Goedemorgen van Amsterdam!
We’re in Amsterdam, and leaving tomorrow, but I thought I should catch up on the end of Enschede before we leave here. I’m currently at the dining room table of our flat, drinking coffee, listening to the kids waking up, looking out of the huge windows onto the Emperor’s Canal (Keizerssgracht). It’s pretty wonderful.
Full photo set for this post can be found here.
The kids and I went to the Rijksmuseum Twente which is translated, I guess, as Heritage Museum. ‘Rijk’ means rich. Twente is the region Enschede is in. There’s also a Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, which we’re planning to visit. The museum building was donated by a textile merchant, who also donated his personal art collection. All the works were by Dutch artists. I quite enjoyed it, though the kids lost patience before I did. My favourite artist was Renie Spoelstra – she does large-scale (2 – 3 m wide) charcoal drawings and I found them very absorbing.
It wasn’t that warm that day. Maybe 19 degrees in the afternoon. On the way back to the B&B, we stopped by the skate park near the train station, which has a long, flat water fountain. There were no skaters there, and our neighbours (who did the mime show a couple of nights before) showed up. The younger one’s intent was to go in the fountain, as she’d seen somebody do that a few days before. So in she went, and in all the other kids went. It looked like fun. But it was freezing!!
(Names and faces omitted for privacy)
Until some skaters showed up, and told us, mostly politely, that the kids were making the ground slippery and could they please stop. We soggily walked home, and the kids got changed and warmed up and all piled up in the room next door to watch a movie. It was nice that they all hit it off like that. It made for some fun breakfasts in the common room in the morning!
The next day was bike excursion day. The tour was run by one of the conference attendees, who is an architect and lives in Enschede, and wanted to give us a tour of some interesting local buildings and landmarks. I appreciate architecture, but don’t really know much about it. I just wanted to go biking! They provided us with rental bikes, including the kids. Unfortunately, Vorlon was too short for his, so the original plan was that Craig would just take him on his luggage rack, as we’ve seen many people do here. Another local attendee, whose name I never got, kindly offered to take Jonas with him, both because he was used to having people behind him, and because he had saddlebags, which Vorlon could straddle and which would prevent any foot-spoke interaction.
These bikes were comfy. Zebula asked me at some point what the difference was between Dutch bikes and ours at home. We’d just walked by a bike shop, and I was a little shocked at the prices (they’re not cheap). But it makes sense – these bikes aren’t built to be recreational (light, fast, etc) – they’re built to be very functional and comfortable. And they are – they’re solid and heavy, you sit upright and high up (not like on a Townie cruiser-type bikes, where you’re low enough to the ground that you can touch when you’re sitting on the seat), they come with some kind of cargo attachment (in the case of the rental bikes, there were rear racks.) and the seats are wide and have shocks. Very comfy.
The tour took us to various buildings, including a super-energy-efficient office tower (one of only five buildings in the Netherlands that meets the requirements for the highest rating), a synagogue (“the most beautiful synagogue in Western Europe”!), a Pavilion built from plastic bottles, an art dealer’s private home, some artists’ studios, and the neighbourhood where a fireworks factory explosion caused a lot of damage, and which has since rebuilt. (there are more details in the photo descriptions in the Flickr link above, if you’re so inclined). My favourite part of the tour was just the biking around. Zebula loved being helmetless. Me too, truth be told, but I had to fight hard against 30 years of conditioning. I got over it.
We wrapped up the day with dinner with a bunch of Bridges attendees, on a terrace outside. Very pleasant and quite delicious. We left the next morning and headed to Amsterdam (two trains). Next post, Amsterdam!
ETA: Fixed bad Dutch.
ETA 2: Fixed Vorlon’s secret identity