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Showing posts from August, 2013

A Transition

Saturday marked the end of my summer vacation, a much-needed respite from the doldrums of Ramadan. This was my second trip to Europe. The first was to Italy in the spring of 2005. I visited Vatican City and a pope died. This year I came to London and a prince was born. Make of that what you will. Some highlights:

morning jog along the Thames in London; no feral dogs chasing mebiking through London's parks with North Carolinians/NPR lovers Jake and Ericevensong at St. Paul's and Westminster AbbeyMerrily We Roll Along at the Harold Pinter theatre in West End; more talent than you could shake a stick atbeautiful, beautiful music at the Royal Albert Hall; clapping only after music stoppedBruges - all of it, from beginning to endwalking through the castle at Ghentbiking in and around Amsterdam (and serendipitously discovering the goat park); no feral dogstaking in the view of the cathedral at CologneBlack Forest hiking; nature without garbageorgan concert (and gargoyles) at the cath…

A Surprise in the Park

The goats were a complete surprise. To be sure, I plainly saw the large goat symbol on the map, but I expected something more like a monument to a special goat, a local hero perhaps, or maybe just a peculiarly goat-shaped rock. Instead, I rode into an alarming situation: dozens of little children with goats - playing on teeter-totters, gallivanting through grassland, climbing wooden structures. With goats, I said. As many goats as children.
I had been cycling just outside of Amsterdam on a rented bike, following a rough plan to ride through some of the biggest parks. At the entrance of this, the Amsterdam Woods, I found the trail map that had so piqued my interest with its depiction of a goat squarely in the middle of an otherwise run-of-the-mill green field. No explanation or legend to suggest its meaning - just a cheerful, bearded bovid.
The park was beautiful. The first part followed the long side of the Bosbaan, which is the oldest artificial rowing course in the world. Afterwards, …