We have spent the past two days roaming around Amsterdam, biking around Amsterdam, cruising the canals and had dinner last night in The Hague, about 45 minutes south of the city. Our biking tour started on Wednesday around 2 pm as we had a dinner cruise at 7 pm. We figured 5 hours was plenty of bike riding for this crew. We were told by our tour guide on Monday that if we wanted to take a nice ride we should just jump on some bikes and follow the Amstel River south and it would be beautiful. That was the plan, but not knowing the city we went a bit off course. We ended up riding down, around and through different parts of Amsterdam. Noah and I love to bike so we were enjoying the scenery and the nice weather. Ilise and Drew on the other hand, were a bit more concerned with the traffic and the hectic nature of the bike lanes.
About an hour into our ride we finally found the Amstel River. It was huge and we decided to take the road on the west side of the river. After about half a mile there was some construction, the river went one way and we had not choice but to go another. Our next project was to find the river again amongst the commercial buildings and roads that all lead to nowhere! We finally found someone who pointed us in the right direction and continued south. We linked up with the river again only to find the bike path ends again and we had to bike through some neighborhoods. By this time we had been riding for about 2 hours, not having seen any windmills or flower fields (which was the reason we chose to ride in this direction) we decided to turn around and head back into Amsterdam. We ended up riding for a good 3 hours and got to the boat about 90 minutes before cruise time and just relaxed until it was time to get on our little canal cruise.
While we were waiting for the boat we met a family that happened to be from San Diego. It was a grandmother, her life partner, her granddaughter and a friend. The four of them were extremely nice and we spent the next 2 hours talking with them. The two grandmothers were both therapists and we spent a lot of time talking about life. It was a fun cruise around the city, but as Ilise said, we spent more time talking with our new friends than looking out the windows at the city. In the end, it was a really nice time and I enjoyed myself. The food was adequate at best, but we’ve had worse!
Yesterday was mostly a quiet day as Drew completed another section of Geometry. She got a 100% on the section exam and was very excited about that. She is doing so well with her school work even if she does get distracted. There is still a bunch of work to finish before school starts, but I’m sure she will get it done. Noah and I took the bikes back to the bike shop, but before we did we went to buy him a new pair of sneakers he has been wanting for “four years” according to him. We told him that he didn’t need new sneakers so he said he would spend his own money on these, which he did. After returning the bikes we made some lunch and then around 6 pm we headed to The Hague to have dinner with Ellen and her two daughters. Ellen is a relative of a good friend of ours in San Diego and we were introduced about a month ago via email. Ellen offered a home cooked meal, which we were so excited for.
Ellen and her daughters were really nice and we enjoyed a nice salmon dinner together. After dinner we took a long walk to the beach to watch the sunset, which was pretty amazing. I don’t believe I will ever get sick of watching the sunset over the ocean. We found some ice cream and walked for a few miles before getting back to Ellen’s house and realizing that it was 11 pm! You don’t realize how late it is here because it stays light until well after 10 pm. We returned to our car and were back in Amsterdam before midnight. All is all, a really nice couple of days. Today I get to give my last talk of the trip to a Rotary Club here in Amsterdam. I’m looking forward to that and will surely have stories to tell tomorrow.
To a life well lived!