Day one for the Americans by Regan Davenport:

We arrived in Amsterdam ahead of schedule. The clean air, the clean stores even in the airport, instantly took us aback and of course the drive out to the bungalow was incredible. Before we even saw where we were going to be staying, or meeting anyone from Germany Norway and Jessica of the Netherlands in person, the drive from the airport was beautiful. I didn’t mind even as tired as I was for the detour letting the second van catch up, because it gave me a chance to stare at the roofs and landscaping of all of the little houses in the passing neighborhoods. The roofs with vegetation growing on them, the driveways with drawbridges and canals surrounding some lawns, the manipulated landscaping (bulb ended trees with all of the branches cut off, and then allowed to regrow), the old windmills and the shopping in Schoorl where we are staying for grocery were an experience in of themselves. We went into some small town bakeries, the fruit market, a book store, and saw the character portrayal of Zwarte Peit, Saint Nicolas’s helper giving out cookies and candy to the children in the street in full costume. There are playthings for children everywhere. All people young and old ride bicycles, some with small family’s riding all on one bike, even pizza delivery via bike!