Brooklyn Bounty

I’m just back from a weekend in Brooklyn visiting my daughter.  I left Denver in a snowstorm and found myself in a green, fresh spring Brooklyn.  Who knew that I could feel more nature in Brooklyn than in Colorado?

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As I walked around the neighborhood I noticed lots of color in the form of petunias in pots, pansies in window boxes, tulips and daffodils in clusters around the base of trees.  The trees were all in bloom with big tulip shaped flowers and some of the smaller blossoms fell like snow in the breeze.  The air was crisp and the streets lively with people, babies and dogs enjoying the promise of spring.

 

We wandered through the Brooklyn flea (best flea market ever).  We enjoyed a huge donut from the local bakery “Dough” and bought an odd collection of stuff.  You can buy just about anything at the flea.  Good selection of second hand stuff and local artisans.   I came home with quite a few treasures, of which my cobbler form for a man’s shoe is my most favorite.

Brooklyn yarn

We had breakfast at the Clinton Hill Café, and dinner at the General Greene.  Dinner was just an excuse to get to the best part of the meal, which is their salted caramel ice cream sundae – complete with cake and salted pretzels.

Pratt trees

 

The more we walked around, the more I had a sense of community.  I felt I had become a part of something.  On this spring morning, no one was pushing and hustling.  No one wanted or needed to be somewhere else.  Everyone wanted to be there, in Brooklyn on this beautiful warm spring Saturday morning.  It was a real treat to see this side of Brooklyn.

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Bikes and Windmills……only in Holland

We stopped and investigated many 18th century windmills along our ride.  Many of them are still occupied by families and still function as mills.  One especially memorable view from my bike was when you could see the windmillsmassive modern day windmills used for energy production today in the background and in the foreground a cluster of 18th century windmills that literally made the country through draining the lowlands of water and abating the flood waters.  You can’t help but be awed by the contrast.

windmill angleWindmills in field

Chasing Windmills, Tulips and Cheese

 

 

We turned a 90-degree angle inland, leaving behind the strong headwind and moon-like dunes along the North Sea and descended a hill.  I wasn’t in the lead of the group so I heard the reaction before I saw it.  In front of us were fields upon fields of colorful blooming tulips – reds, purples, whites, and yellows.  The color and sheer volume was breathtaking.  We immediately jumped off our bikes and ran to the closest field of ruby red.  We felt like kids in a candy store.  The color and scent was completely engulfing us and we revealed in it.

 

This was the fourth day of our bike trip through Holland (or The Netherlands) and it was like riding your bike through a Monet painting.

 

I planned a trip for myself, my husband and 2 other couples.  I planned it to include  what I consider the highlights of Holland – windmills, tulips and cheese!   What I discovered in the process is that Holland has far more to offer and on a bike we were able to experience it up close.

 

Perched on my bike seat, I marvel at the industry of the Dutch people.  They wrestled the land from the sea, they experienced one of the most prosperous golden ages in the 17th century through colonial rule, they provided a culture for expansion of the arts with master painters producing some of the world’s most beloved masterpieces and they elevated the humble tulip to represent the worlds first speculative economic boom.  Today they represent a well-educated populace, a tolerant culture and great hosts to visiting tourists.

 

The proximity to water (everywhere) makes it very easy to sustain a variety of birdlife.  It was magical to whiz by swans roosting on enormous nests with big beautiful eggs or startling a pheasant in the underbrush.   Osprey and herons majestically perch on random logs in the canals and eye you with distain as you ride by.  I am not a birdwatcher, but I could be converted with such variety and abundance.

 

We stopped and investigated many 18th century windmills along our ride.  Many of them are still occupied by families and still function as mills.  One especially memorable view from my bike was when you could see the massive modern day windmills used for energy production today in the background and in the foreground a cluster of 18th century windmills that literally made the country through draining the lowlands of water and abating the flood waters.  You can’t help but be awed by the contrast.

 

Quite often we were humbled as we rode down a path (really a two way road) feeling pretty smug about our bike riding prowess and we would be promptly passed by an elderly couple going into town for their daily shopping.   The six of us, decked out in our bike riding gear complete with helmets (sure sign of a tourist) would be repeatedly smoked by granny in a skirt, high heels and a wicker basket!  You have to love a country that has more bikes than people.

 

For the rest of the story check out my next blog entitled:  “More Cheese Please”…….