May 27th, 2004

Back in the States

After a week and a half overseas, I am back home in the States. It is so damn green! All the dirt (that isn't completely chewed by moles) is covered in green stuff. And it isn't really spring green anymore, either.

In theory, this weekend Roland and I are going on a three day hike to bag some peaks. In practice, I think the cold I caught on the plane ride to the Netherlands, and that has been resolving the virus part of for the past week, is turning into bronchitis. Somehow, peak bagging doesn't seem Quite The Thing. In a half hour or so I'll go talk to one of the trip leaders and see what she thinks. If I were running this thing, and listened to me talking right now, I'd say stay home girl. This probably means something.

My family in the Netherlands were welcoming to both me and Roland. We had a lovely five day stay. Mostly we toured during the day, and spent the evenings with them, but we did all go down to Noord Dierenpark in Emmen for one day together. I've never been to a zoo outside the US. It was a very nice one, particularly the Vlindertuin. Altho seeing a stekelvarker is also pretty memorable. Hard to remember when in Europe that North American animals are foreign and therefore worth having in the zoo.

We went to Ameland and cycled a bit (horrible headwind riding into Ballum in a tandem, but the Nobeltje made up for a lot). We went to Hinderlopen and looked at the pretty painted furniture in the museum and learned about the opening of the trading route to the then newly built St Petersburg. We went to Workum and looked at Jopie Huisman's work (impressive draftsman). We lunched in Harlingen. We saw the planetarium, the Stadhuis, the Korendragerhuisje and 't Coopmanshuis Museum in Franeker. Roland bought klompen with the Fries Flag on them. We drove to Bourtagne to see the restored fortress.

We also visited Aukje in her new home in Noordwolde, and visited Kampen (which was having some sort of battle of the bands) and spent a day at Het Loo.

In Amsterdam we did a combination of things I'd done before (the city historical museum, the Hortus, the Rijks -- which had one wing open, walked around De Wallen) and new things, notably we had Rijstafel at a really good place on Overtoom. We also walked around the Willet-Holthuysen house, and went down to Vondelpark.

And of course, while driving around, we saw endless cows, horses, sheep and windmills both old and new.

Fun trip. I think the next visit will be in the fall of 2005. We're talking about just a few days in the Netherlands next time, and spending time touring France.
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