20 Years From Now...

"20 YEARS FROM NOW," Mark Twain said, “you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than the ones you did.”THIS online journal is dedicated to our next 20 years!

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Lisse to Amsterdam

When we decided to visit Keukenhof Gardens we wanted to stay as close as possible (preferably within walking distance) and as luck would have it we found the perfect one-bedroom flat via Airbnb

The exterior of the building has a definite factory-like air and our Airbnb host explained it was once used to dry tulip bulbs before it was transformed into a gorgeous apartment complex.

A row of newer semi and detached homes are located next door.

The glass ceiling offers lots of natural light on this three-storey building.

The town of Lisse dates back more than ten centuries and today is a quaint community of immaculate homes and impressive gardens.

These trees encouraged to grow like fence rails were everywhere in Lisse and show the skill of gardeners far beyond my black thumb ways!

We would have loved to see these trees with leaves rather than just buds.

Some residents put as much emphasis on the items displayed outside their home as the gardens. Did you spot the wooden shoe?

Low maintenance yet formal elegance.

A bicycle for every member of the family. 

Speaking of bicycles, they are as abundant as cars in the Netherlands and this next photo illustrates how pedestrians, cyclists and drivers share the road. The sidewalk is closest to the houses. Next, the red brick lane, is for bicycles and separated from the asphalt roadway by a median. It took me awhile to remember to be on the lookout for bicycles when crossing the street and on more than one occasion I narrowly avoided a mishap.

It wasn't only the tulips that were in bloom during our stay in Lisse.

We were in the Netherlands on Kings Day. This national holiday we were told translates into wearing orange and drinking beer! Flags were flying everywhere in celebration.

We walked into the downtown part of Lisse before noon which explains why neither the restaurant below nor the streets were busy.

But we did spot a few people wearing orange.

This lovely little building is a yarn and fabric shop and it was a good thing it was closed because I cannot walk past these establishments without wandering inside and getting some much needed touch-therapy. (Squeezing the balls of yarn!)

Lovely wall quilt
Another highlight of Kings Day is the gigantic yard sale that stretches an entire block.

Not far from the main square we spotted this church and to our surprise it was open.

And empty!

On our final full day in the Netherlands we travelled into Amsterdam. Getting there via public transportation is quite easy. First a bus to Schipol Airport, then the train into the hub of things.

Centraal Train Station
Because our time was limited we opted to do the Hop on Hop off Canal Cruise

Narrow, crooked houses.

Warehouses now luxury apartments.

The cruise offered us a good insight into the city as well as a convenient stop near the Rijksmuseum.

We debated whether or not we should venture inside because we knew the 90-minutes we'd allotted to view the museum proper would zip by in a blink of an eye. Still, we decided to give it a go, but only after we fortified ourselves with a delicious lunch at the cafe that is directly above the gift shop. 

The highlights inside the Rijksmuseum were Rembrandt's Night Watch...an impressive 3.63 metres X 4.37 metres (11.9 feet X 14.3 feet)

...and Van Gogh's self portrait a mere 42 cm X 34 cm (16.5 inches X 13 inches).

But the overall winners who impressed us the most in Amsterdam were these street musicians playing just outside the Rijksmuseum entrance. 

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