The Dutch design pilgrimage (Day 2)
June 4, 2010 § 1 Comment
So we move on to Day 2 of the Dutch holiday. You can read about Day 1 here.
Day 2 in Amsterdam was not about design. It was about attempting suicide by the sheer act of being an incompetent cyclist attempting to navigate the roads of Amsterdam.
Funky bike in Amsterdam. No they don’t all look like this.
This is Mike’s Bike, where I went for the ride of my life. I have decided that I’m never riding on the road again for a long, long time to come. Especially not in Amsterdam. The main reason I’d gone was because I met some nice Aussie girls in my hostel room doing a major backpacking trip in Europe, and they were going for this tour. I wouldn’t have considered it otherwise.
Nice Aussies. Nikki and Jade.
This is Pete (I think). He was our guide for the tour and here are some of the rest of the 11 confident people who weren’t as godawful at pedaling a bicycle as I was. The guy with the striped adidas jacket I pity the most, because he was asked to be the last rider. And you know what that means with a joker like me having to ride in front of him and his wife. I apologized profusely to him at the end and while he said it was alright, his eyes totally said ‘I’m glad you realize how terrible a cyclist you are’.
I don’t have a great deal of pictures of the LOVELY Dutch landscape we cycled through because I was more focused on staying alive and not causing unnecessary accidents. Just to emphasize how bad I was on the road, 5 minutes into the tour Pete came up to me and asked me if I could cycle faster, because he needed to get back by 3pm for his next tour.
I was pretty much praying in tongues during the entire time we were riding in the city. The country-scape was alright because there wasn’t much traffic and I just had to focus on not cycling into any of the rest of the group. The city bits were awful. I had so many near misses with other bikes and cars and I got sworn at so many times in a language I (fortunately) don’t undersand.
Here’s me looking terribly relieved to have survived the first part and safely end up in the ‘countryside’.
And a group shot at a touristy windmill (that thing is really just there for touristic purposes) in the bleak and fickle Dutch weather that goes from freezing cold wind/rain to sunshine any time it wants.
Passed many lovely houses on the way, none of which I have photographic evidence of.
Okay except maybe this when we stopped briefly for Pete to talk. Then we visited a cheese factory owned by a very cheekopek man who kept targeting me.
Passing around the cheese… aka demonstrating the power of this particular cheese shredder he was selling in his touristic little shop.
Said cheekopek in question demanding a photo halfway through his presentation.
In addition to cheese he also had a clog machine to make those famous Dutch wooden clogs.
And some of the lovely cheese that I really enjoyed but wasn’t about to fork out 8 euros for. Mmm. But Dutch farmer cheese (that is only produced and sold locally) is really awesome.
Here’s my bike (green!).
And I had to take a picture with Pete who congratulated me for coming back alive and having not killed myself or anyone else with my embarrassing cycling skills by giving me.. believe it or not, a Mike’s Bike condom (why do they even have these???).
I politely told him I didn’t need it but took it as a souvenir anyway. And that pretty much summed up my second day in Amsterdam, which I finished off with a generous kebab and some Dutch snacks before heading to Rotterdam for the night.
Speaking of Dutch snacks, I really used to hate marzipan. But the Dutch sell these RIDICULOUSLY sweet marzipan bars that were epic sugar-high inducing. It was like. Chocolate covered marzipan wrapped around a squishy marshmallow center. More effective than drinking coffee, I would think. I bought it by accident from Hema (sort of like the Dutch version of Marks&Spencer, do check out their website, it’s hilarious. Try to click on stuff) when I landed in Schiphol airport. Was really hungry and the packaging looked normal enough. Orangey marzipan half dipped in chocolate looked to me like harmless chocolate covered mini bread buns. But the first bite shot right through my veins and slammed my head really hard. My pupils probably dilated the moment the marshmallow exploded in my mouth and the sensation of utter, complete, indescribable sweetness sent warning signals from my mouth right to my toes. Yes, in short, it was damn sweet can? To my own incomprehension I actually liked it. Or maybe I was really THAT hungry.
Okay. End of entry for now, more on the conference later tonight or tomorrow. I have to study now.