1988 Europe Bicycle Trip – Part 5

…continued from 1988 Europe Bicycle Trip – Part 4

[Saturday] 8/27/88—Yesterday morning we slept in pretty late. The two days of biking had us pretty tired, especially with that brutal headwind we had to contend with the second day. I woke up about 7 AM with a headache (a little too much beer last night), took some aspirin, and slept for a couple more hours. Breakfast was similar to the one in Gorinchem, it must be the standard fare in Dutch hotels [der!]. Then we stopped in a little cafe for cappucino, my first experience with it. It was good but I would just as soon have regular coffee in the morning. We spent the rest of the morning in the Rijksmuseum. The building is huge and highly ornate. It is packed with art work. The largest part of it deals with 14th to 17th century Dutch painters and has many pieces by such notables as Rembrandt van Rijn and Jan Steen. I took pictures of some of the paintings but for the most part, light was insufficient for the speed film I had. In the early afternoon we kind of did a cursory walk through the rest of the museum (mostly furniture, pottery, etc.). By this time I felt rather poorly. The hangover headache had given way to a hunger headache, my legs ached, partially from not recovering from the cycling, partly from all the standing in the museum. We went to a nearby shopping area for lunch. The dutch seem to love eggs & pancakes for lunch. I ordered an open faced sandwich with roast beef and eggs. I also had mushroom soup which was great. Then we went back to the museums, this time the Rijksmusuem Vincent Van Gogh. I really enjoyed it, it was something to see the actual paintings of so many pieces I’d seen pictures of before. The rest of the day we just hung out at the Leidseplein & Rembrant Square drinking beer and watching all the pretty ladies. Bill had eaten at a Thai restaurant here before so we went there for dinner. I had cuttlefish fried in garlic and pepper on rice. It was interesting but not incredible.

Today, the weather was back to typical Holland, cloudy, drizzly although it was not too cool and by late afternoon was actually a rather nice day, most of the clouds dissapated. We spent the whole day just walking along all the canals through the old part of the city. Saw, but didn’t go in, the houses of Rembrant and Anne Frank. I kind of had had my fill of Amsterdam by now, it was Saturday so it was really crowded with tourists and it just seemed to have a circus atmosphere. We didn’t eat lunch until 4 PM because we kept passing up all the tourist traps. We ended up going back to where we had lunch yesterday. I had a humongous ham & cheese omelette, delicious. Because of that and because we ate so late, we skipped a formal dinner and just kind of snacked our way through the evening. Tomorrow we separate, he goes back to Brussells, I start heading for Cologne, West Germany.

[Monday] 8/29/88—Bill & I said our goodbyes yesterday morning. It was Sunday, the last day of his vacation and the beginning of my second week. I was kind of ready to get out on my own by now. Bill & I had different ideas on what we wanted out of this trip, he was not at all interested in the bike trip, viewing it more as an obstacle to overcome as soon as possible in order to get to the “big city” where we would stay in modest but not cheap hotels and have full course meals everyday. I on the other hand saw the cycling as the whole point of the trip [the first clue that I would later in life adopt a true cyclist’s lifestyle], prefering to take my time riding through the countryside, enjoying the landscape, and spending some time in the smaller cities that I passed through. Since my funds were limited, I wanted to stay in the least expensive hotels possible and not spend all my money in the restaurants. Bill’s ideas kind of assumed control of the first week, and I preferred to be diplomatic rather than press the issue. But now I’m on my own and I can do this second week the way I want to. While Bill headed for the train station, I headed out on my bicycle.

To be continued…

Copyright © Ted C. MacRae 1988,  2013

About Ted C. MacRae

Ted C. MacRae is a research entomologist by vocation and beetle taxonomist by avocation. Areas of expertise in the latter include worldwide jewel beetles (Buprestidae) and North American longhorned beetles (Cerambycidae). More recent work has focused on North American tiger beetles (Cicindelidae) and their distribution, ecology, and conservation.
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