Sunday, April 29, 2007

The scenery

We couldn't have gone at a more perfect time. The tulip fields were all in bloom, the skies were clear (blue mostly, but hazy sometimes), and we only had a tiny bit of rain once, in an early evening. Tulip fields were ubiquitous, as were windmills, new (frequent) and old (relatively rare). And fields of sheep and cows everywhere, in green lush fields of grass surrounded by canals. The Dutch landscape (at least as much as we saw of it, primarily in the north) is flat and verdant -- at this time of year, anyway -- carpeted with green grass and laced with canals.

Anna fell in love with sheep:

In a brilliant use of their natural resource, these new
windmills are everywhere -- and really beautiful, too.

Not as common as the new windmills, you can still spot
the old ones now and then. I always thought of Don Quixote.

Anna and Marnie both took this shot -- they loved the yellow
wheels in the tractor echoing the yellow tulips.
Red tulips along a canal
Pink and white
Loads of color
Deep orange

We never tired of seeing the stripes of color in the fields; I wonder if the Dutch people see them, or if they're just there every year, and no longer anything of note.

In a flat landscape, laced with bike paths, biking is so much fun. Even though none of us were all that good at riding bikes (let's say it's been awhile for most of us), we had so much fun. Two separate days we went out for a couple of hours on our rented bikes:

Here's why it's so easy and such fun to bike in the Netherlands -- flat flat flat!

We're off, starting at the harbor in Enkhuisen. My little secret:
I sang "Doe a deer" from Sound of Music as I pedaled, or
"The Happy Wanderer", out loud but to myself. It made me giggle.
The point was the journey, not the destination, so we stopped
whenever we wanted, for whatever reason. The girls:
and the boy.

Since we had a rental car, we also drove into the countryside to see the landscape off the highways. Marnie spent part of this day in Amsterdam alone, sketching, so it was just three of us. We also wanted to see if we could get into a tulip field, which we did:

The Netherlands really is a beautiful country, even if you just focus on the landscape. It's a particular landscape, flat and windy, unique and memorable.

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