Tag Archive for 'travel'

What you pay for

Meg took a couple of days off immediately following Labor Day, so we decided to head for the Oregon coast for some r&r (not that an unemployed library school grad needs much more than a good book for that). Anyway, we decided to head out after church and stay in Portland for one night to cut down on travel time Monday. Since Meg brought her doggies along, we needed a pet-friendly hotel — preferably a cheap one. Meg found one online and reserved it, so we were all set. I don’t think the picture does the place justice, as you can’t tell that our room window is 10 feet from a strip club. Across the street there were two day cares, a booze shop and an off-track betting joint. Oh, and a really creepy guy met us at the entrance and tried to get extra friendly with Meg. I guess that’s what we get.

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Biking way more than necessary

This weekend was entirely free — no lectures, no transferring to different hotels, no suggested day trips, etc. — so I spent a couple of days exploring the area surrounding Rotterdam. Since I traveled mostly by train yesterday, today was a day for biking. The late summer weather was lovely, so it was a perfect day for it.

Poppy bought a bike in Hoenderloo (near Hoge Veluwe) and rode it back to Rotterdam last weekend, so she had the wheels to join Molly, Jonathan and me on an easy ride to Den Haag by way of Delft. Continue reading ‘Biking way more than necessary’

Day of rest

Today was a much-needed day of rest. I went to church this morning and got a spiritual recharge — something I’ve been overlooking since coming to Europe three weeks ago. The members of the congregation were very friendly and welcoming, and a couple of them even translated the services for me. The only weird thing was trying to sing hymns in Dutch, but I did give it a go. I may have even learned a tiny bit of Dutch pronunciation from it. After church I did laundry, wrote postcards to my family, and went for a short bike ride. I think I may be ready for another intense week now.

Kinderdijk

After hours of riding public transportation to get to and from the Kroller-Muller Museum yesterday, it was time to stretch out my legs a bit. I decided a bike ride to UNESCO world heritage site Kinderdijk was just the thing. It’s not too far from Rotterdam, but my first attempt at trying to find the place took me two hours — and I ended up back in Rotterdam. After studying the map much, much more carefully, I took a completely different route from the one I originally planned and got there in a much more reasonable 45 minutes. It was great strolling among the 19 working windmills that still pump water off the land surrounding them.

Hoge Veluwe, Kroller-Muller

This weekend the group had nothing specific planned, but Trent told us the program would pay for travel expenses and entrance to the Kröller-Müller Museum in Hoge Veluwe National Park. It was our choice what day to go, but a few of us thought that the museum was less likely to be crowded on Friday, so we set out earlyish to leave plenty of time for exploration. That turned out to be a good choice, because once we saw how incredible both the park and the museum were, we didn’t want to leave.

Continue reading ‘Hoge Veluwe, Kroller-Muller’

‘ware the chipkaart

We had our first free day – with no lecture – in Amsterdam today, so folks were left to their own devices for entertainment and enlightenment.  Well, mostly. Sue organized a canal tour in the morning, so people just had to come up with a way to fill their afternoons.

The canal tour was lovely. I had taken a tour of Amsterdam’s many canals a week earlier, but the two experiences were completely different. Continue reading ‘‘ware the chipkaart’

Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam

I went to my first library of the trip, and I have to say that I’m deeply impressed. Judging from the Openbare Bibliotheek, it’s evident that the Netherlands values libraries. Such care was given to the design of the building and its contents, from the bookshelf arrangement to the labels on the books. I could see myself spending a lot of time there.

I was especially impressed by the setup of the children’s section. Continue reading ‘Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam’

Amsterdamse Bos

I’ve been itching to ride a bicycle around town from the moment I got here. Since today was the first clear day we’ve had, I took off toward Amsterdamse Bos, a wooded area southwest of central Amsterdam. I’m not really sure what route I took to get there; I just followed the signs posted along the bike path (fietspad – my Dutch word of the day), but eventually I got there. The woods were delightful. Bike and walking paths criss-crossed the entire area, which is roughly 2,500 acres. It was really easy to feel like I was alone among the trees. Continue reading ‘Amsterdamse Bos’

Market day

I needed a day to wander around by myself, so I went to flower market and the Albert Cuyp market. The flower market had quite a few fresh flowers, but mostly it sold tulip bulbs and wooden tulips. I enjoyed fantasizing about planting hundreds of tulips in the scraggly flower beds outside my duplex, but I didn’t end up buying anything. The Albert Cuyp market was amazing. It’s a huge street market that is open daily (except Sunday) from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and it sells just about anything you could ever need. There were stalls for bicycles, fish, stroopwafels, footwear, household items, fabric, produce and much, much more. I was tempted by several items there, but I only bought fruit. Produce here is super cheap, but it doesn’t seem to make it into very many meals in very detectable quantities. I savored my affordable apple.

Frites, churches and a group dinner

After lecture this morning, Greta and I decided to go to the Anne Frank House museum. When we got there, however, the line to get in stretched around the block, and we didn’t know if we’d have time to wait and go through before our group dinner tonight. We were both feeling a bit hungry, so we asked a man working in a nearby souvenir shop where we could find some good frites (Dutch-style fries). He gave us some convoluted directions to a shop several blocks away and assured us that all of the locals got frites there. He promised they would be “the best frites you’ve had in your life.” Continue reading ‘Frites, churches and a group dinner’