Finland & Netherlands (part II)

Kicksleds are a recreational activity in Minnesota but are a popular mode of daily transport in Scandinavia.

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Slightly over half of the sauna section of a local grocery. Only wine had more space.
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Finnish version of a bidet.B1200Arctic 124

Everywhere you go and regardless of the weather you’ll see parents out with their children.B1200Arctic 125

Even with colder and snowier weather than we have in Minnesota, Finns keep their tables and chairs out ready for anyone who wants to use them. Driving through here a few minutes later there were people at two of the tables.B1200Arctic 126

One of the fabulous courses at Restaurant Sinne, in Amsterdam where we spent a few days before heading home. The chef is Swedish, has a love for asian inspired foods and a Big Green Egg in the kitchen. The peanut shaped objects are white chocolate covered in gold leaf. The food and hospitality of the staff were quite wonderful.B1200Arctic 128

Part of the breakfast buffet at Pillows Anna Van Den Vondel in Amsterdam. Even with all of the skiing and other activities I gained a couple of pounds on this trip. 
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I like these.B1200Arctic 130

Union Bicycles were filming a commercial for their new bicycle parking and asked me if I’d be willing to ride a bicycle down the street and park in the little shelter. From a bicycle rider standpoint I really like this idea as a wet seat is not very fun. On the other hand I’m not too enamored with how this looks and it’s certainly not very space efficient.B1200Arctic 131

Edit (18 April 2019): They said the ad began airing today (my 1/2 second of fame):

Edit (19 April 2019): As I’ve thought about it I’ve changed my mind a bit. I still think it ugly. But it’s allowing 8-10 people riding bicycles to park in the space of one single car. Up to 10 people can benefit from this rather than just one or two. That’s a good thing. It’s also interesting that here in the U.S. I’d think something like this a massively great thing. But when I’m in Europe I quickly acclimate and there, with all of the bicycle parking that exists everywhere (though still not really enough), something like this with only 8 bikes seems kind of inefficient.

Walking and bicycle crossings in The Netherlands are clearly marked and are often raised (or tabled). Raising them helps to reduce the amount of rainwater and snow slush on the walkway and bikeway,  provides a bit of extra warning to drivers to make sure that they look out for people, and makes for a smoother, safer and more comfortable way for people walking, riding bicycles, on mobility scooters or wheelchairs (The Netherlands and much of Europe does a much better job of providing for people with disabilities than the U.S. does). Note the marking on the pavement for electric car parking/charging in the lower left.B1200Arctic 132

This bit of mixed media art in the entrance to The Duchess restaurant is interesting in being a photo with some real cloth hanging down. They did a great job and it takes a bit to determine where the cloth ends and photo begins. Getting the colors to match so perfectly and attaching the cloth smoothly had to have been a quite difficult task.
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Many (most?) backyards in The Netherland have these little summer houses to sit in. In this case the yard actually belongs to three families who live elsewhere in town and lease the yard to have a place to enjoy. This is similar to a Volkstuinen which is a small allotment in a community garden where a family can grow fruits, veggies, flowers or whatever they’d like. A Volkstuinen will nearly always have a small shed or often a summer house (sometimes with bunks for sleeping). Many of my Dutch friends have fond memories of spending summers at their family Volkstuinen playing with others.
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The Dutch, like many people outside of the U.S. have a very strong belief that being out of doors is healthy. There are many volunteer organizations who take people with disabilities out for a walk or bicycle ride. Cycling Without Age is a relatively new organization (6 years old) who are doing this and they have chapters opening in the U.S.
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The Rijksmuseum is my favorite museum in the world and Jan Steen one of my favorite artists.

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As everywhere in northern Europe Haarlem provides for people with bicycles. These ramps are quite ubiquitous anywhere there is no better alternative.B1200Arctic 138

Our lunch spot in Haarlem (grey building w/ red roof just below the windmill). We sat outside on the other side of the building in pleasant 59°f sunshine.B1200Arctic 139

Mushroom amuse bouche served at Spectrum restaurant.B1200Arctic 140

Eel and Foie Gras at Spectrum. Yep, there’s a bit of a foodie thing going on with Bamasotan (and it’s reflected in the kitchen of our new house). Thanks to our wonderful daughter (in-law but that’s a bit of a nuance) who takes care of restaurant selections on our trips. B1200Arctic 141

Taxi to/from the airport? It’ll likely be a Tesla.B1200Arctic 142