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No. 200-204: Stroopwafles, Canals, Tulips, Friets with Mayo & Bucket Lists

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I’m going to be a bit cheeky again and add Amsterdam to the list of the things I love about France.

I know the Netherlands is not part of France. I know French isn’t the native tongue (although some residents speak French, along with two or three other languages), and I know I should be spending my last few months in France rather than dipping in and out of other countries. But with the high-speed train network crisscrossing France and the rest of Europe, it’s hard not to take advantage of extremely cheap rail tickets and take a peek at how the non-French live.

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After four lively days in Amsterdam and the surrounding areas, I have to say, I’m pretty jazzed about the Dutch and how they run their capital city. First of all, they are so organized, efficient, and clean. Second, they all ride bikes all the time and everywhere. (In fact, there are more bikes in Amsterdam than residents.)

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Third, they speak American English. Fourth, stroopwafels hot off the griddle oozing caramel and dipped in chocolate are to die for. Fourth, their canal system and ability to make land where there was only water is remarkable.

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Fifth, friets, or “French” fries smothered in Dutch mayonnaise, just may make a heart attack worth having.

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But the real reason to travel to Amsterdam in the springtime is the tulips…those flat and insanely brilliant fields of tulips, that seem to go on and on for miles, or kilometers, I suppose. Seeing and smelling these fields of colorful perennials has been on my bucket list since I was a shy 10-year-old girl dreaming about my future beyond the Wild West. I drew the Netherlands from a hat for my fourth grade term paper, “Countries of the World”, and since the moment I discovered the tulip fields in LIFE Magazine in 1974, I have been itching to go.

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And now I’ve been, and seen, and smelled, and it was glorious. So I have another thing to love about France. Life in Paris gave me my jumping off point to realize one of my first childhood desires and see it first hand, just as I planned nearly 40 years ago.

 

 

12 Comments Post a comment
  1. Melissa #

    Oh no, now I have another place to visit on my own bucket list. Beautiful photos!

    April 11, 2014
  2. Lovely and great that you fulfilled a childhood dream – bravo!

    April 11, 2014
    • Thanks. It’s funny how pictures and “exotic” information learned as a child can stick with you your whole life. 🙂

      April 13, 2014
      • Absolutely – which can then become a passion to fulfill

        April 14, 2014
  3. Lovely. You were luckier than us with the tulips…we went last year but the tulips were about 3 weeks late so we missed them…(Suzanne)

    April 11, 2014
    • Quel dommage. We were extremely lucky this year as everything was 2-3 weeks early. Nature is fickle. Will you try again next year?

      April 13, 2014
      • We hope so. We have dear friends in and around Amsterdam and we have promised that we will go see them one more time before going back to Canada in May 2015. Crossing fingers that next year the seasons will be normal…

        April 13, 2014
  4. Sarah Larson #

    Gorgeous photos….love the wooden shoes with the planted pansies, and the waffles and frites are mouth-watering. I was in Amsterdam many years ago, and your post brings back pleasant memories!

    April 12, 2014
    • So very gorgeous. The last time I was in Amsterdam was when I was a student in Regensburg, Germany and we traveled there for reasons other than smelling the tulips. This was a much better experience…sans “space cakes”!

      April 13, 2014
  5. I’m Dutch and love to read what others think of our country. Our teacher will be sad to hear that you think we speak American English, because we are supposed to learn British English but with the enormity of films and TV coming from America, they have set an unattainable goal. Also I think you overestimate the ability of most speaking French, because although it is true that it is taught in schools* not many are proficient in French.
    *And you have to take into account that we have different levels of high school, and it is only taught in the highest two, which already exclude about 60% of the population. And even for those that get French it’s only for two years and then you can chose to drop the subject. Also we have to learn English, French and German at the same time, which severely decreases the speed with which you pick up the language.

    Anyway I enjoyed reading your blog, so thank you!

    April 16, 2014
    • Hi there. Thanks so much for the comment, reading my blog and the information on how languages are taught in the Netherlands. Three languages at once, quelle horreur! I’m struggling learning one at a time!

      Of course, I am only basing my observations on the Dutch people we stayed with and those we interacted with in shops and tours. Our propriétaire spoke brilliant English, German and French. We did both notice the more neutral American English everywhere though, which is easier for us Yanks to understand than British English. We were wondering about the French flags that were flying at some stores and tourists shops, our quick conclusion was that French was spoken there. Would that be right? Thanks again for stopping by.

      April 16, 2014

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