A Whistle-stop Tour, Part I: The Netherlands

So far on this trip I’ve been terrible at updating my blog, but I feel like in a way that’s a good thing. Sitting down and writing takes time and effort, and I’ve been so busy I’ve had very little time to stop recently. And honestly, why would I waste time writing when there’s been so much to see and do? Those museums aren’t exactly going to visit themselves. Usually whenever I have had any stretch of time where I’ve had to be sat in one place for an extended period of time it’s been when I’ve been on a coach or a train, neither of which are particularly good for actually writing on.

Now, around 2 weeks since I set off on this slightly harebrained adventure, I’m finally sitting down to write, somewhere in the middle of Norwegian woodland surrounded by the sounds of water rushing through the river at the bottom of the valley, the occasional moo of a cow or rattle of a sheep’s bell, and the gentle background noise of deforestation. But more on that when I write about Norway. First: The Netherlands.

The Netherlands was amazing, or at least the bits of it that I saw in the three days that I spent there, and I’m already planning to go again. I’d even travel by coach again because, despite being delayed by a few hours due to a missed channel crossing, and having to wait for the police when the coach may have had a teeny tiny insy winsy little bump with another car in a car park in Belgium, it was a really enjoyable journey. The Belgian countryside was absolutely gorgeous, and now I really want to visit Belgium one day too.

Apparently I didn’t take as many photo’s of the Belgian countryside as I thought, but I did like this house

The first night of my trip (not including my coach down to London the night before), was spent in a beautiful little hostel in Eindhoven, which possibly set my expectations of hostels for the trip a little bit too high. It was absolutely lovely, and it had a nice little bar that was serving typical Dutch snacks, which were delicious and very appreciated after 11 hours on a coach. The staff were friendly, and the people I met there were too.

My day in Eindhoven was probably the part of the first section of my trip that I was most excited for, because it was the day that I’d finally get to meet one of my Internet friends that I’ve known for over a year. We had a fantastic day, or at least I did, I’m not too sure that Cat would agree that a day in my company was all that great. But it was fun.

I think my head may be a little small for this helmet.

Being the giant nerds that we are we spent half of the day in a historical village, trying to light fire with flint and iron pyrite, trying to hit a boar shaped target with spears (Cat was successful, I was not. No surprises there), messing around with swords, and admiring a rather large cock. So all in all a rather fun afternoon, before we headed back into town to find somewhere to eat, something more substantial than the snacks we bought from a unit built into the wall at least.

The ‘large cock’ in question.

After less than 24hrs in Eindhoven I was back on a coach again, this time headed back northwards towards Amsterdam, which has to be my favourite capital city I have ever visited (and probably no for the reasons you’re thinking, get your mind out of the gutter). I managed to arrive just as the Arianna Grande concert was finsihhing, if the number of people wearing her mech on the metro was anything to go by. However, I was more interested in getting to my hostel and going straight to bed.

I spent almost two full days in Amsterdam, which definitely wasn’t enough time. There were so many museums! So many things to do! I spent almost a full day just going on walking tours around the city, including one around the red light district, which was actually pretty informative. I’d never done a walking tour before, but it’s definitely something that I’d do agian, it was an interesting way to learn a lot about the city in a very short space of time.

One of the interesting looking buildings I saw on my wanders around the city

I spent most of my second day at the science museum, which whilst aimed primarily at children, had a lot of very interesting stuff going on. On the recommendations of one of the tour guides from the previous day I also went on a canal cruise in the afternoon, however I was so tired from staying out ate the night before I struggled to keep my eyes open for the full hour.

Amsterdam from the canal side.

The Netherlands was my absolute favourite country, and I can’t wait to go back, I absolutely loved my time there, though I think the glorious weather definitely helped. Someone asked me recently exactly why I loved the country, and it took me a little while to work out why. But I think a big part of it is that everyone I met there was so friendly, from the friend that was willing to drive 1.5 hours to pick me up had I been unable to check in to my hostel, to the guy that spent a good half hour talking to us about how to make wooden spoons and birchbark containers, and nearly everyone else I met inbetween.

Amsterdam, despite being a capital city, was a city that I felt incredibly safe (aside from the cyclists and that one minor incident with a creepy dude, but let’s be honest you get those everywhere, and the hostel resolved the situation pretty much instantly). It was peaceful, it was beautiful, and the sun shined the entire time. I already wish I were back.


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