Today when I stole the towels off the housekeeping cart I heard the housekeeper singing. This made me smile. "Whistle while you work..."
At breakfast in the hotel lobby I noticed the "bus boy" was singing a quiet tune with an occasional drum solo on the table he was clearing.
Walking to the "lord in the attic" museum several bicyclist sped by belting out Broadway or some un recognizable Dutch song.
We visited an outdoor flea market full of vinyl, 45's, CDs And cassettes.
Oh and if you are wondering where 8 tracks went to die...its Amsterdam. I've confirmed it.
Heard some patsy cline, some loving spoonful and boy George coming from behind those kiosks...
I started thinking about people who always have a song at the ready...wanting to escape from their lips...My brother Terry is a happy song man and he's not ashamed to change the lyrics to improve a song either.
My friend Troy sang "suddenly Seymore" until "red solo cup" found its way into his musical soundtrack...a happy heart always has a soundtrack...
I was aware of the singers, the whistlers and the rewriters of lyrics today in Amsterdam...
I found myself amongst the music of joyful hearts. Feeling lucky to hear their songs...
So let's be clear. There's no "making time" for fitness in Amsterdam. Don't get me wrong. There are gyms and fitness classes but fitness is a matter of course.
There are more bikes than citizens in this City. The infrastructure makes "way" for cyclists. Bikes are not your Mommas Schwinn or your sons ultralight Bianca ..,
Everyone Bicycles here...bikes are retrofitted to meet a persons needs. Yesterday I saw a mother bicycling with this box in front of her (photo to illustrate) and two boys side by side sound a sleep with their heads knocking together with each cobblestone she hit. She was on her cell. It's a no helmet City.
Then there was the guy with 3 children attached. One on a seat similar to American bikes, one on a handle bar seat and a sweet new child slung like a bag around his belly. The child in front (age 4) was telling an animated story and the father was reminding him that they were on a bike and to calm down. Did I say it's a no helmet country?"
Unfortunately, an industrious biker had some trouble. She got caught in one of the frequent downpours... Don't ever forget your umbrella in Amsterdam. She had 3 Clear garbage bags full of washed, dried and folded laundry. Thes bags piled atop her bike in an awkward fashion...the rain came... I saw the water dripping into the clear bags...
I saw bikes with windshields and a golf umbrellas.
Biking is the #1 method of travel.
I saw a biker texting and another reading.
Today there were bikers on cell phones,smoking pot, smoking tobacco. There were bicyclists with groceries, dump run Items and pets in baskets. (Cue Totos bicycle theme song from the Wizard of Oz.
So if the bikes don't get you fit... The stairs will!
The homes are tall and skinny. The reason dates back to the begining of taxation. Homes were taxed on size of lot so you'd by small lot and build up and up.
So if you are in a first floor walk up you are doing several step classes a day.
Cycling is for your lungs and steep steps for your legs! Ya baby!
People in Amsterdam are fit as a matter of course! Get on your bike and take the stairs! Get FIT PEOPLE!
All nighters are for the young!
Awake for 24 hours and finding yourself in a different time zone and country, tired and cranky, is challenging when your on the other side of 50.
It's 9 am and our rooms not ready! Early check in is noon not nine. "But we've been up all night" my husband pleads...
It's 1 A M at home. We go out and sit at the cafe. It's a pretty day in Amsterdam. A young man next to us is smoking pot. The fragrance hangs in the air.
We are tired. Taking in the sights, sounds and smells of the City.
We get up from our table and hear "hey!"
Charles is walking up the side walk with his back pack looking all "Jack Kerouac" on world tour. Young and fit and heading to Belfast. He waited for us to arrive before moving on...
In our "up all night" zone we visited. Things move slower when your tired. Words take a little more time to reach your lips and sometimes they are frauds...words that sound similar to what you meant but completely not what you were thinking...
His world travels and enthusiasm ignites some energy. Or maybe it exhausts. On our bodies it's 1:30 A M. We have permission to be foggy.
