Friday, September 13, 2013

Retrospective Summer 2013 Post: July/August

Summer having begun in Amsterdam sometime while we were visiting friends and family in the States, we dived into outdoor adventures as quickly as possible.  The first weekend back, we headed to Noordwijk with our friend Tair for a day of mountain biking at the dunes.  Tair found the bikes, rattly Gary Fishers with U-Locks on the frames and the omnipresent (and legally obligatory) bicycle bells.  Tair also had the presence of mind to bring a camera, so all following photos from that adventure are to his credit.

..except this one.  This one is to the credit of a Hollander who suggested we avoid the "very technical" track. 

Surf-jumpin'... nothing better with tired legs!

After mountain biking in Scottsdale's razorblade fields, this felt comparatively pillow-soft.

I was talked out of riding down the stairs.  For the best.

Also in August:  Our friend Maaike's graduation-from-medical-school BBQ in Vondelpark:

Riding Dutchie bikes is a treat, since ours are fancy Giant hybrids.  Photo by Maaike.

Yet more adventures in August:  Our friend Suz had a birthday, and there was some canal-swimming involved, from which I excused myself, being 1) the least drunk person present, 2) aware of the garbage/bird flocks/mysterious green semi-liquids regularly seen floating in the particular section of canal designated for swimming, and 3) an experienced Drunk Swimmer In Questionable Stagnant Waters™.  In addition to scorn and skepticism, I also supplied towels and a generous supply of Ed's dry clothing to the jolly fish, once they reached our apartment, about 150 meters from the launch site.

What more, what more... oh yes!  We had guests from Zurich, Mandy (lives and works near there) and her brother Peter (student at Dartmouth).  They rented Mac Bikes and the four of us headed northwest, to one of the most iconic tourist activities that Noord Holland has to offer: Touring the windmills at Zaandse Schans.

Suckers for playgrouds, we detoured through Het Twiske and found this pipe maze.

Ed found a friend with a tennis ball.

This kid with a tennis ball found Ed.

Ultimate Frisbee players on holiday: Spreading uninhibited, youthful joy!

Ultimate Frisbee players on holiday in Holland:  Spreading consternation to Dutch parents!

Proud products of homeschooling and two of the best guests we've had... but aren't they all!

Everybody who has been to Zaandse Schans has some version of this photo.
The windmills were every kid's dream... and maybe every over-protective parent's nightmare:

No safety nets!  Steep staircases!  No protective glass!

I feel the flicker vertigo coming on...

August continues!  We checked "wodlopen" from our Dutch bucket list midway through the month, as well!  Wodlopen is a sage unto itself.  It consists of driving or taking a train to the north shore of Friesland, donning Converse hi-tops (or 8 euro knock-offs), and setting out across the mudflats of the Waddensee at 5:30 am with hundreds of other folks as crazy as you.

Goooeeede morgen, allemaal!  We all look much happier than we truly were.  Photo by Maaike.

10 km of this, more or less, with varying ratios of muck : seawater : stink. 

Lennart curses the distant shore.

Eventually... Ameland!  Beautiful, and blessedly DRY.

Looking northeast, from the east end of Ameland.

To the beach!

Mark and Suz packed the essentials.

These smiles were real.

August 31 deserves its own post, so this recap ends here.  It was a good, good summer.  Of timely note:  I turned 28 yesterday!  Ed took the day off work and we went to the zoo.


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