May 19, 2012

Netherlands! #1

"Low Country"
A green nation crisscrossed with canals.
A flat land with 21% of its land below sea level,
and 50% of its land only three feet above sea level.

I imagined canals every 5-6 blocks while in the city,
and maybe the same distance apart in the country.
I was wrong.

Picture a canal about this width
every 2-3 blocks in any direction
in Amsterdam.

We quickly learned to
look both ways
before even entering the street.
The bike lanes were
more dangerous.
Step from your hotel;
one type of brick surface is the pedestrian walkway,
another type of paving the bike lane,
(possibly) step up and then down a curb area
and you are in the street with trams, motorcycles, cars, trucks.
Then repeat the process on the other side.

And the bikes!
Hearty; like the Dutch.
Not afraid of bright colors
Perfect postures
Speedy and precise in their movements
Wind and storm-worn
Some; with flowers woven through
-their handlebars
-their baskets
-their racks.
And those who ride:
Young or old,
well-dressed or grungy,
but all appearing
well-balanced and sure of themselves.
(Until some silly tourist steps in their path).

And then
The Museums
The Art.

In-depth descriptions of
our wonderful travel.