Tag Archives: B&B

THE SECOND CITY – American comedy’s Harvard in Chicago

Second City is not particularly funny from the outside, but when you pass under those arches…

To really find out about a nation’s zeitgeist, watch its comedy. I don’t mean the carefully scripted, censored-so-as-not-to-lose-the-ratings comedy of films and television. The raw comedy of the clubs is where all is revealed.

For fifty years, in Chicago’s The Second City, funny young people have been climbing onto the stage and winging it, thinking on their feet, improvising in front of a tough crowd. It’s a terrifying learning ground, but some have survived it and graduated to fame and fortune. Continue reading

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Filed under Art, USA

THE CHEAPEST B&Bs IN HOLLAND – ‘Friends on the bike’

Mevrouw T and I can stay in any one of thousands of B&Bs for a maximum price of 19euros (USD26) each. I can assure you that’s a serious mates’ rate, especially in the larger cities.

The only condition is that we have to get there by cycling, walking, canoeing, skating or skeeling* (I have no idea what that is either, but apparently energetic people in Friesland enjoy getting around that way).

We’re members of a Dutch organisation called ‘Vrienden op de Fiets’ (Friends on the Bike), that promotes active travel. Membership is open to anyone who forks out a paltry 8 euros a year**. For this we get a book with over 3600 B&B addresses in the Netherlands, as well as several hundred in Belgium, Germany and France, and a number in other European countries. There are even a few in Peru, Australia, Israel and the US.

[As my correspondent Arie pointed out to me in the comments box, most hosts are not running fully professional B&Bs and trying to make lots of money; they’re just families with a spare room who enjoy taking in like-minded cycling guests.]

Once you have the book, you ring your hosts to make a reservation, and if they’re able to accommodate you, get there in some athletic way. Walking from the car to the B&B front door doesn’t count, even if you’ve had to park around the corner and are lugging a heavy suitcase.

The website of this worthy enterprise is www.vriendenopdefiets.nl . The home page is in Dutch, but fear not, there is an English or German translation available too.

*I’ve googled it now; it’s ‘roller-blading’.

**To have the Vrienden op de Fiets book mailed to an address outside the Netherlands costs 2 euros for Europe and 8 euros for all other countries.


Filed under Budget travel, Cycle touring, Holland