Saturday, November 3, 2007

The Netherlands and time to go...

tom ready to ride Bike trails and lights

Wind turbines along roadside
Ms.Nancy does the internet at home.

Well folks, it's hard to believe that we're only a few kilometers away and a couple of days until we board US Airways for Phoenix. It certainly has been a wonderful gift to travel as we have. Our last major road days took us from along the Rhine in Bingen on to Koln (Cologne) Germany and then to here near the North Sea at Delft. Our itinerary was decided primarily because of availability of campgrounds, as most are closed this time of year. The weather is damp and much warmer than we'd expected, positively balmy in the high 50's with a bit of blue above the clouds/fog. Our current campground is in a nature park 200 yards from a major freeway at the edge of the city of Delft, near the Hague, and home of the painter Vermeer and the famous blue Delft ceramics. It is also only the second campground in our entire trip that has unlimited & free WiFi internet connection available in our camping spot! Nancy has been busy catching up on the news and like, while Tom took advantage of the bicycle rentals, the flat terrain and the incredibly extensive biking roadways in the area. He spent the day riding in the mist all over town, discovering solar PV installations, wind turbines, a nature center, the old central Markt Plaza with cafes and lots of souvenir shops with Delft pottery, windmills and wooden shoes. All around are canals, small cars, people biking and walking. In front of our campground, cows are grazing in lush green grass with no fencing within site of high rise apartments and the freeway...the land is reclaimed and surrounded by small canals so no fences are needed. One common theme throughout our European travels has been how close agriculture is to daily life here. Cities and towns are clearly defined, bordered by agricultural fields right up to the edge. Houses and lots are smaller here, apartments more plentiful, afterall, land is at a premium and populations large. There is an intense pride in the quality of the food and it's nearness to the consumers. Daily markets are common throughout Europe, not just the Netherlands or France. The custom of small, close together homes may date back to medieval Europe and the era of walled cities. But its implications for living, food production and consumer patterns (how much stuff can you stuff into a small living space...and no off site storage units) is profound.

Nancy says it's time to go...we're traveling to Amsterdam today to return the van and enjoy the last of our European adventure. A museum, a meal and a cafe or 2 await. Nancy says we need to return to the Red Light district as well, to see if her favorite zaftig brunette is still pulling in more customers than the slim blonde next door...(I suspect the interest may have something to do with zaftig vs. slim) Unsure whether we'll have an internet connection before departure so I'll send this along now. Hopefully our next communication will be from the Phoenix area, land of sunshine and warmth. It's goodby to the cool, damp and cloudy for awhile, but it's still amazing that we're at 52N latitude and it's this mild at this time of year. Maybe the Europeans have reason to worry if part of the changing global climate includes cessation or modification of the Gulf Stream. They appear to take renewable alternatives in energy, efficiency and carbon reduction more seriously here, perhaps because they are more likely to suffer adversely from the projected changes. All in all, it's been a wonderful opportunity to observe and learn, enjoy and wonder at the predominant cultural influence this place has and has had on the US, ourselves and the world.

Happy trails from the Netherlands...ciao for now, tom and nancy


Anonymous said...

It was great to follow your trip at this blog.

Eternity said...

Great work.