Walked in slow mo around the city...
Until our room was available...
C r a s h e d
H a r d
"Time waits for no one." My mother would say. Truth.
I had lists. This trip was no surprise. We've known for months. Yet I was not ready to launch when we started our journey toward Logan Airport. There is always "just one more thing..."
I ran thru my list of things I didn't do as the familiar exits on route 3 passed. I didn't contact everyone I'm working with to let them know my vacation plan. I forgot to get the mail. I'm not sure I packed warm enough. I forget to "poison" the cat (flea and tick stuff").I never read the three page note my husband left for our friend whose living at our house with the Blondes. Who knows what he wrote!
Time ran out. At some point it becomes clear, the plane won't wait while you finish up you "just one more thing"...
We are sitting at Legal Seafoods Test Kitchen and I am listing my failures to my husband of the things that got away from me...he's so easily "on vacation". I take a little time to adjust.
She was vibrant. Big eyes amplified by her glasses. She smiled and brought his beer my "Anna's Cod" quickly. Mark remarked "wow, your fast!" She smiled and said..."it's the Airport, you've got to be fast,"
She is Masedonian. She is married to a Bulgarian. She is stunning. Flawless skin, high cheak bones, radiant smile and an accent that makes taking our order sound like poetry. Mark is flirting. He's funny.
She tells us about time in her world. "Legals" fills up in waves based on incoming and outgoing flights. Everyone's anxious or relieved when they sit. Some patrons are fun but most are distracted. We were fun. She tells of how time waits for no one in her business. Calamari will not make you miss your plane.
She is animated, beautiful and courteous. To us, she lights up when she stops by to check on us...anticipating another beer for him, cole slaw for me. We watch her move about the restaurant and she is not as joyful with others as with us.
The business man who never looks up and orders by pointing to the menu item while still talking on his cell. He gets a "no smile-no conversation" waitress.
The family traveling with car seats and strollers which they use to baracade their small table get the "patient gymnastic waitress" who has to serve their food while reaching over the baracade and while listening to the screaming of tired young travelers.
We get the waitress who tells us of Masedonia and Bulgaria. Why she came to this land of opportunity. How she and her husband go back home every 2 years. She speaks of multiple jobs and putting her money away... Then she's gone to deliver scallops and a Bloody Mary.
Mark says "nice kid, great work ethic." As she leaves.
She brings us more water, extra napkins and tells us of recent trip she took to New York. Her perspective of what we know NYC to be is refreshing.
And then she is gone again. A new batch of patrons flooding in and time still waits for no one.
I forget the things I didn't accomplish before we left. Vacation mode starts to kick in.
She brings us the bill and says in her sweet accent..."do not worry, they have everything you need in Ansterdam. If you've forgotten something -they have it there...now is the time to have fun."
We hug and smile and race to our gate forgetting to get international cell service, write those last few emails, change my voice mail message. Time is running out. It's not waiting for me.
Seated in our designated seats I say to Mark "she was a nice girl, did you get her name?"
"No, he said but boy did she have beautiful eyes,"
She could write a psychological thesis on travelers and time. A study on behaviors of people on their way to or from their "just one more thing".
I hear her say..."let it go, have a great Time...deal with it when you get back,they have toothpaste in Amsterdam, don't worry..."
I smile as I look out the plane window...she's wise beyond her years...
I was up until one am writing business emails, organizing, paying bills and getting ready for the great adventure to the Netherlands...suitcase still unpacked.
It's now 5am and I wake with two blonde golden retrievers in my queen size bed and an unpacked suitcase! The blondes know something's up. They've seen this pre travel angst...before!
The packing is made more challenging by the limit of a "carry on" for 2 weeks. In my world that holds socks, underwear and toiletries...
Who needs clothes?
This is a bike trip of the Netherlands...helmets, bike shorts, wicking clothes and prayers are required..
I guess a suitcase size upgrade is in my future...maybe I could fit the blondes❤️