Monday, August 16, 2010

Riding About It

Oh hello everyone, I am (finally) here to show you images from my bike ride from Amsterdam to Antwerp. Ok so there are a few things I should mention. I know it is a SUPER late update but this was impossible to avoid. For one, I lost my backpack (promise this story is coming) and inside it was my journal which had detailed documentation of my trip and now I must rely entirely on memory but now the issue I am facing is that as time continues forward, the less accurate my memories become. Secondly, I have been so insanely busy taking care of personal matters that it has left little time to update my blog. Also please check out my new goal, I am ready to repeat this trip and take myself a little further...ok, a lot further than last time.

On the bright side, I got a lot of great shots but I am selfish and I think I will only share a few. I am thinking that I might link up my blog with some sort of photo viewing site so that I can share more pictures (uploading pictures here is a little annoying) and then you can make comments on singular images. Any suggestions of what I can use? In the past I used photobucket but I don't know if there is something out there that is better.

So without any further hold ups, here are my most beloved images with captions:

Day 1: Commencing the journey
Obviously, since I am in another country there are different types of warning signs for cars, pedestrians, and bikes. Now in retrospect, I really wish I had taken the time to photograph each one that I liked but unfortunately I didn't. Between you and me, I really hate looking like such a tourist photographing everything I see! Anyway, the sign that you see on the left is one of my favorites because the man is wearing a hat. I mean, how cute is that? A figure in a sign wearing a hat?! Makes me think of Magritte's Son of Man. At the time that I saw this sign I had no idea what the top part of the sign said until I used my magical language powers to decipher it (ok, ok it was google translator) it reads, "No Admittance". I am not sure if they are talking about people or cars but in any case. I walked on the pathway, innocently, to look at the house that had been converted from an old castle (image #2).

Cool, huh? Cooler still is that it had it's own personal draw bridge not because of a moat but due to the fact that a canal ran behind it and boats have to be able to pass through (image #3). The man in the image is bridge keeper, meaning he had to lift the bridge each time that a boat was trying to get by, the boat pays him €2, and they are able to pass. This man was the first experience I had with a Dutch person that did not speak English. And from what I learned, many people in the countryside don't necessarily speak English unlike the Amsterdamers (as they call themselves). 

These were the first images that I took outside of Amsterdam and I have to admit that the Dutch landscape is quaint and tranquil, just as I always imagined it being. There were plenty of windmills and dairy cows...and endless farm landscapes. For being such a small country it does have a lot of open spaces.

A little bit about American History, New York before being New York was actually New Amsterdam. Why you may ask? Well, the answer is very simple, during the colonization of the United States the Dutch actually had colonies in the present-day New York area. In fact, much of the area stretching from present day New York to Rhode Island was under Dutch control and was initially called New Netherland (Nieuw Nederland in Dutch). Therefore some names in this area, take for instance Harlem, are carbon copy names from Dutch cities that already existed at the time--Harlem was once upon a time spelled Haarlem, until the English took control of the area. Anyway, the following images were taken in an abandon warehouse in Breukelen, pronounced like Brooklyn (Get it? It was Dutch too). I just really like this location...I love the look and feeling of abandonment because in truth, what appears to be abandoned is never truly ignored. Mariana Philosophy 101.

Day 2: Exiting Holland and entering Belgium
As much as I would love to remember the name of this little town, I don't know it. In fact, even if I looked on a map, I probably could not remember the name. Sadly, this is some of the information that I lost along with my journal (don't worry like I said this comes in a later posting). At least I have some images to remember the location.

Don't you just love the bike road? I am in love with Holland's bike roads. 

Near the border with Belgium, there were many strawberry farms near the bike road. I could smell the strong scent of strawberries as I rode along. This was far too tempting and what better reward after riding for many hours than to enjoy the sweet little perfections sold at this particular location, if I am not mistaken is somewhere between Rijsbergen and Zundert.
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Anyway, look at the beautiful and perfect little strawberries below that were super cheap (only €2) for a large basket. I had bought a jar of jam but when I arrived into Antwerp, I broke the jar. Sad face. I was going to bring this jar with me back home remember these strawberries and possibly share with my family but I didn't even get to keep it in my possession for a day and I think the most I tasted of it was a tablespoon because I could not bare to throw the whole jar away without trying a little bit.

Crossing the Belgium border...

Day 3: Arriving in Antwerp

We all know how much I love graffiti.

Statue of Barbo in Grote Markt

This is the lovely Ellenita, my sweet friend and penpal. She is the one I am referring to in my past blog Thoughts on a Flight Black version 2.0. This girl is rockin' fun and probably one of the sweetest persons one could ever meet! I miss her so much and I can't wait until she comes to visit me in California. Ellenita, I know you are reading this...see I put this in a blog so now everyone knows you will be here so you better come!!

And so these are the images I have to share of bike trip from Amsterdam to Antwerp (which by the way is spelled Antwerpen in Vlaams aka Flemish in English). I have a gazillion images on my hard drive but if I posted all of them, it would take me hours of storytelling and editing. If I told you how long I have been working on this blog, you wouldn't even believe it and I know it doesn't seem like much. In any case, my time in Belgium was much too short and I am determined to visit again and see more of it. I hear that Gent (Ghent) is amazing and I want to go to Bruxelles (Brussels) to visit the Magritte Museum, and more importantly, I want to see my friend Ellenita again in her element. Maybe by then I will be speaking the secret language Dutch, although you should know that the people of northern Belgium speak Flemish not Dutch as I have been kindly told. Amai!

So what images are in store for us next? Amsterdam and the World Cup Finals. Until next time!

I need to travel!