I'm happy to report I didn't jinx anything, so let me run my Saturday by y'all.
Instead of being gently woken up by the ritual humming sounds of our Buddhist neighbors at their temple on Zeedijk, the abundant sun did. Coffee, brekkie, opened my window and saw that all was quiet & quaint again [after a stag party infested night].
My bike crate had collected only an average amount of consumer waste & it took my neighbor across the canal only 10 minutes to scrub off the smell of wee at his doorstep.
Two doors back, the good people of Cafe Excalibur were already stocking up for yet another busy day.
I had no plans, other than taking it slow and seeing where things would end up. As 'things' go, I received this tweet from my mate & co-author Ãlvaro, aka SindÃ¤ndÃ¹ne:
A shower & 10 minutes later I was sitting on the stoop on the corner of Nieuwmarkt, as I had some time to kill while waiting for my drill sergeant...he's Spanish, after all :).
Then, right after I thought to myself 'Now I've seen it all', Ãlvaro arrives on his loyal (German) BASF bike.
We sat down on the terrace of Cafe Fonteyn, ordered our respective beers & caught up on things. While the world passed by.
Or the world, in the form of a bachelorette party, presents itself to you in full glory...Again: "Now I've seen it all."
In between, I briefly skipped over to the square to get acquainted with Danielle, who was working for the city, creating awareness regarding littering cigarette butts riding around on the ash-tray bike. I've posted about this bicycle-powered (a cargo bike frame by Workcycles) campaign before, but never got to photograph it myself, until now.
Alvaro asked me to join his bbq in Westerpark. Who was I to decline. So on we went, but not before declaring his appreciation for Mr Freight.
I quickly returned home, finding (homeless) Gerrit roaming my street.
As always he didn't mind posing a bit. "As long as those pictures don't end up in the newspapers, I'm fine with it." he said. I gave him â‚¬2 to have a beer at Cafe The Old Sailor on the corner and wished him a fine day.
Popped into the supermarket for my contribution to the bbq & and I proceeded towards Westerpark.
Encountering an old but still perfectly working contraption along the way.
Entering Westerpark, scoping the grounds. Suffice to say, people get there by bike. It's one of only two sane modes of transportation. A hint: neither of them is the car.
How else are you going to make the kids happy and bring your own trampoline to the park? Right, by bakfiets. In this case, you just rent one.
Meanwhile, the protagonist arrives, having parked his steed at the edge of the park.
The bakfiets owner from earlier sets up shop next to our spot.
Turns out he's quite efficient...and eccentric :).
Ãlvaro's girlfriend arrives. No further commentary needed.
Our neighbor has turned his bbq bakfiets around for better utility. Looks good. Meanwhile, we utilize our own.
Good people, too much food, plenty of beer...all ingredients contributing to a splendid day in the sun. Facilitated by the bicycle. If not for that darn bicycle, we'd be nowhere. Well, or very stressed out.
"Can I take your Fr8 for a spin, mate?" - "Sure, buddy."
"Can you take me to my bike, mate?" - "Of course, buddy."
Hold your man's bike, while he secures the bbq..
Last bit of sun disappearing...
"Wanna go for a few more beers?" - "Sure!"
We steered to Cafe 't Smalle. Perfect.
One of those days you wish not to come to an end. Alas, we seized it, with ease & there will plenty more to come.
Lastly & fittingly, I want to share something that one of my cycling Twitter friends sent me early that Saturday evening, I quote Austin, a Brown University visiting student:
Iâ€™m a nomad. Having not stayed in anyone city for more than four months over the past four years, I find it difficult to name just one place that I could call home. I enjoy this lifestyle; traveling often is not only a way to learn about various cultures around the world, but it also allows me to learn many new things about myself at each of my new homes. As I switch from city to city, I am the only constant. This process helps me see what values and habits of mine remain intact regardless of my environment.
Amsterdam has recently reached the â€œhomeâ€ status with me. Now and forever, I will be able to call this city home. Upon returning from a few days in Spain, I felt this realization more concretely than ever before. The once-overwhelming bike traffic is now the only way I can imagine a city functioning.
I know how you feel, Austin.
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