We are Dresden now with Laura and family. This post will include the wrap up of our final days on the bike trip. First, highly recommend the opportunity to be the only Americans anywhere. There were 3 Canadian couples on board, so we weren’t the only ones from the West, but we were the only Americans none-the-less. There was a constant mixing of languages to find words that would translate. There was a Spanish woman who spoke very limited Spanish which gave Noah and me the opportunity to use the little Spanish we could come up with.
The kids brought the parents together. The kids ended up wanting to eat dinner together, ride together, and play Mindcraft, a computer game world. I am thinking that the kids will continue to link up once we return home. Shiah and Noah stayed in touch with their friends staying at our house while we were gone. They were actually playing Mindcraft together.
One of the Italian couples practices Buddhism so that provided a lot for conversation. I realize that I practice no one thing with single-minded devotion. We’ve been trying to figure out the whole Jewish thing with the kids since they were born. And, the Israel thing is particularly complicated. Is Israel a spiritual metaphor? Is it a physical reality that embodies a spiritual metaphor? Is it a place that all Jews should link too? Is it a place where all Jews are welcome in case of a god forbid… And, how do we deal with facts-on-the-ground to use Ariel Sharon’s language, but not just for the Settlements, but for the country? No answers.
But, we did come up with a good idea for Noah to visit Israel. Megan, one of the Israelis on board, teaches Krav Maga, the Israeli self-defense form developed by the Israeli military. They offer training sessions and camp options throughout the year. Noah thought it was a good idea. So, we’ll look into it
I digressed, back to the trip, we rode from Alkmaar to Purmerend. When we rode into Purmerend, we saw kids diving into the canal from a bridge, and we knew that we’d be swimming within the hour. There were very few moments on the barge/bike trip when I was aware of not sweating. Each afternoon, we peeled our bike clothes off as if peeling an orange. As we had no washing facilities on board, we were doing a lot of hand washing and/or riding in yesterday’s sweat. We did some of both. Steve put on a bandana Keith Richard’s style, and not for the look.
Before jumping into the canal, we hesitated a moment, thinking of the pollution, but dove in anyway with many of the others on board. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw and heard something, it was the Captain, “The ship is sinking!” And, he dove in fully dressed in his black shorts, white captain’s shirt, and hat… He caught us all off guard.
The last day of cycling was from Purmerend to Amsterdam. Shiah and I stayed on board instead of riding because of the heat. When reached Amsterdam early in the day and walked into the town. Goodbyes were sweet the next day. It was a really good, made better by the people we were traveling with.
In today’s pictures, please note Steve on the top bunk in our cabin.