Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Kevin and I just returned from Amsterdam and Venlo on one of Donna Dawson's marvellous ICanGarden tours.  We had a great time, although I swear my brain and body are still floating somewhere over the Atlantic.  If it truly is a day for every hour of time difference, by tomorrow I should be back together and functioning like a person.

While we've travelled extensively in North America, we had never been to the continent.  I cannot describe the magic of getting into a plane - travelling for 6 hours and finding myself in a place that is so unlike where I live - the air, the colours, the cobblestone streets, the canals and masses of humans on black coaster bikes going off to work with tiny little soft-headed babies - one behind the handles, the other behind mummy.

No helmets, no fuss, no bother and no slowing down ever.  (Look closely below - these are rows upon rows of bikes parked outside the train station)

Very quickly we learned that in the world of Amsterdam transport - bikes and scooters are #1, trams & buses #2, and pedestrians #46.  Tram doorways open onto bike lanes.  And, sidewalks, bike lanes and often roads are all on the same elevation, a little ting,ting,ting bike bell meant we were within seconds of serious harm.  Who has more fun than the Dutch just walking around town?  Every time we heard a MAYMAW, MAYMAW, MAYMAW ambulance siren, we looked at each other and said, "One less tourist...."

Just to give you the scope of the number of bikes - there are about 750,000 people in Amsterdam - and at least 3 per person.  There were 840,000 bikes stolen last year - and that was a good year according to our guide.  Good for whom....?

I fear I'm in the running for most-disjointed post today, but work comes first.  So, I promise lots more photos in the days to come. In the meantime, here is just a tease of what we saw at Keukenhof with 99,998 of our nearest and dearest flower lovers from around the world:


Barry said...

It sounds like you had the time of your life. The architecture in itself is stunning. However did you manage to keep the camera focused - the buildings, the plants, the water..... perhaps its best if one suffers from ADD when embarking upon a journey like this! Looking forward to the ensuing posts of your visit

Barbarapc said...

Barry, it was brilliant. It is a city that has to be revisited. As I walk around my garden now, I'm getting flashbacks - driving home from an event two days ago in Toronto, realized how the city has sacrificed economy of motion for charm. Oh how I miss the beauty of it all.