Amsterdam!

Sorry, not many photos for this post or the last. Something’s wrong with our camera. We think we can fix it, but not until Ottawa. So we’ll make do with words, and photos taken on the iPad until then. Stay tuned for a batch next week.

 Sitting on the wood floor in our beautiful apartment, evening sun streaming in through the huge windows.  So much light everywhere here – you can see where the Dutch painters drew their inspiration from! Here’s the view:

  
 Our sturdy Dutch bikes (rentals) are locked up on the cobblestone street outside.  OK, so they are clunkers but you can’t complain for 8 Euros for 24 hours. We spent the day rolling around the city. Saw the Museum District, with great plazas and gardens surrounding the buildings. Stopped for DELICOUS poffertjes, those fluffy pancakes that we fell in love with back at the ROtterdam market in May, slathered in hunks of butter and icing sugar. We biked past Anne Frank’s house, with a line-up at least 500 metres long (no exaggeration). Kept going to the Oude Kerk district, filled with tourists, and zig zagged along the canals towards home.  Had a picnic of Turkish take-out beside our neighbourhood canal for dinner.

BIking in Amsterdam is dizzying. So many cyclists, pedestrians, buses, trams. Bridges, canal boats and water everywhere. Amos declared the streets “even worse than Thailand”. I think of it more as organized chaos, inspiring, delightful, crazy and definitely a bit to get used to. Naeva has nearly been hit by at least two cyclists while she has been walking, as we keep forgetting to look for the cycle track once you cross the traffic lanes!

Our trip here by train yesterday was smooth. Said a fond and early morning “A la prochaine” to Flo and Marc and drove to the Bordeaux train station to return our car and fit in a last flaky French croissant. Took three TGVs (high-speed trains) to get to Amsterdam. Had to change train stations in Paris, which had us a bit nervous due to time and logistics. In the end, we ditched the idea of taking the metro (8 bags…too many!) and instead hopped a cab. The driver, a friendly guy from Côte d’Ivoire, gave us the drive-by tour: the Eiffel Tower, Place de la Concorde, Tuilerie Gardens, Galeries Lafayette, Arc de Triomphe.  Magnifique! So good. So much cheaper than if we’d actually stayed. And we saw it all :). 

So here we are back in Holland, where we started the European leg of our trip four months ago. TOmorrow we return to Delft to pick up the two suitcases we’ve been storing at Joop’s house since May. It all feels a bit nostalgic, realizing that this is the last week to fit it all in: favourite meals to eat (still need to find herring and Dutch apple tarts); special promises to fulfill (Amos’ trip to Lego store); back to school/work shopping to do; a few treats still to buy for home (how much cheese can I smuggle in?).  We’ve had a few conversations about our “Top Lists” –  top meals, top campsites, top cities- which inevitably turn into Top 60 lists, as there has been so much that we’ve seen and done since May, let alone March, that it seems impossible to summarize.  We’ll work on digesting it a bit this week. 

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