Today I had the best of intentions to ride the bike to Haarlam. It is about 24km outside of Amsterdam, or about 15 miles, and I thought, wow, what a great experience.
It was a little drizzly when I left, but no big deal. I set out on my way on the bike I have grown to love (I will post a pic later, but it is tricked out with a nice crate basket AND a kid seat in case I want to take anyone with me). I was doing well, following the correct path, then I got to Westerpark. I followed the signs...until they stopped. I think I took a wrong turn somewhere, and ended up riding around for quite some time with no clue as to where I was supposed to be. The skies were turning dark, and I thought it'd be a good idea just to turn around and go to the train station.
I set out merrily on my way...the skies turned a little more but yet they did not open...until I was about 5 minutes out from the station, when they decided not only to open, but to cry big, nasty, non-stop tears. I arrived to the station soaking wet, with no idea where to park the bike, and unable to see because the rain had drained all the hair products into my face.
Eventually I found the place to park (they have a bike parking structure that rivals many of the car structures we have in the states), and got my ticket to Haarlam. The rain let up, and I was on my way...except, when I arrive in Haarlam, it was again pouring, and my umbrella was out the house. Oops.
The little town is pretty cool. I walked for a few minutes to the central market square and was greeted by one of the more massive churches I have ever seen. It was absolutely lovely. I was lucky that the rain subsided the entire time I was there, so I got to walk around, check out the museums and shops in relative dryness.
Upon arriving back in Amsterdam, however, the rain started again. ARGH! I did manage to get to the flowermarket, which was one place I wanted to visit.
I got back home right before Stacie Q arrived home with the kiddoes. I must say...these little ones crack me up. They are super smart and just so chatty. I was with them as they made some cookies, talking about how the raisins made the cookie dough look like boobies (such boys). We got to play for a little while before they went to bed and the babysitter came so Stacie, Tony & I could go to dinner.
Dinner...wow. One of the best meals I have eaten while traveling. We had the most delicious steak from a place called Loetje in AMS. Lots of beer, salad, and frijtes as well. But the steak...the steak! I think it was doused in lots of butter, which...delish. After that Stacie headed home and Tony & I went to a Belgium beer bar to have a few more. And, I got the pleasure of having one of the best beers ever.
Brewed by monks, this beer is available in very limited quantity. In order to buy, you have to call in your order, and then show up within a half hour of a designated time. The bottles are unmarked except for the cap. And...it is so.good.
We then headed home to watch a little more baseball. The Qs have been such awesome hosts...they make me not want to leave this place (which, doesn't help when I already feel so at home in this city)!
Tomorrow is my last day here...I am hoping to get up early enough for the Anne Frank House (it is getting close to 4am now...yikes) and to do a little shopping. Wish me luck!