A Taxing Week

This week I made not my first kayak trip of the season, but a long train ride (2.5 hrs one way) to file my American taxes! UGH!

I don’t like doing taxes. I have to complete two sets of taxes. This never puts me in a good mood.  Reading tax code, checking and double checking that I can still claim or not claim items.

Then what does the Dutch taxman want?  I don’t read the Dutch tax code. Thank goodness my Dutch hubby does and when we file it is a simple process.  In many ways I wish the American IRS would get a clue and make our filing a bit less complicated.

The arrival of the blue envelope today in our postal slot at the house is just the reminder that the Dutch filing season is going to start.  Dutch tax season starts 1 March.  One of those blue envelopes at any other time of the year with my name on it throws me into near heart attack mode as it mostly means I have filed something wrong.  Never a good feeling!

Now that I have my US taxes off my desk… I go back to my Spring kayak/camping planning… not when the day looks like this!

A rare blue sky in Feb

A rare clear blue sky in February. Who can stay inside on a day like today?

I did a quick internet search to see if my local greenhouse (where I can pick tulips) was open for the season. Not yet!

I needed a reason to motivate myself to ride my bike in this wonderful weather.  Today the motivation was to check out kayak launch sites.  Kanoroute had listed a site in Lisse close to where I live.  I had launched from the site years ago and I now had the feeling it was no longer in existence.  After a 15 minute bike ride I found out I was correct.  The launch was where the old Lisse canoe club was located on the Ringvaart.  The canoe club has moved, but the launch is still there with warning tape blocking the water access.  The tape is what my hubby would call a suggestion (meaning most Dutch would use the launch anyway).  I think it means it is not usable.

lisse kano launch

Lisse Canoe Club launch on the Ringvaart. Would you launch here?

On to the next location, Hillegom.  Kanoroute has a launch point in the park but I had researched online and was hoping to find a better location.

Hillegom is an old harbor town. Before the mid 1800’s, Hillegom was located on the edge of the Haarlemmermeer. The Haarlemmermeer was the large lake that existed just south of Amsterdam. In the mid 1800’s, the lake was drained and tamed into the current 60km Ringvaart (canal).  Hillegom has soul, charm and history.  Where we live in the polder (the middle of the old lake), not so much charm, soul, or history. I always love biking in the town of Hillegom as I always find something cool that I have never seen before.

I was lucky today!

Boat dock in Hillegom

Boat dock in Hillegom

As I was checking out the launch area I found that a local flower shop had set a nice display of fresh flowers on the bridge.  It reminded me that the Spring flower season is only weeks away.

flower display in Hillegom

Fresh flower display in Hillegom

This bridge has a date listed on it of 1724!  That is older than the United States as a country.  Perfect place for a future paddle.

Bridge in Hillegom

Bridge in Hillegom from 1724!

A funny thing that happened while I was looking over the bridge at the water. An older couple walked passed me and the lady must have thought I looked depressed and was ready to jump.

She told me in Dutch “Don’t jump, the water is very cold today.”

I responded back that I wouldn’t and to have a nice day.  Silently laughing to myself I took a final look around, jumped on my bike and headed back to the house inside the polder.

A 7.9 mile bike ride in the sun is not like kayaking in the sun, but it is better than any day I have spent this week reading tax code and filing taxes!


flower wagon in Hillegom
Flower bike wagon in Hillegom. Denk aan Lente!