A cool but fine autumn day. Indian summer in Nederland. Surely it can’t last much longer. Must make the most of it. Drop everything. Get out on the bike.
A car-free road, a sunny day and a tailwind!
There’s a stiff southerly blowing, adding a wind chill factor to the 10 degree temperature. I decide to ride with it for once, heading north out of Amsterdam, without any particular destination in mind. It doesn’t matter. This is classic North Holland countryside; fields cut by drainage canals, flocks of geese and families of swans, sheep and cows grazing…and a few one-off surprises. Continue reading
The gable of the Zaandam Stadhuis (Town Hall) enters into the playful spirit of things.
Dutch architects have been hard at work in and around Amsterdam, inserting colourful humour into some very public buildings, and it’s remarkable that, in the Zaanstreek, local planning authorities have been happily going along with the joke. Continue reading
The start was only four minutes ago and already they’re a couple of kilometres down the Amstelveenseweg.
The Amsterdam Marathon is one of the city’s great sporting events.
It’s a serious race for professionals, but it’s also open to any masochist who’d like to have a crack at running 42 kilometres through the Vondelpark, under the Rijksmuseum, past the canals, out along the Amstel River and back to the finish in the Olympic Stadium.
No, of course I wasn’t running it. You kidding? I was there with the camera. Continue reading
My brother-in-law Jacob Oldenburger always claims the Dutch skies are the most beautiful in Europe. He’s cycled many a kilometre and he ought to know.
Basiliek van de H. Nicolaas and Amsterdam Centraal Station…a trick shot (see below).
You’d think sky was sky and light was light wherever you went, but on a windy autumn day as Mevrouw T and I rode over the flat landscape of Waterland, north of Amsterdam, it was the clouds that caught our attention.
I only took a few shots, then converted them to black and white and did a little experimenting… Continue reading
There are plenty of good things to do in Amsterdam, so why waste time and money on the dross?
A popular article just appeared on the web – The 12 Worst Things to Do in Paris. I’m pleased to report that I’ve only made French travel mistakes numbers 1, 3, 11 and 12 – having visited the Champs Elysees, the Mona Lisa, Gare du Nord and the Forum des Halles.
The article inspired Mevrouw T and me to consider the dozen worst things to do in the city we love, and to pass our warnings on to potential visitors. Continue reading
They’re off! Photo: Sydney Morning Herald
It’s exactly ten years since last I finished Sydney’s City to Surf race from the city centre to famous Bondi Beach. Time to do it again.
One problem – I’ll be in Amsterdam, not in Sydney, on the big day.
So I’ve had to devise a 14km virtual reality City to Surf route in a town which has no true city centre, no surf and nothing remotely like Heartbreak Hill, the steep stretch halfway along the course that causes so many hopefuls to ‘hit the wall’. Continue reading
Millions want to visit; why wouldn’t you want to live here?
According to an article on the BBC website, I’m living in the one of the best places in the world to be a foreign resident.
But on delving further into an HSBC survey comparing countries’ liveability for expats, I was disconcerted to see that while the Netherlands scored well on things like job opportunities, health services, ease of transport, culture, language (meaning widely-spoken English) and good schools for expat children, it was near the bottom of the list on various social criteria.
The country rated very low for expats in ‘making local friends’, ‘social life’ and ‘integrating into the community’. China and Germany scored much higher in these categories. Continue reading