I must be the only British girl who is a little peeved that New Amsterdam's name was changed to New York. Silly British wanting to leave their ye olde town names all over the world... How lovely it would have been to think of New Amsterdam on the other side of the Atlantic, so utterly different from the Amsterdam I now call home in size and style, but still lovely.
But the Dutch left other names in New York and in the last few weeks I have been to two places in the Netherlands that are now renowned suburbs of the Big Apple; Breukelen and Haarlem.
Haarlem was far too short a visit to be sweet - we cycled through on our way back from the North Sea coast last weekend. Yes, cycled. Us. And we survived. I'll share some photos soon.
Breukelen, which is pronounced almost (see below in comments!) as you would say "Brooklyn", was a much more relaxing visit, aboard a boat, no less, with our new neighbours. By the end of the day's sailing (and drinking!) down a maze of canals and out into the open of Lake Loosdrecht, I'd like to think we were more than neighbours; we were new friends. I'd also picked out a number of summer houses and grand mansions for NewMan and us to move into one day...If you ever choose to explore Amsterdam or the Netherlands at any kind of length, spending a windy summer's day aboard a boat, cruising city canals or sailing across a lake, is a very Dutch thing to do and comes highly recommended. You'll be surprised how scenic the countryside is in this country and so far I've only explored a teeny, tiny corner of it. Oh, but the Dutch do have one very important rule; be sure to have snacks, beers and good company on board.
Frances M. Thompson
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