Avondvierdaagse: the Redemption

On Wednesday it was Tony’s turn to walk the Avondvierdaagse with the kids while I went to a writers’ meet up in the city. And of course the weather was perfect for him: sunny until after nine o’clock, as it is here when it isn’t pouring rain. 

Last night I had a second chance myself. I thought about holing up in a café while the kids walked, but in the end I decided to give  it another try. And I’m glad I did. This time the weather was much better; it was even a little too warm at first, which I didn’t mind at all. I rolled up the sleeves of my cotton shirt and set off at a run after the kids, since I’d been left behind because of a last minute bathroom break. 

The route for the walk began a bit more urban this time. And Lyra was joined by a doggie friend. 

The varied route allowed us the chance to see everything from wildflowers 


to snazzy graffiti. 

Some of the random stuff was pretty funny. The little running person is set in the road to remind people it’s for pedestrians, not bicycles. The guy at the table is just roadside art. And I have no idea why the house in the woods is polka dotted.


I love the delightful little cars they drive here, and several of the ones we saw last night were whimsically decorated. 

As usual in the Netherlands, we encountered a good bit of water, which always makes a dramatic vista at dusk. 


And it’s normal here to live on the river, like the owners of this wonderful retro fifties houseboat. 


We also met some denizens of the water: this beautiful little family of swans. 


I was roundly (and rightly) scolded for getting this close to the protective papa, who had just been hissing at someone else. 

Sometimes our path took us in a more rural direction, where we glimpsed such treasures as this little purple-doored treehouse half hidden by foliage. 


Someone had left these books up for grabs in the road, and I was only barely able to restrain myself from abandoning the Avondvierdaagse to figure out some way of getting them home. Until I remembered my already overflowing bookshelves. 


We also encountered the Dutch version of Pemberley. Or Manderley perhaps. It was dramatic, but a bit sinister against the lowering sky. 

And what could be more iconic than suddenly happening upon a perfect Dutch windmill? 


Most of the architecture we saw, though, was a bit more modern. The back entrances to one of Amsterdam’s largest parks are like functional works of art. 

I love the interesting architecture that seems to pop up around every corner here. 

That bottom building had Hebrew writing on the side. Which of course one of Axa’s classmates could read. I overheard two of her other classmates teaching her the terms for crucial body parts in Bulgarian and Chinese. Apparently one of the perks of going to an international school is learning to swear in so many languages. 

But to be serious, I love that she has made such wonderful friends here. It is bittersweet that this is their last Avondvierdaagse together. Next year they will be going off to different middle schools. 


Raji has found his stride too. There are few things better than watching your kids spend happy times with good friends. 


As we were cycling home Axa remarked, “it would be nice to have Avondvierdaagse every month”. 

I’m not sure about that, but I am looking forward to walking with the whole family tonight and then watching the kids receive their medals. I guess Avondvierdaagse and I are at peace. 

2 thoughts on “Avondvierdaagse: the Redemption

  • June 9, 2017 at 5:47 pm
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    Next time take an empty backpack for any free books you may encounter along the way.

  • June 9, 2017 at 7:09 am
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    Wonderful pictures

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