Sunday, July 17, 2011

Favorite 5 Things from our Vacation

There were so many great memories from our trip, it is worth making a list.

We had a great time celebrating the marriage ceremony of Paul and Geske. It was wonderful to learn about the Danish traditions and more about the culture. The kids had a chance to be in a setting that was unfamilar and they did quite well.

I had a new experience in Europe, driving! We took the kids to Egeskov Castle and toured the grounds. It was a beautiful day and we enjoyed the various museums, tree climbs, and play structures.

The travel between Copenhagen and Odense was a fun couple of train rides down to Svendborg. We enjoyed people watching in the Copenhagen train station. This was a nice warm up for the Night Train which we would take down to Amsterdam.

Getting to Delft, we got on our bikes. Abby had a great time riding the City and exploring. She did a great job following along, paying attention to the various signals, street markings, and bumps that are common in the Dutch engineering practices. Of couse, there were lots of pictures of the innovative transportation applications.

We enjoyed a visit with the students out to a greenhouse, the Netherlands has a dizzying array of them throughout this part of the country. They are automated and have a great way to operate with very little energy consumption.

In the picture Peter Furth (the professor that shared his program with us), took Amelia on for a while in the greenhouse.

On that same trip, we made it to the North Sea. It was a windy day, but we enjoyed dipping our toes in and playing on the beach.

The Dutch culture is very welcoming and touring the Cities was enjoyable.

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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Having Fun with the Students in Houten

We enjoyed a bicycle tour of the City of Houten to explore the unique design of the ring road and the bicycle highway that runs through the City.
More about that on the Peter Koonce Blog.

View Larger Map

The fun we had was that we came across a zip line and they got me to take a ride. I could have been going a little faster, but here's what it looked like.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

On the way to the North Sea

A few more photos of the girls on bikes. It rained a bit on us on the way there, but we didn't melt.

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Abby and Amelia hit the North Sea

Abby and Amelia biked with the PSU class. Here they are getting a class in sand play with the students. They're building a roundabout and testing the course with the volleyball.

This isn't just any roundabout though, it is a roundabout that allows bicycles to travel underneath. We found the exact model of this on the following day in Houten (or at least I did).
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Abby bikes and Amelia Rides Through the Streets of Delft

A bike box in Delft prioritizes bikes over right turning traffic.
In the Netherlands, right turn on red isn't allowed.

Abby and Amelia joined us on the third day of the class, which would end up 36 miles later going from Delft to the North Sea and back. It was all day trip with stops at a greenhouse control system company, a greenhouse, a central market along the way, and the beach. Leaving TU Delft (the University), we wound our way through the streets of Delft which are chaotic at times and really fascinating when you're able to wander through them. When you are on your bike, the facilities seem like a joy and you want to bring them back to the U.S. When you are on your bike beside your 8 year old, they seem too narrow, with scooters zipping by and cars that are still too close for comfort.

Since Abby is an accomplished rider, all in all they are pretty good facilities.  
On this trip to the beach we added a stowaway in the form of Amelia. Where is she in this picture you ask?
She's on a tag along rack, riding on a pillow. We saw the Dutch do this on so many occassions, we thought we would try it. It turned out it worked with some modifications. Later, we took Susan's backpack off which gave her a little more room to look around. It was also clear that we needed to slide up on the seat of the bike to make sure she wasn't leaning back, but that wasn't so difficult.

All in all, a good day and a nice way to get from the beach and back. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Ikea provides guidance on life

We visited Ikea on the way home from the first day's orientation. It was actually the most convenient stop to pick up towels and things that we didn't bother to pack through the travels for the first week of the trip.

It was odd because we had talked to the students that we have brought over to Delft about our expectations we have for them. It was also very different than the time we spent sharing with them in the main part of the City where we got them to their dorm rooms and showed them where to get phones if they wanted one. These errands were completed in the Central City where bikes are king. 

The Ikea parking lot is much different, but still has bicycle amenities and paths up to the store. It definitely looks different on the outside than one in the U.S. would.

Inside the store is exactly the same. I have been to Ikea probably two or three times. I found the sign here amusing. They were basically providing career guidance with this sign, suggesting.... " FIND YOUR WAY".  
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Touring Delft

Delft is a beautiful city. A relatively small town that has a huge center to the city that anyone who visits Delft has seen. It is clearly the arrived moment in Delft.
We cruised through the City and had a great time exploring the town, although we didn't do anything touristy. Sunday is a little bit slower day in Delft because many of the shops are family run and they are closed for the day. The souvenir shops were open and so we previewed what we might get for friends at home.
The bikes were fun to ride through the City. Abby commented that people here didn't seem to mind being in her way and she felt they were rude as she was biking through the pedestrian area. To her credit, the signs are all new and the language on them are Dutch.

We made a stop for the obligatory photo opportunity in the wooden dutch shoe in the Markt Square. Abby didn't want to share the shoe with Amelia, but we got them to cooperate after a brief negotiation.

It was a beautiful day, a little cold in the shade or when the wind picked up, but we were clearly enjoying July in Holland. It was a little cooler than home, which was nice considering that we wanted to be active and spend time outside most of the day.

We ended our trip to town with some grocery shopping at the C1000. The complete opposite of the Market experience and one that we're not interested in repeating. It reminded me of Winco Foods with value shopping and a hectic checkout line. Hopefully, we bought enough for a few days.

On our way home we ended going back a different way through the OostPortBurg or East Gate.
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Bike Snob Euro All Terrain Kid Cruiser

.I recently finished reading Bike Snob and of course as with most folks that have a book, they also have a blog. Bike Snob's is here. If you a) have too much time on your hands and b) are fascinated by bicycles, than check it out. If you can't say yes to both of these questions, don't. Regardless of that, we came across this at the Delftse Hout camping area and I had to post something about it. This was originally a mountain bike. I am assumign that because of the full suspension and nobby tires. The person that owned the bike probably got too old and just needed mroe transportation than shredding down a mountain, so added the cruiser handlebars. The last fun addition was the Trail Gator for pulling the kid behind, which adds another level to this transition bike that just addes to its uniqueness. That and the turquoise tires which scream for attention.
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