28 Jul 2018



The whole last week I spent in Amsterdam/Ijburg to keep an eye on Grandson Toby when he came back from his football (soccer) summer training course at 4 pm !

Here you can see him in full outfit, with thick stockings and shinbone protectors underneath, despite the heat he didn't bother. He stands in front of the house, which you can see at the left, the houses are high and narrow, I put an arrow there were the neighbor house starts.

The house front is good for everything, bike cleaning with Dad for example

or when it was too hot on the terrace, also barbecue, as the neighbors did one day. Toby's ball was almost flat so he pumped it up with all his strength, helped a bit by Daddy of course.

When I was alone and it was not too hot I walked a bit around and discovered a little shopping center with lots of shops, but open air. I also saw a few of these little electric cars, much more than I do here at home. The houses are very modern of course since they are all not more than about 12 years old.
It's funny to see when you step out into your "garden" where a boat is anchored !

There is also a beach nearby about 10 min walk ideal for parents with children and in this heat ! Toby swims like a fish, he had to learn it at school since he was 3 or 4, because of the many canals around. Now he can even swim fully dressed with shoes !

One evening when it was not too hot we could eat outside where my son had prepared a barbecue and grilled seafood.  (not Toby's guinea pigs !)  It was a delicious plate mingled with spaghetti !

There is also a harbour at 5 min walk where we had supper in a nice restaurant, unfortunately I forgot to take a picture ! There are many private boats ! I even got the impression that people buy rather a boat then a car as everything is done by bike !

Toby went to his course by bike together with a friend and his mother. The mother accompanied the children (by bike of course) to the place. Children learn biking nearly at the same time as walking, because I saw very little once on very little bikes. As I haven't used a bike since at least 30 or more years I didn't dare to sit on one, I was afraid to fall. So I had to walk. Most of the people living there ride per bike to work, bring the children to school, do their shopping etc. of course this is only possible because the country is flat like a pancake ! and in this area there is not even the smallest hill !

Time flew by so quickly, and I was a bit sad when I had to leave. Toby and I went very well along and he speaks French better and better. We had no communication problems. He is a sweet and friendly boy and very social. Of course he now has his own will and discussions with the parents !

All good things have an end and my son had ordered a taxi for me to bring me from home to the station where I took the bus to Brussels. Outside it was very hot 35 ° but I didn't feel anything because it was nice and cool in the bus. When I arrived home I was knocked out by the heat ! In Amsterdam being at the see, the heat was supportable but in Waterloo it was as if you sit in an oven ! No air at all. On top of that, Mr. G. had put the ventilator away because the last years we didn't need it and he couldn't find it anymore !! Finally I found it this morning in the garden shed behind a chair and he had turned over the whole house !

It was the first time I really saw how people live at least in this area. I haven't seen this way of living nowhere else in the world, at least in all countries I have been. Now it's probably different in other parts of the Netherlands, but one thing is for sure bikes are everywhere !!

more participants at Susanne at Living to tell the Story.


mamasmercantile said...

Sounds like you had an amazing week with your Grandson, lots of memories made to treasure until you see your family again.

Andrew said...

Having visited Amsterdam twice, people live and die by their bikes. As tourists we were given dire warnings about bike paths, and if we were hit by a bicycle on a bike path, we were automatically at fault. But the public transport is also very good. It is interesting to learn that the city has new tall and narrow houses, to add to the old ones in the city centre. It sounds like you better off in Amsterdam than being in Waterloo in the heat.

Mara said...

Don't worry, apart from a few hillier areas in Limburg (south of the country), most people will cycle to and from school and work. I used to have a little trailer to attach to my bike, so if I needed a lot of shopping I would use that as well.

William Kendall said...

The Netherlands are definitely known for bikes!

Tamago said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful time! Great photos - the beach area looks really nice!

Barbara H. said...

Sounds like a great visit! I have not been on a bike in years, either - I don't know if I could maintain the balance.

Susan said...

Sounds like a wonderful time looking after your grandson.
I love that there were several close places that you could walk.
Did you ever forget and open the door and be surprised by the canal?
One of the things on my bucket list is to take a biking holiday in the Netherlands.
So glad you found your fan. I hope you stay cool enough this week.

Wendy said...

I'm sure Toby's French improved a lot while you were there for such a period of time. Speaking a language is definitely the best way to learn. I'm glad you found your fan. We bought 2 new ones recently because of the heat but finally this weekend we have had LOTS of rain and it's much more bearable now.

Loree said...

Biking is a great way to keep fit. Here there are too many hills - or I am just too lazy. Your week with Toby sounds wonderful. My son is leaving for camp this Wednesday. He will be away for 1 week, it's the longest we've been apart. I am sure I will miss him but he will be with children his own age.

Willow said...

Everything is so close together in the Netherlands that it is easy to bike. It's important to have bike paths to safety.
You obviously had a great time with Toby and his parents.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

i really enjoyed reading about your time in Amsterdam and, in fact, read most of your posts about it to Bill as we sit side-by-side at our two computers. We love the water and (as you know) live on a Canal when we're in Florida , with our boat outside our backdoor. (Compared to Amsterdam's canals though, ours is sort of a mud puddle)...... I think we'd love that City. I wish we were younger and could travel further!!!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

I forgot to say, I'm so glad you and Toby had fun together..he's growing into a fine young lad!!