Monday, August 1, 2011

Netherlands 1991

Monday, April 22, 1991

KLM Flight 652
Leave Baltimore 5:40 p.m.
Arrive Amsterdam 6:45 a.m.

Tuesday, April 23

Arrived Schiphol Airport at 6:22 after a very smooth flight. As we expected, the job of assembling our bikes was the most stressful. A representative of KLM met us and made the arrangements so we could use the baggage arrival area and we were stared and ogled by many Indians, Pakistanis and airport personnel inspected the American bikes with admiration. Getting out to the vans with luggage, bikes and those huge boxes was as smooth as you could have asked, but took many trips through heavy crowds during morning rush hours. The vans are great and the trip to Abcoude with the boxes went about as expected but the weather is cold and wet. Those bicycling arrived bedraggled at 3:30 in Woubrugge – tired from jet lag and wet from the rain that leaked into their shoes. John and I with Pat and Al had van duty. We drove into Luden for lunch – very disappointing. Our hotel is adequate – like Holland Hotels it is very stark looking but immaculate with good bed linen so we are very comfortable. Dinner here in the De Weger Hotel was good – slow service. They send out for the fish when you order it so it is fresh. Outstanding B.O. on our hostess!!! Snookie lost her pants and they turned up in the lobby!

Wednesday, April 24

Perfect day – sunshine and 50 degrees. Early 8 o’clock breakfast of hard-boiled eggs, orange juice, cold cuts, toast and coffee. We headed off for what we expected to be a short ride of about 25 miles to Keukenhof Gardens. Bicycling is great! The bike paths are fabulous, but our trip turned out to be 44 miles round trip. Fortunately we had good weather and the gardens were gorgeous at their very peak of perfection. I ordered 100 yellow tulips for 78.50, which amounts to about $40 – a very good price. After arriving home at 7 o’clock we went for dinner in the town of Woubrugge to Het Oud Restaurant – right on the canal. It was fabulous. I had salmon poached – beautifully presented with a puff paste round and fabulous sauce. The veggies were served on a platter – large scoop of spinach, string carrots, cauliflower, braised celery and leeks and corn. Beautiful and delicious! Fun evening for all!

Thursday, April 25

Another sunny day – early morning brisk 40 degrees, but warming up to 55. We said goodbye to Woubrugge and the vans took our luggage. We biked 35 miles to Noordwijk Aan Zee. It was a smooth trip – almost entirely on bike trails. We had lunch at a deli after arriving sitting on the sidewalk in the sunshine. Our hotel is Golden Tulip Beach Hotel and we have a room overlooking the beach – saw a sulky on the sand – lots of horses. Many people are here for the flower parade on Saturday. Dinner was fabulous at de Lwann in Katwijk Aan Zee. I had poached Dover Sole. It was wonderful – served with baby carrots, tiny brown potatoes, onion and pepper salad. Dessert of apple pie with raisins and vanilla ice cream. Feel good tonight after little nap so we’ll be ready for tomorrow.

Friday, April 26

Breakfast at 8 was a nice surprise – cereals, scrambled eggs, sausage and bacon if you wanted it. Nice change from cold cuts and hard-boiled eggs. We were on the dune trail by ten o’clock heading toward Zandvoort and Haarlem. What an experience – the dunes are up and down peaks of sand from the shore of the North Sea inward for miles. They are covered with scrub grass and the bicycle and walk and bridle paths pass through them. We climbed for about six miles but the incline was very gradual – all the way to Zandvoort, a beach resort about 15 miles North of Noordwijch Aan Zee.

We biked another 5 miles over to Haarlem, a quaint little town. Lunch of Appepannenkoeken (Dutch pancakes). They are delicious and they make them with a choice of fillings – ham, cheese, bacon, apples, mushrooms, etc. We visited the Frans Halls museum and the St. Bavo Church, which turned out to be one of two St. Bavo churches in Haarlem. This is not the one with Mozart’s organ that he played at age 11. Frans Halls died here but was born in Antwerp. 250 of his paintings are in existence, about 15 are here in Haarlem. We loved the trip back down the dune trail – fast, mostly downhill. Relived the day as a “come as you are” cocktail party in our room. BYOB as we haven’t had time to look in a store with this fabulous biking weather. After a shower we dined with the Oakleys and Royers at a little Italian restaurant. Soup and salad was all I needed after our snack time and a relief from all the rich meals we have been having. Tomorrow is the big parade!

Saturday, April 27

Another glorious day of sunshine. Temps from 45 degrees to 55. We had a leisurely morning, as we met at the garage at 11:00 a.m. with a lunch for ourselves and something to share. I spent my morning getting lunch and wine and cookies to share. The bake shops have the best cookies I’ve ever had from a bakery. They use lots of almond paste. I bought lots of almond macaroons as John can eat them. We biked about 10 miles to Hellegon. Luckily there was a part on the parade route for our picnic. Hundreds of people lined the 25 mile route from Haarlem to Noordwijk Aan Zee. Parade terrific! Flower floats fabulous! It was a terrific day. We came home through the dunes and had our get together in Fearens’ room.  Then we went to see Glenn Millers Orchestra at the Hotel Orange next door. They were great and we finished about 11 as the bands and floats arrived here. We’re going to bed hungry as everything is closed even though the streets are still filled with people. It was a fun day and we are tired. The group gave us a Dilfz vase, as a thank you for John’s planning. The Sivighs and Caldwells leave for home tomorrow.

*Spelling needs checked on the names: Fearens, Sivighs, Royers, and Dilfz vase.

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