Friday, July 6, 2007

I have arrived.

Today, Friday, was the first full day being here in the Netherlands with Petra. I love it so far. Yesterday was pretty full of travel and just getting adjusted to the time change. Today, although the weather has been miserable, I have had a lot of fun. I volunteered to go into town alone to do an errand and get a rented bicycle to use during my time here. That was fun. I stopped into a couple different shops and talked with the people there. They were so nice and helpful.

Being a typical man, after I got the bicycle I decided I knew another way back to Petra's house, other than the directions she gave me. Well after riding around in circles for about 1/2 hour for a ride that should be about 5 minutes, I decided to ask someone on the steet for directions. She was so nice that she went inside to get a map of the streets to show me. Petra got a pretty good laugh out of that.

After we walked the dogs in the early afternoon we rode our bikes into town to go to the grocery store and buy some wine. As Petra said to me on the way home....I got a good taste of riding a bike in the Netherlands in typical Dutch weather. It was absolutely miserable. Hard rain, wind, cold temperatures for this time of year. Although I would be sick of that weather pretty quick, I have to say, I really enjoyed the experience. It was great to see people using bicycles to go about their everyday activities. I am simply amazed at how good they are at using a bike. I could not believe that Petra rode through traffic in miserable wind and rain with the amount of groceries we bought and carried home totally on her bike. I think she was afraid I may not be used to the balancing act you have to do to stay upright. I won't go into details of what all she had packed on her bike but I will say we had a case of wine to go with the food items. LOL

There is one thing that is very nice that I have noticed so far. Something that used to be very common in the states but is hard to find anymore. The villages all seem to have a very vibrant and active shopping area in the center of the town. Petra and I walked all through the shops and cafes that are in the center of the village Roden. It was great to see people downtown shopping and not all at some huge mall or megacomplex on the outside of town.

The Netherlands is known for many things, one of the most famous is good cheese. Petra took me into a cheese shop and after several purchases later and Petra telling more, LOL, we moved on to other spots in the village. I couldn't help it. The person let me sample several Dutch cheeses that I would have a hard time getting in the states and I just had to bring some of each back with us. I hope we ride the bike a lot so I don't gain a ton f weight after sampling all of the news foods.

I can't wait for all the other things we do. We have things planned but we also have time that nothing is planned but normal everyday life. I like it both ways. One thing is for sure. Speaking for myself, what I had hoped and what I felt it would be like getting together has been all of that and much much more.

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