck into shops here and there.

Home again to clouds but dry skies.  Before dinner I decided to squeeze in a 3 mile run, it had been too cold and wet in the morning to get out of my warm bed and face a chilly wet wake up call.  The paths of the Bosweg can be like a maze, very easy to say…”Look over there!”…then forget where you came from.  So I had an out and back route in mind.  Run for 1.5 miles in one direction turn around and come straight back.  But the paths weave around ponds, twist and turn, crisscrossing one another in the forest, so I adjusted.  Always taking left turns on the way out, noting landmarks as I went, right turns on the way back.  Proud of my developing sense of direction and navigation, I felt victorious when I hit the bike path and the sign showed me leaving Rotterdam and returning to Bergschenhoek.  At that point, raindrops began to fall.  The last half mile, the rain fell in earnest.  I returned to the cottage, slick with rain, to find Greg reheating our rijsftafel leftovers.  After a hot shower, we enjoyed a quiet evening in packing and reflecting on our time in Holland.

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