In My Neighborhood

Sometimes I just have to laugh. It happens to me a lot here in NL.

A colleague at work told me that I should try the jogging route around the Sloterplas. It’s a 6.2km route just to the west of the A10 ring road. It never occurred to me to run this route. But why not? It’s only a 5 minute bike ride from home! This is the surprising part – it’s so close to home but but seems so far away. Usually if I want to jog on a Sunday and the weather is nice, I’ll go to the Vondelpark. With this nice weather we’ve been having, the park is full of joggers, bikers, baby stroller walkers, skaters, dog waters, etc. etc. It’s just full of people.

This morning I jumped on my bike and headed for new territory. The really nice thing about running around Sloterplas is that it’s a paved bike path / running path and there are markings every 200m telling you how far you’ve gone. When I got to the starting point I took a couple of photos. The lake looked so big. I couldn’t imagine that I could run all the way around it.

But I DID make it all the way around and without any trouble. I also ran it faster than I’ve ever run before. I’m finding that without trying at all to increase my speed, I’m getting faster anyway. It’s just coming easier and easier. YIPPEE!

I think now that I’ve discovered just how close this park is, I’ll be going there every Sunday to run.

Yesterday we drove to Hillegom to a tile and bathroom company to see about getting stuff for our bathroom in the new house. We followed the TomTom route, which seemed to take us into the middle of no where, but was correct in the end – it WAS in the middle of no where – at least by Amsterdam standards. We drove along lovely canals and fields of flowers and through small villages. I thought “this is another drive to do with Mom in September”.

It was a very successful trip to this company and we will probably go with them to order the equipment and also to do the work on the bathroom. We still have to find out if it’s possible to do in the month of August, not earlier, not later. That should be decided in the next couple of weeks.

On the way back from Hillegom we drove north through more small towns. We drove through Cruquius, which is just south of Haarlem. What did we stumble upon? A HUGE shopping center with a Media Markt, and furniture stores, and even a big plant nursery! What a find! We didn’t stop there, but you can be sure I’ll go back there and check it out. Who would have guessed that such a place existed in Cruquius?

Now, this is the part that makes me laugh. In both cases, yesterday and today, I am reminded just how CLOSE everything is to Amsterdam, and just how SELDOM I get out of the city and go anywhere. There are so many interesting places in NL that are so close by but I just never make the effort to GO. I begin to feel very Dutch, meaning that to a Dutch person traveling 30 minutes to go shopping is just too far. Or that getting in the car to go shopping is just silly when you can go by bike into Amsterdam. But sometimes I’m reminded that everything is so close by and accessible and there’s a whole world outside Amsterdam! I gotta get out more!

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