We’re in the final stretch of our time here in the Netherlands; we fly home on July 31st. The Netherlands is now in its busiest tourist season, where every part of the country is on holiday. The Dutch have three phases of vacation, based on region – and as of a few days ago, all three areas are on holiday. There still has been no rain and it’s HOT, unusually hot for the Netherlands, with no relief in sight. More about that later
We had a stressful period earlier in the week that forced us to give up traveling the long-distance routes. Finding accommodations was crazy making – difficult, expensive and insanely time-consuming. We ultimately decided to skip the coast entirely and spend a couple days each in Delft and Rotterdam, followed by 3 days in Leiden. While it’s not our dream itinerary, it was an enormous relief to have it finalized.
I’m writing this from Delft, where we have been for the last two days. For the first time since we arrived in the Netherlands, we are surrounded by tourists, many of whom are Americans. Since this is Delft, the Delft pottery motifs are everywhere – on napkins, toasters, you name it. It is also the hometown of Johannes Vermeer, so images of his two most famous paintings, including ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ are plastered on everything. The service people all seem tired of tourists, and too hot to pretend otherwise. It’s not for us. Today we rode to the coast and back on the unloaded tandem; a real busman’s holiday, but we loved it. We walked on the velvety soft sand and stuck our toes in the North Sea.
I have no idea what we’ll do in Rotterdam for two days. It’s forecast to be nearly 100 F. The museums will undoubtedly be overrun with tourists shuffling around with their audio tours. I’ll do some research. Movies might be fun. I did manage to reserve a one-bedroom air-conditioned apartment with access to a washing machine! We didn’t do our laundry tonight in anticipation.
We’re just not good tourists. We like to be on the road, to be flexible … the journey is what calls to us. This is the first time we have toured in high season. It will be our last. We didn’t understand how limiting it would be.
Meanwhile, we read the news … floods, heat waves, and fires in the US … headlines about a global heat wave, fires in Sweden and Greece. It’s shocking. Events that used to be unusual are commonplace. It comes at us so quickly that we become numb to it. I find myself unable to let it go. It’s always there, by my side as I ride. It’s not that I don’t enjoy the flowers and the birds … I do. But I am always conscious of the fragility of those things I most cherish.