Saturday, April 16, 2011

The 263rd good thing about Lagos: accompanying my husband on a business trip, part one

I've been suffering from a dismal internet connection for the last few weeks, but we got some repair work done yesterday and, though it still can be spotty, I'm hoping that I will stay connected long enough to write a blog post.  I've got a few that have been waiting, the first two are travel reports, but, if I make it to the third, I promise it will be Nigeria related. 

A month ago Brent and I left for Amsterdam.  He had a conference to attend and I wanted to go along, so we extended his trip over the weekends on either end so he could enjoy some downtime too.  We had a week of wonderful weather and I loved having time to get to know some of the wonderful things this city has to offer.  This city offers a bunch of not so wonderful things too, but I'm going to focus on the good stuff, because that's what I do on my blog.  Here's me loving Amsterdam -- we rented bikes for a day and enjoyed away from the city into the countryside and another ride along the canals and through a city park.  No one would have mistaken us for locals, but at least we avoided collisions and injury.

 This windmill was along our bike ride in the country,
 and here's a view of Amsterdam's charming city canals.

 During the week I got a museum pass and spent much of my time wandering the streets from one museum to the next.  I found I didn't have time for the sex museum, the torture museum or the marijuana museum, but I managed to hit many of the other ones that Amsterdam has to offer.  We also had a wonderful day trip to Haarlem, where we visited the enormous and fabulous St. Bavo church, where we were lucky enough to be there during a wedding and heard the wedding march played on a massive organ in the church where Mozart had played the organ in 1766. 

The town square in Haarlem looks much the same as you'll see in the 17th century paintings of the town.
Maybe then they had long lines of people waiting to do their shopping.
 But this day they were waiting for their ipads from the Apple store next to the McDonalds.
 We were a little early for the tulips, but there were still lots of beautiful flowers around, in city areas,

 and in pots by doorways.

 The fabulous Keukenhof gardens opened while we were there, and on our last day in the Netherlands, we went there for a visit.  The tulips weren't at their peak, but there were still plenty of flowers to enjoy, in beds outside and in the pavilions.  They had a windmill too.
 We always used to laugh about how many flower photos my dad used to take.  I guess I inherited this compulsion, because I couldn't resist.  And I was wishing my parents could be there to enjoy this beauty with me, so I'm posting some pictures so they can see some of the incredible variety of floral creation that we saw there.  And we weren't there at the park's peak to see the blooming tulip fields -- we'll have to go back someday!

We don't see this kind of natural beauty in Lagos, so this trip, with walking, biking, flowers, fresh air, wonderful art and culture, was a real shot in the arm for me.  And it's always summer in Lagos, so this reminded me -- in other parts of the world, it's spring!  Enjoy!

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