Sunday, July 6, 2008

I did iit!! I diiid it!! I did it !!

It was my dream to be able to cycle from one city to another. In Denmark, there were people cycling from Copenhagen to Lyngby everyday. Here, Maikel was cycling between Zaandam and Amsterdam when he was living there.

I think it all started when I heard from Alfonso that he had cycled to Haarlem. Haarlem is almost the closest city to Amsterdam. "I should also do it" I had said to myself at that time. However, considering that the longest path I cycled was about 6-7 km, I did not know if I would manage it.

Then, first I cycled to Maikel's place with Alfonso: about 8-9 km one way. Later on, two weeks ago, I cycled between the parks in Amsterdam; from Flevopark to Vondelpark to Rembrandpark for bird watching. I cycled back home, then cycled to Oranjekerk behind the Sarphatistraat, then cycled through Oosterpark on the way back. I guess I made more than 10 km in that day.

Then, being more self-confident, I made my questions to Maikel more frequent: "When are we cycling to Haarlem?" "When are we cycyling to Haarlem?" ...

Andy, we did it yesterday.

How to get there
We met at UvA, and cycled to the central station. Then, cycling to west Amsterdam; we passed through Haarlemmerstraat, Haarlemmerdijk, Haarlemmerplein, and then Haarlemmerweg. Haarlemmerweg is a very long street, and you find Westerpark at your right. By the way, Haarlemmerstraat and Haarlemmerdijk are very nice and cosy shopping streets, with a bit difficutly in cycling.

We gave a 10-min break on the half way. Funnily enough, there is a small city located between Amsterdam and Haarlem. It is called Halfweg since it is on the half way.

We were veeerrry happy to see Haarlem sign. It was just after we passed Schiphol and saw three storks on the sky. I always thought that "storks bringing babies through chimney" was a turkish story. But even Maikel knew it! I checked from Wikipedia later on; and it seems that the story has been originated from Netherlands and Germany!

Anyway, I took the following picture in front of Haarlem sign.

It took about 1 hours 45 min. to get to the central square in Haarlem from UvA. We sat in a place in front of the big church, and watched people.
I drank coke, and maikel preferred biting-weed tea. (Nettle in english, Brandnetel in dutch.)
Then we walked through the streets and made window shopping. Maikel told me him hearing that Haarlem was the best shopping city of Netherlands. Indeed, Although the city was not that big, the shopping streets were very long.

Then it started to rain, and we decided to cycle back. Although I had a raincoat, I decided to not to wear it to more resemble an average dutch cyclist. Well, I would be more close to a dutch cyclist if I holded an umbrella in my hand while cycling, but I was not that brave.

Jewish Cemetery
There is a jewish cemetery very close to Haarlem. Especially the years on the grave stones were interesting. The deceased Sara Mok, for example, died in 9 August (25 Menaghem) 5686.

"Daddy" pushes me
On the way back, I started to cycle really slow after a while. Then, "daddy" Maikel started to push me for 1-2 minutes with his right hand, while still cycling with left hand. It helped incredibly!!

I always saw parents pushing their kids while cycling; but never imagined that it would help that much!. It helped so much that I have regained my normal speed after pushings.

We saw moorhens on the way on a small stream. Maikel said that it was the first time that he saw moorhens. Very surprising. But not more surprising than the fact that he had never been in Haarlem before.

This is the moorhen photo I took while I was bird-watching two weeks ago in Rembrandpark.
The honoring speech
We stopped under a tree near Weesperplein so that Maikel would start his honoring speech. He said "Now you are officially entitled to be a dutch cyclist. Now you are really dutch. Not every foreigner can cycle from one city to the other. You must be given a diploma." It was nice to hear in the rainy weather. He said that we probably made more than 40 km in both ways.

Johan's bored bike
So, Johan's bike will not feel bored anymore. I will tell Johan that I really take care of his bike, and I even took it to an excursion to Haarlem.

1 comment:

Sara said...

Well, congratulations!

This was hilarious:
"Although I had a raincoat, I decided to not to wear it to more resemble an average dutch cyclist",
along with the honoring speech thing!

I'm a bit jealous, I think I'll do this some day ...

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