M and Z's Grand Tour travel blog

A classic image Amsterdam

Sara with bike in front of the Dam Square

Me and my rented bike

Notice the name of the product.

Sara and I in HolySloot - where we stopped for ice cream...

Me on the tiny ferry

Sara asking for directions again...

Sara, Katinka, and me at dinner

Continued for 8/30

Today we took this incrediblely long bike around the outside of Amsterdam, the goal was to find some water to take a swim. We started out at 11 a.m. both of us with rented bicycles - old-fashioned sit up style with no gears, only one speed - slow and heavy. oh, and with no food or a map. But that didn't matter becasuse Sara stopped at least 25 people along the way to ask for directions - many of whom we saw again later on. In the end we took this huge loop starting from the North side of Amsterdam and returning on the East side. We stopped in Holy Sloot, where a couple there had a little house, sold snacks, rented kayaks and took people across the canal on the smallest ferry - it held the driver and about 8 people with bikes - luckily the trip was no more than 3 minutes long. We eventually did find water - Sara went went skinny dipping - Dutch style, while I enjoyed the sunshine. We returned home sore, but happy and ready to meet Katinka (a friend and colleague of Sara's) for a terrific Thai dinner.

Tomorrow back to London, I better not miss my flight!

While Z is in London getting his Namibia VISA, I've gone to Amsterdam to visit my good friend Sara Wookey. Because I overslept during my nap between the London arrival and the Amsterdam departure I, of course, went late to the airport and missed my flight but got onto the next one. Sara was kind enough to come out twice to meet me at the airport.

We've spent today just enjoying the sunshine and good weather. Sara has a sweet little apartment near a canal a little out of town. We rented a bicycle for me and rode around stopping for quick errands and a bit of shopping.

Before we move onto Africa I just wanted to share my thoughts on our time and observations of Europe. The most evident difference between the two is the size of things. In the US, everything is so big - and the more-oversized the better. In Europe things are half the size, garbage cans, refrigerators, dish washers, milk cartons, washing machines, paper towel squares - it's funny when you look around and sometimes feel as if you were in a childs' playhouse. But it makes sense, seems to be a lot less waste and useless space. The other big revelation is how prevalent English is. In Hungary, we listened for 3 days to the radio and only heard 3 songs in Hungarian, the rest were in English (mostly bad 80's music!), and many stores have English names such as "Stop and Shop" or "Hollywood Cinema" no wonder they all speak English so well!

Anyway, I'm going to add a bunch of photos to this and previous entries.

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