Glimpses of Amsterdam, and then home to Florida.

Today I’m at Heathrow airport, as we are flying back to our home in Florida. We’ve had a wonderful month, what with Mom-in-law’s 100th birthday celebrations, a week’s visit to beautiful Cornwall, and the fabulous Rhine cruise last week. On Sunday, we docked in Amsterdam, and had a couple of hours before our flight to England, so took a short walk around some of the streets of Amsterdam. I bet you can’t possibly guess what I saw there. πŸ™‚

DSCN4857

Whilst dodging the ‘flying’ cyclists who don’t slow down or stop for anyone, I saw even more bikes. Can you see the hundreds more stacked up across the canal?

DSCN4858

Can you just hazard a guess as to what is the most popular mode of transport in Amsterdam?

DSCN4860

Ah, here’s one guy who doesn’t seem to have a bike.

DSCN4863

The owner of this one obviously likes to pretty things up a bit, judging by all the colourful flowers on the spokes.

DSCN4888

I think this one must also belongs to a female. πŸ˜•

DSCN4866

Many workers travel to work by train, but as you can see, they leave their bikes outside the station. I wonder how they identify their own bike out of this lot.

DSCN4868

You want a coffee? Just ride your bike over to Starbucks.

DSCN4891

DSCN4860

Every canal is lined with bicycles.

DSCN4867

Now I have to ‘get on my bike’ and head down to the boarding gate. See you all on the other side. πŸ™‚

 

Advertisements

Dead ‘Gators in my Thursday’s Windows.

We had a beautiful sunny Florida morning with 21C, as we started our road trip up to the family in New Jersey. After a couple of hours driving on the Interstate 95, I espied a sign, proclaiming “Last Starbucks for 146 miles, coming up Exit 176.” 😯 Oh horrors! A quick detour was definitely called for, and I happily consumed my favourite chai latte and sun-dried tomato, mozzarella and basil Panini, before we continued on our merry way. Sitting at a table outside the window were three old men, one of whom was wearing a rather scruffy Santa hat, which rather curiously said “Happy Birthday” on the front. πŸ™‚

We stopped to refill the tank at a gas station just outside Palatka. Here there were many stalls displaying fresh oranges, pecan nuts and beautiful shell ornaments.

DSCN0370

I realised that we must be in the heart ofΒ  ‘gator country, when I looked through the window of the souvenir shop, and saw this.

DSCN0360

Walking around to the other side, I saw even more of them.

DSCN0361

The sun reflecting on the window was too much for a decent photo, so an inside shot was called for. I think even Phil would agree that this one is quite a large specimen. I couldn’t help wondering why there were so many baby ones for sale. Do people actually go alligator hunting? I checked this out, and read that Florida is the alligator hunting capital of the world, and 5,000 permits are granted every year which entitle each hunter to catch and kill two of these unfortunate creatures. The season runs from August 15th to September 1st, so for those two weeks, there must be feverish activity in those marshes. We did buy one of the tiny baby ones about four years ago, for our grandson in South Africa, but today, we just stole a few pics.

DSCN0363

Then it was back in the car, and before we knew it, we were at Jacksonville, almost out of Florida and into Georgia, and not a palm tree to be seen.

IMG_1314

I hope you enjoyed accompanying me on part of my journey, and looking at what I saw through these windows. To see more Thursday’s Windows entries, just click here.

I have very patchy internet, especially through the rural areas, so although I’ve managed to visit some of your posts, I still have hundreds of your emails in my inbox. I’ll try to catch up as soon as I can.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Renewal

This is a lovely challenge, and I see that many bloggers have posted beautiful nature pics for the theme.

To my mind, renewal means a bit of respite from the daily grind, and if one is very lucky, even a holiday.

Yesterday, we were on our way to Home Depot for the umpteenth time, to look at ‘stuff’ we need for redoing the kitchen. I spotted a Starbucks along the way, and we pulled in there for a bit of rest and renewal in the form of a cappuccino for hubby and a chai latte for me. I really don’t know why that chocolate brownie is sitting on my keyboard, but it seemed a shame not to eat it. πŸ˜€

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my home in South Africa. The summer holidays are coming up, and then the town and the beach will be swarming with work-weary holiday-makers, who have come down to the coast for a bit of well-earned renewal.

Moms will have time to sit under an umbrella and read, whilst dads will become little boys again, as they play sand castles with the kids.

Older couples may prefer to find renewal away from the crowds, and sit contemplating the waves in peace.

Dogs just love to run free along the beach. Their joy and exuberance just says it all.

Some companies send their employees down to the ocean for a few days, for a bit of renewal in the form of ‘Team Building’ activities.

At holiday time, I like to stay far away from the ‘madding crowd’, and find renewal just sitting at the top of our beach steps, watching the ever changing pattern of the waves.

What does the word “renewal” mean to you?

To be taken to more posts on the theme, just click here.

Back in Florida and loving it.

Here we are in Florida. We were awake for 22 hours yesterday, before we finally fell into bed last night. With the time difference, and the fact that it was a daytime flight, we didn’t sleep at all on the plane. I was so engrossed in my book, Kate Atkinson’s ‘Case histories,’ that the time just ‘flew’ by. πŸ˜€

The guy at passport control was really chatty and friendly; our bags came through quickly, we got an upgrade on the car rental, so everything went really well. On the drive from Miami airport, I was craving a Starbuck’s chai latte and a toasted sun-dried tomato, mozzarella, and basil panini, so we stopped off and had this for supper. Just sitting there amongst the local folk, typically working on their laptops, it was as though we’d never been away. Sorry about the lopsided pic. I snapped it as we were driving away. πŸ™‚

The drive back was uneventful, although we did see two accidents on the 95, with police already in attendance.We stopped off to do some grocery shopping at our local supermarket, and when we arrived at our little house, it was just as we’d left it. It was nice to get acquainted with all my ‘stuff’ here. It’s funny how you forget what you’ve got when you haven’t seen it for 6 months. πŸ™‚ After unpacking some essentials, we finally got into bed about 11 pm. What bliss that was!

This morning, we looked out at the lake, but there wasn’t much going on; just an egret having a morning chat to an anhinga on the opposite bank, up by the golf course.

I’m afraid that our trusty old Sanyo camera has just finally given up the ghost. The new one is on order, so let’s hope it hurries up and gets here. Just across from where I’m sitting, there is a gorgeous anhinga sitting drying its wings in the morning sun. It’s a lovely calm, mild day, and there’s a lot to do, so I must get on and do it. I’ll catch up with you all later. Have a great day.