Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Best Laid Plans

The best laid plans can often go awry…and so the story goes. I recently returned from The Netherlands where I was visiting my good friend Hieke. The last time we parted was about a year and a half ago in JFK airport. It’s always so exciting to see an old friend after an extended period of time. Once the rush of emotion had settled it was almost as though we picked up where we left our last conversation and never skipped a beat. Many of our original plans for this visit did not come to pass, but such is life. The palm tree can sustain hurricane force winds because it bends with the wind…and so too do Hieke and I when it comes to traveling.

To give a detailed account of our travels would take more time than I’m willing to invest in my humble blog….and more information than my devoted readers are willing to read. So, I will try to give you the Reader’s Digest version:

Upon my arrival in Amsterdam we took a train to her parent’s house outside the Friesen town of Leeuwarden. It was here that I finally got to meet her entire family (parents, 4 sisters and their boyfriends):

I entertained myself in Amsterdam on Monday while Hieke was at work:

We did a bit of sight seeing in Gouda and the Haag while on our way back up to Leeuwarden:

’s mother took us on a tour of Friesland….

We went to tour Castle de Haar…I forgot my camera….the tour sucked…Hieke complained and they gave us a free book.

Another day bee-bopping around Amsterdam while Hieke was at work…

The antithesis of the mini van....

A house warming party with Hieke’s closest friends…and a lot of Heineken, salami, and pickles.

Stopped of in Antwerp on our way to Gavere for a UCI CX race…

Cyclocross - Superprestige #3 Gavere, Belgium!!!!!!!
(unfortunately my camera wasn’t working so well and my photos aren’t so great)

Ode to a Belgian Cross Race

Entry tickets sold for 10 Euros.
Shuttle buses to transport the masses.
Entire families clad in warm clothes and muck boots.
Old ladies in fur coats proudly waving the flag of Flanders.
Red nosed old men vicariously living out the days of their youth.
Struggling through the crowds for a chance to join in the heckling.
Gaunt amateurs dreaming of their day to shine.
Drunken singing down the streets of Gavere.
Belgian cross racing at its finest.