|An Orange Excursion||
Now, the "Green Lantern" has done me well. We triumphed over weather, bumps, and one partially flat tire, but alas, all is superb. On Friday, since I have no class, I decided, "lets go for a bike ride." Its much easier to get out of "town" by going about 5 minutes south of de Pijp, in fact, you get right up alongside the Amstel and take one of the most gorgeous, relaxing rides one can take. In fact, if I ever have lots of money, time, and the opportunity, I am moving here. This wonderful guy just pops out of nowhere when you round a corner:
As you get past this house/windmill, you get nothing but green pastures, sheep, fishermen, and the delicate smell of well fed cattle. Oh and mansion upon mansion upon mansion-farm. The dijk or that thing which holds back the water (which, contrary to popular belief is not some 'wall' or brick structure, but are actually some strategically placed dirt mounds) is literally some homes front yards. There is green everywhere, literally I cannot stress this enough, and I really felt that I had biked hours and hours to get to where I was, but I was not 3km from my apartment.
I think I am truly assimilated into A'dam culture. I now frequently swear at blatant tourists, and have rung my bike's bell more this week than I ever have. For some reason, the past week was " de week van domme toeristen ." I mean, not everyone can ride a bike fairly well, but at least don't look idiotic during the process. Anyways, my homestay mom recommended to head south, and luckily, once you get on the trail, its pretty much you, the road, and tons and tons of manure. The farther one goes, the more rewards you get, and with my habit of going and going, making lefts and rights and lefts again until I am satisfactorily lost, has its benefits, a.k.a Ouderkerk.
Ouderkerk is this quaint, truly Dutch village that makes one feel like you're in Holland. Everything felt homey, and best of all, the coffee looked super cheap. The people spoke slightly different from in Amsterdam, which seems to be the generic, English-bastardized version. These people are hardcore Dutch, and let me tell you, I wouldn't mind to join them. What felt like forever to get there (mainly because I was thoroughly enjoying the ride there) took about 30mins. So after perusing the small town of Ouderkerk and crossing one bridge about 5 times deciding what to do, I journeyed West to Amstelveen.
This town is a modern, upscale, and 21st century town. Skyscrapers, paved roads, and one enormous shopping plaza. it is a very nice foil to the home city of A'dam. Schipol Airport that hub of Europe, was a short 15 or so kms away, and Haarlem was only 35km, but alas, I had dinner waiting and a very quickly coming thunderstorm the looked quite ominous. So, I found my way back quickly, still enjoying the wonderful way back, and decided that since this country is so compact, I'll have to fill up the Nalgene, pop in the Zune, pick a destination, and take some twists and turns to get there.