Sunday, February 1, 2009

bicycling to the ocean

I was a bit slow getting up today, because I stayed up too late drinking red wine and talking with a friend of mine after work. The sun is shining brightly, but the sky has a sort of grey white covering. I still feel a bit tired, since there was no coffee in the house.
I am sitting her thinking; maybe I should go to the grocery store and run my errands. I am also thinking that I should wait for my other friend to wake up and talk to her to see how her night was and what her plans for today were. But the last weeks I have spend so much time just sitting around the table talking about pretty much nothing.
Holland borders on Atlantic Ocean. The area directly around Amsterdam used to be a sea before the Delta works was built. It was rumored to have been a very rough sea. Now you need to leave out of the city to reach the ocean. I have not looked at a map and do not know exactly how to get to the ocean. I watched the sun set the other day so I have an idea of where west is. I know that people go to a small city called zandfort, which is the closest beach to Amsterdam. Maybe when I cycle I will see signs for that.
Well I will put on warm clothes get on my bike, and grab some coffee at a snack bar.
I am curious to see if I will manage to get there.

Exhaustion. It was five o clocks before I reached the ocean. Four and a half hours bicycling. Starving I ate apple pie and drank coffee at the first snack bar I saw after cycling through a nature preserve.
I ended up in Ijmuiden, which is a really interesting, because it is the ij, the water right in Amsterdam, that bleeds slowly out to the sea. I cycled almost all the way through parks, my junker of a bike squeaking underneath me. I breathed the air and watched the countryside. My mind was very quiet. I had the feeling that if I had stayed at home with my slight hangover and not enough sleep I wouldn’t get anything done.
After many wrong turns, through the industrial and harbor landscape of Ijmuiden I arrived at some dunes. There again I walked down the only path, which was not a path and ended up walking my bike through muddy and icy puddles, trying to figure out how to get out from the recess in the dune and up to the ocean.
The sun was golden nearing setting. I felt as I always do when I am at the ocean, quiet, calm, and empty, but a good sort of emptiness, carefree and connected at the same time.
Right before I had found the dunes I stopped to look at a map. I realized there was a boat from a Velsen, a nearby city, which went to Amsterdam.
What a relief! I was quite cold. After watching the beginning of the sunset I left the ocean.
At the ferry port I realized it was a water taxi, a low sitting high speed boat. A ticket only cost five euro. I sat in the boat watched the lights and warmed my feet up.
I cycled home and ate a pizza.

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