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After a summer of rain… rain… and rain… today the sun actually SHONE in Amsterdam for several hours!!!

(It’s August btw – wish you could see my raised eyebrow and hear my sarcastic tone.)

And not just the weakling sun that has peeked out in the last week while it’s still 60° F in the shade, or that flirted through the trees but still necessitated a jacket… I’m talking about REAL… WARM…  I-can-wear-a-tanktop-and-a-skirt sunshine!

Vondelpark in the sun

True to form – the sun came out… and so did all the Dutch! No time to waste! After all, who knows HOW long it will last!

My first taste of the sun came when I walked down to the Albert Cuyp Markt for some oranges and chocolate so I can make my famed chocolate mousse. By the time I got home, my intended plans of working at the computer were out the window. On the bike I climbed… and headed to Vondelpark.

Vondelpark is the Central Park of Amsterdam. Or Balboa Park for those of us San Diego ‘natives.’

Perfect day for a bike ride

Huge expanses of grass… bike paths (of course!)… ponds… outdoor stages… cafes… street performers… the ever present dudes who think it’s cool to do really fancy moves on their rollerblades right IN FRONT OF the bicycle… and the sun :)

It was packed! The Dutch were there for sure! Enjoying the sun and the chance to sit on semi-dry grass without a care in the world.

I biked around for a bit – enjoying the sun-dappled path underneath the gigantic trees and the sound of music wafting from the open air theater. Choosing a spot to sit was tough… which perfect spot will it be?!?!?!? Hmmmm…. those guys over there have a really yummy smelling BBQ going… but that will make me hungry… Hmmmm…. those guys have annoying music playing… not there… Hmmm…

Finally plonked down on the grass and stretched out my legs. I don’t think my legs have been this pale EVER. In San Diego you soak up color just by a quick walk from your office to a classroom. This summer in Amsterdam… you have to FIND sun.

So I sat… stretched out my legs… adjusted my straw hat. And looked around me.

Only to dissolve in giggles!

The Dutch love the sun. They are the tourists who we see in San Diego with the incredibly dark bottled tans. Whenever the sun comes out, they will sit in cafes and on terraces with their faces lifted to the sun in worship. And here we are… a park… on a sunny day…

In front of me was Dutch in all shapes and forms of dress. Men dropping their pants to expose black speedos and black socks and WHITE skinny legs. Nonchalantly they would drop the pants… pull on shorts… and then pick up their toddlers to go play in the nearby kiddy pool.

And women… in bikinis… and… nope… that’s not a bikini. That’s a black lacy bra and blue cotton panties! Sitting with friends while having a smoke and chatting. I bet if she knew that she was coming to the park and would be enjoying some sun… she would have coordinated those undies!

Parents, kids, and…stuff

Of course, here I am… with my strictly Protestant South-African/American upbringing and neatly tucking my skirt in so I don’t acidently pull a Marilyn.

Culture shock.

Who knew that the sun could bring out so much?!?!?