Only Planet

One Child, One Year, One Planet. A family of three traveling around the world...

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Friday, April 14, 2006

(h)Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Baby it’s cold outside…

Dylan’s motivation for the trip is kind of lagging right now. She’s homesick and almost every sentence she speaks these days begins with “When we get to Portland...” So in order to get her kind of excited to get to our present city, Amsterdam, I started calling it (h)Amsterdam, since she loves all small fluffy rodents and the thought of tiny hamsters running around the street would rally her enough to get on the plane.

Well, you can imagine her disappointment when there were no hamsters or rats to be found.

“Where are those damn hamsters?” she’s asked, but she’s discovered other charms that the city holds. The canals, the tall slim houses that tilt at exciting angles,

the varied cusines, and the huge number of people bicycling make this one of the most livable, accessible, fun and (dare we say) charming of all the cities we’ve visited.

It’s the first place where we can imagine ourselves living, but only if we have a house on a canal and a bicycle decorated with plastic flowers!

It’s freezing cold here, and we’re thinking of writing a book entitled Around the World in a Foul Mood, only because it seems that we are having the bad luck of hitting extreme weather wherever we go.

“Is Paris always this miserable in March?” I asked our hosts after 20 out of 23 days of freezing rain. “Does it always snow three inches in April?” I asked the nice barista in Zurich.

The snow in Bern, Switzerland

“Is it always freezing cold in Amsterdam?” we ask our host, a Filipino who had a previous career as a Diana Ross impersonator. No, never they say. It’s an unusual year they add, staring up at the sky. The calendar says mid-April but the temperature says “Oh the weather outside is frightful…” Sure the weather might not mean much when you’re headed to the office every day, but when your “job” is to walk around, getting a feel for the heartbeat of the city, it can put a damper on the best laid plans. Our only hope is that we are not still wearing our scarves and gloves in late May when we enter Norway and the Czech Republic. Hope springs eternal, with the key word being “spring” over here on the Continent.


Blogger Kami said...

Hey guys, it's Kami-- I'm so glad I found your blog! What an adventure!

Just wanted to say hello and hope the weather improves for you . . .

April 14, 2006 8:36 AM  
Anonymous K.B. Brown said...

Andrew and I LOVE Amsterdam and in our experience there are plenty of rats around! We were there in September 2001 (on 9/11 in fact), looking for a place to stay with my cousin that upcoming New Years. We found a terrific apartment on the Amstel near Waterlooplein. We met a French family who had stayed there for a week and were just leaving. They told us it was wonderful "except for the rats at night." Then we noticed no fewer than four rat traps scattered around, including one in the kitchen. And then we actually saw a HUGE rat run across the living room. As I am a bit rat-phobic, we did not rent the place. Also, the houseboats along the Amstel seemed to be crawling with rats that time of year. Maybe it's too cold for them now! Love, KB

April 14, 2006 10:01 AM  

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