zephyr illusions photo by donna October 1992. The view atop Chasseral, Jura Mountains looking across Switzerland to The Alps on the horizon. Fog, intensely thick, rising from Lac Bienne and stretching its fingers high onto the Lignières-Plateau de Diesse after wholly filling the valley below the plateau.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Day 1 of my European Adventure 2005

Holland has been really adventurous thus far..... the drive from the airport to the hotel should have been 17 km. lol, i put 68 km on the car before i eventually found my way to the hotel. many thanks to a very nice Dutch policewoman who told me that i was only one block from where i needed to be and got me turned around and headed in the right direction.
the hotel is very charming and run by the couple who own the beautiful old building. it's in the Embassy district and right next to Vondelpark.... which is the Amsterdam version of New York City's Central Park. i've got a real "Amsterdam single" which means the room is very small and cozy. but, it does have it's own private bathroom & shower and has a HUGE old window with 11 window panes and is arched (really nice architecture) that looks directly at the park. hehehe, i even have one of those canals that Amsterdam is famous for below my window. ok, so it's just a tiny canal, but it's a canal, all the same.
speaking of Vondelpark.... i was in Vondelpark only 10 seconds before i was nearly killed by what appeared to be 100's of mad Dutch people on bicycles! lmao, i was trapped in the middle of the path with bikers racing by me from both directions. what the hell is a pedestrian suppose to do when they ring their bells??! i had no place to go without being run over so i stood there like an idiot until they finally past. although rather scarey, it was pretty funny.
i walked twice around the park checking out the sights and, wow!, are there plenty of sights to be seen... all kinds of people riding all kinds of bikes... business men & women in suits, mothers with babies, women in dresses and skirts, old people, young people; bikes with plastic crates tied to the handlebars for use as baskets, bikes with saddlebags, new bikes, rickety old bikes, bikes with twisted wheels (beats me how they peddle those things)... but, my fav are the bikes with plexiglass windshields. lmao, crazy freaking Dutch!
saw lovers "doing it" on the grass by some trees, groups of musicians playing and singing, kids playing soccer, people playing Bocci, picnickers, even saw a parrot fly by me (thought the hotelier was kidding me when she said i'd be awaken in the mornings by parrots squacking in the trees outside my window), people sunning themselves, old men fishing in a lake, dogs swimming in the lakes, rollerskaters, joggers, a group of kids practicing gymnastics, wierd-looking guys oogling the young girls in the gymnastic class, people sleeping in the grass. oh! and caught the scent of what smelled like really good quality pot drifting through the air. musta smelled about 4 different kinds of the stuff. hehehe, so wierd for me to walk by people smoking marijuana out in the open in public.
Vondelpark seems to be a little city in and of itself.... i think the environ with all its inhabitants would make a good subject for an ethnographic study.
after walking and checking out the scene, had a nice carpaccio salad and a couple of good draft beers called 'Brand' for dinner at an outdoor cafe called 'Vertigo'. real nice end to a real event-filled day.
now, off the sleep, even though only 9:30 PM, cos i'm beat.... well, to sleep after a Amstel Bier from the mini bar in my cute cozy typical A'dam single.
further updates to come :)

6 comments:

  1. Looking for more of your stories on the dutch.. Hope you'll be finding time to update soon.. :)

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  2. bedankt Prof.!! :) have LOTS of stuff to write about my Amsterdam adventure thus far, but currently having bad internet connection @ my small hotel. i keep getting booted off before i can post. stay tuned, though! :) a native Dutch friend who lived in A'dam for some years drove into the city to meet me and gave me a great tour of the City Centrum. Amsterdam is quite beautiful... i'm amazed at the incredibly intricate and beautiful brickwork on the buildings in this town!!!
    :)

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  3. Have been reading your comments very interestedly. Nice to hear what others have to say about holland, especially if they are so positive :)

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  4. nice having somebody interested in reading about my adventure and impressions of Holland.
    btw, do the Friesians call your country Holland? or, do they insist on always referring to your country as The Netherlands? isn't Holland a particular region of The Netherlands?

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  5. LOL, yes this is the Vondelpark! I have been living across the street (Overtoom) for years, and the Vondelpark was my garden. And it is all true what you describe and wonderfully put in words.

    Ilo

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