The Social Sandwich, Part 7

This is the seventh in a series of posts describing my recent trip to England, Ireland, the Netherlands and Wales, from writing course to school reunion and more.

It couldn’t have been more different. In one short flight, I went from a hilly country to a flat one, from not many bicycles to a multitude of them, from coolish temperatures to nights so hot it was hard to sleep, from one language (I did hear only one, and it wasn’t Irish) to another, from people I’d only just met to ones I’ve known all or most of my life.

One thing remained the same: the currency. It was hard to believe I could take out the coins I’d collected in Ireland and hand them over to shopkeepers here in Amsterdam.

During the four days I spent in Holland, I visited the newly-renovated Rijksmuseum and cycled through the Amsterdam Bos to a lake where (as if my legs weren’t aching enough from cycling) we went out on what they called a water bicycle and what I’d call a pedal boat.

Cycling in Amsterdam
Cycling in Amsterdam

We also joined a coach tour to Rotterdam, Delft and the Hague. Delft is a fascinating old town with plenty to see all around the central cobbled square.

At the Royal Delft pottery factory, while the guide spoke to us, I took the photo below. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the story behind the tiled picture behind her and neither can my brother. I do remember that it was sold, but the factory is allowed to keep it for now. If you know any more about the picture, please let me know in the comments. (The comment button is at the top.)

Royal Delft Pottery Works
Royal Delft Pottery Works

I hope to return to Delft one day for a longer visit.

There had been threats of thunderstorms every day, but these didn’t materialise until the last day, when my brother and I went out for a short walk around the Vondelpark, decided there was no need to take rainwear and of course got caught in a thunderstorm. Oh well, I lived to tell the tale.


Weathering the Weather

This was one of the rhymes I used to recite to my children:

Whether the weather be fine
Or whether the weather be not,
Whether the weather be cold
Or whether the weather be hot,
We’ll weather the weather
Whatever the weather,
Whether we like it or not.

So what did those little green messages mean in my posts this past week? And how dare I be only partly present for the last week of the A-Z Challenge?

Well, sorry about that, but it just worked out that D and I spent the week in Hong Kong and we loved every minute of it.

I will write more about this experience, but I’ll start with the weather. We left Jerusalem in unseasonably cold and wet weather and returned to typically hot summer weather. We missed Lag B’Omer, the bonfire-lighting festival, but as our children are now grown up we wouldn’t have participated anyway. Most of the country did, of course, and unfortunately, due to hot weather and strong winds, several fires got out of hand.

Hong Kong, as expected, was hot and humid, although the evenings were quite cool. At the end of our first day, the heavens opened for one of the famous thunderstorms. Fortunately we were just about to exit from an underground station. We waited until the rain subsided and then hurried into a shopping centre. The next day, rain was intermittent, but after that there was no rain to speak of until we were safely back at Hong Kong airport, where we watched the downpour through a glass wall and through a window of the plane.

So we were lucky with the weather, especially considering what we did. Can you guess what that was? I’ll tell you about it tomorrow or the next day. And I haven’t forgotten my A-Z summary post.