December 31, 2010

Amsterdam

Kid in front biking

Besides being run-down with sickness, I did find some joy in my Amsterdam visit. Here are some highlights in no particular order.

– Knit wear: On the tram, for sale in the markets, being worn on the streets, everyone seemed to be sporting, large, chunky, colorful, whimsical, knit items from head to ankle. To be a knitter in Amsterdam, seems ideal, not only can you wear the crazy knit things you made, there is a constant audience in friends and family, as everyone seems to have some.

– Bicycles: Yes, yes, everyone knows Amsterdam equals bicycle, but it was still fun to see all the kids being hauled around in the giant front bucket bicycles. My favorite bicycle moment was watching an old man bike by with three large potted palm trees, one in each back basket and one precariously angled in the front basket. No problem!

– Yogurt: My culinary experiences were limited, but I did have some fantastic spiced pear yogurt. Creamy and delicious.

– Scaffolding: All the major attractions were closed and/or buried under scaffold. The Rijks museum, their large art institute has been closed for 10 years. Ten! And it is not near completion yet. The modern art museum, the ship museum, the royal palace, all closed and under construction. What city would make the decision to close all their most famous public museums at the same time? The absurdity of it, puts this on my favorites list.

– Svart Pete: In November, Sinter Clause arrives on the streets of Amsterdam with his side-kick, the trickster Svart Pete. While Sinter Clause poses for photos, Svart Pete runs around, causing mischief. At Central Station we witnessed a bombing, a candy bombing. While waiting in line for train tickets an unruly gang of Svart Pete’s came running through, bags overflowing with hard candy and small cookies. Tossing sweets and yelling, they left a carpet of candy and a lot of laughing happy people in their wake. The station employees hardly blinked an eye. Eh, it happens all the time.

February 25, 2010

Millennium Skating

January skating in Chicago.

November 4, 2009

Moving pictures

More from Zion. My new camera takes nice video, so I tried to remember to shoot some “reel” while I was National Parking. Here are a couple shorts:

Zion Waters above and Zion Rim Tunnel below

November 3, 2009

Strange and Beautiful

hoodoos

Utah is other worldly. From the cold, dry air to the strange, martian landscape, Utah surprises me every time. In four days we went from four thousand to ten thousand feet and back, more than once, and experienced warm fall to the depths of snowy winter.

The trip started with a jaunt to Antelope State Park, an island in the Great Salt Lake, where buffalo roam free. Then it was on the highway south to Zion National Park, a truly great canyon, the definition of majestic. The next day Bryce Canyon National Park tested our National Park endurance, one park a day is a little too much. At first the intense density of formations made it difficult for me to really see the beauty, but once we were down in the canyon, I began to understand the appeal.

We had planned to head on from Bryce Canyon, into the Escalante National Monument area in south central Utah, but a huge winter storm descended on us, with predictions of 28 inches of snow in the southern mountains. Instead of spending a day driving along scenic vistas, we headed back north and bunkered down in Park City for two days. There are worse places to wait out a snow storm than in a fancy condo, bigger than our apartment, in a trendy ski town. Somehow we survived. Then, sadly, it was time to head home.

I’m already planning our next trip to Utah. We’d like to go back to Zion and hike the narrows. On the hike you spend a fair amount of time in the river, going up the ever narrowing canyon. Then it would be on to Escalante and finally Moab and Arches National Park. Ofcourse, nearby is also the Grand Canyon and Mesa Verde in Colorado. Really, I think I need three more vacations to see it all.

(The photo above is from Bryce Canyon, and below, in order, Zion and the Salt Lake. You can see many more photos in my Utah Collection.)

sinewava
salt lake
October 21, 2009

Traveling to commute

Fall inside

I’ve been in Utah all week for work. This is my second work trip in recent months and once again I’ve flown across the country to stay in a hotel, get up early and drive to an office building. It is strange to travel elsewhere in order to experience a daily commute and a cube farm.

It is the height of fall here and I can’t get enough of the mountains. Luckily SB is flying in to join me tomorrow and we are off for a little tour of some big national parks. I can’t wait for a little vacation.

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