Being quarantined, locked up inside, feels paralyzing as if life has stopped spinning in its usual order. This COVID-19 pandemic has so many of us feeling trapped and most days to escape this suffocating feeling Phillip and I go strolls through the streets of Amsterdam for 3 to 4 hours trying to breathe in the openness, find some normalcy.
Along one those walks we noticed that the scooter/bike rental shops were open again and a thought occurred, why not research a trip away from Amsterdam, maybe a trek to Volendam, maybe spice up our routine a little.
So on a beautiful morning, we set out to make this trek to Volendam and set out on our very first scooter ride. As we hopped on to the scooter, we were filled with a buzz of excitement and a little hesitant about what the day might bring.
We were cruising along, an adventure that should take about an hour and fifteen minutes, we found ourselves lost a few times extending the trip out an extra hour or so. But there was something fun and uplifting of getting lost, seeing something unplanned.
There were so many breathtaking views of lush greenery, all the livestock you could imagine: milk cows, goats, sheep, and stunning horses. There were water trenches separating the herds from the properties, allowing us to enjoy the richness of the surrounding landscapes. We even spotted a working windmill; it was as if we were cruising through a western movie as the landscape just unfolded before us.
The journey was a breath of fresh air, literally. The views, the animals, it all gave us a chance to escape the quarantine. We even managed to find a few spots to stop, pull out a blanket, and just enjoy the moment, soak in the view, and enjoy being together.
And though the scooter did not exceed 30 kilometers or 19 miles per hour, we found ourselves passing bikers along the road. We felt the giggles bubble up as they were not far behind peddling their hardest as we were just moseying along.
Finally, the destination was in sight, Volendam. As the scooter puttered to a stop, we found a place to lock it up and headed straight to the dock. The views were panoramic. You could feel the breeze come off the water, the smell of the fresh air, and see the boats rocking on the water surface.
This quaint Dutch tourist town is full of charm no matter if it is packed with dutiful tourists or just the simple folk who live there. The docks are filled with old fishing boats and the town filled with colorful wooden houses. It has all the charm and charisma of a fisherman’s town.
In better times, there are seafood vendors lined up ready and waiting to dish out their delicious products. But as we made our way through the streets, they were quiet with just a few locals wandering the streets, supporting the few local restaurants that were offering take-out. So to add our support to this local community, we choose to order one of our favorite dishes “kibbeling and patat,” a dish like England’s fish and chips, and just watch the town as we nibbled away at our food.
After soaking in the views, the culture, and indulging in some tasty food, we decided to call it a day. Feeling blessed and grateful for this beautiful day, this calm peaceful trip, this much-needed change of pass, it was time to return. Hopping back on the scooter, we headed back to Amsterdam.
As we returned the scooter and headed towards the tram, we could not help but reflect on what fun day it had been, a long but lighthearted adventurous day. As we rode the tram, Phillip and I felt a little bit of hunger sneaking up on us, the thought of some French fries became very appealing. We decided to hop off the tram in central Amsterdam and headed on our way.
But just as we heard the tram start to pull away, about 30 seconds after hopping off, we realized our backpack was gone, Phillip had left it behind on the tram. The panic that bubbled up was no competitor for the adrenaline as we waved down an Uber. Hopping in it was if we were playing a role in a movie, closing the doors we both uttered to the driver “follow that tram.” Phillip fluent in Dutch hastily explained to the driver the importance of catching the tram, the important documents left in our bag, a bag that we left on the tram, and Omar the kind, great driver just smiled at us letting us know that he would catch up to it.
As the Uber passed tram after tram, we finally saw it, tram 19. As the car slowed beside the tram, we felt like movie characters, as we stopped, jumped out of each side of the car, raced towards the tram, hopped on, saw the bag, lunged for it like a couple of bandits, snatched it up, and jumped right back off into the open doors of the Uber.
Settling into our seats, the adrenaline started to settle down and the laughter began. We just looked at each other, sent up a high five as if we just crossed the finish line of a race, leaned back with the prize in hand.
This is sure to become a family story to be shared for years to come…