As I sit and reflect on what we have done so far, one thing that immediately stands out to me is the bike ride. I loved the bike ride. Patschal who was our guide was full of personality and knowledge. Philip Troutman, our professor, met him through reading one of our assigned readings written by the Dutch Bicycle Blogger. Phil reached out to the Dutch Bicycle Blogger asking him to give us a bike tour of the city. He replied back saying that he was not available, but that we should reach out to his friend, Patschal, and ask him. That is how Phil met Patschal, and how we were able to experience a one of a kind bike tour through Amsterdam.
We started right in the center and quickly rode out of the busy bustling city with tourists and mostly local bikers biking, well, except for us. Once we got out of the city center, one of the first things that I recalled that struck me was the houses that had built-in canals in their front yards. I had never really seen anything like that before. These houses were mostly very modern looking homes with a little bit of old charm. The built-in water looked amazing, because it complimented the houses, the landscaping of the houses, the landscaping of the city, and it was a great use of space. Another highlight of the bike tour was our lunch. We had rode about 8 miles or a little more by then, and we were ready to sit down and eat. Patschal took us to a great cafe that was once owned by one person who wanted to retired, but the neighborhood surrounding it did not want to see the cafe go. As a result, the neighborhood bought the cafe and created a menu that changes and is a mix of what the neighborhood wants. Obviously, it was delicious. I loved the fried cheese balls with meat that is a classic Dutch dish and my sandwich with avocado mayonnaise, smoked salmon, tuna, and halibut. After lunch we rode more miles seeing and examining bridges, floating houses, and finished back at the city center at the public library that is ten floors and has a balcony with a great view of the city on the top floor. It was a great day, and, certainly, the best bike ride I have ever had!