Sunday, April 24

Amersfoort, Netherlands

As I mentioned, we stayed in Amersfoort at the Johan B&B. It’s the first place we’ve been that I absolutely want to return to for it’s location and family-friendliness off the tourist route. Amersfoort is within an hour by train or car to pretty much anywhere you want to go there. And this meticulously renovated B&B is ideally located in the heart of the old historic town in a very quiet neighborhood. The young family who runs it is so kind and welcoming that I wish we’d had time to sit and share a meal together! When I told Ingrid we would be celebrating McKay’s birthday on Sunday, she provided me with everything to make our first poffertjes – the local version of pancakes. Yum! And so nice of her to make it possible for us to do on our own on a whim!

So back to our arrival. As we drove into a neighboring town getting close to our final destination, it was about 3pm Friday. It looked like school must have just gotten out and there were just people everywhere on the bike paths! Cars were seriously outnumbered and you didn't see a chunky kid or adult in sight. It was such a drastic change of scene from the hills and cars in Germany. And I thought Germans rode bikes a lot but this was a whole new landscape! Munich and Berlin are much more flat and bike-friendly than the hills of Stuttgart, but bikes rule in the Netherlands!

We got to the house around 4pm Friday evening after a difficult time maneuvering our way close enough to the vacation home. However, once we arrived we were greeted by our lovely hosts who were at the park across from their place playing field hockey with their daughters. They helped us get settled and rent bikes as the local shop was closing up for the weekend. We’d taken the boys' bikes along but didn't have room for ours so it’s a good thing we were able to catch the shop before it closed. Phew!

We spent the rest of the evening riding around the old town as a family. Morgan was perched in a child’s seat behind the handlebars of Ryan’s bike. She was in heaven! All weekend long she kept saying, “Daddy, I happy!” and “Daddy, I wike a bike!” and "I a wide on Daddy bike!" anytime we mentioned or headed toward the door. Her little face always had tears streaming back as the rush of air blew them back.

And the boys couldn’t get enough riding! If we were at the home, they were always asking to go out and ride on the quiet road in front of the house. That first evening, the locals seemed to enjoy our show. Both boys had only been riding bikes for a week so Ryan and I were duly nervous for our maiden family spree. And for good reason we found as McKay almost landed himself in a canal as he came off another canal’s bridge and stopped himself on a tree trunk. We had come across this little spot a few times already as we circled and explored the town on bike. A mother and daughter were sitting across the canal enjoying an evening beverage. They smiled encouragingly each time we passed, but their nervous laughter after McKay’s near miss was so endearing! For the rest of the weekend, we joked as a family that we were not trying to go swimming on this ride, ie. steer clear of the canals!