Amsterdam Travel Blog› entry 36 of 94 › view all entries
It has been nice to be with family and seeing everyone again, relaxing, sightseeing, biking, eating, clothes washing and unfortunately, commiserating; Since arriving in Nederland, I have experienced a whole range of emotions. But where should I begin? Well as the talented Julie Andrews sang, ‘Let’s start at the very beginning, it’s a very good place to start.’
I left Barcelona in the morning of the 28 July and caught the Aerobus back to the airport. I was then, and still am, highly confused why the price was €5.05 and not just €5. Luckily I had the correct change and was welcomed onboard with a terse nod; but there were others who did not fare so well (if you will forgive the pun). The driver managed to show his disgust at one of the newly boarded passengers by driving off and this passenger almost went flying down the galley after he presented a €20 note and no coins.
The flight back to Amsterdam was no eventful and upon arrival in Schiphol I purchased a train ticket to Deurne. Days were spent in Deurne with the family, catching up on all the family gossip, cycling everywhere around the countryside and most importantly, eating. Since embarking on this journey I have noticed how loose my clothes have become (including the newly tailored ones I had made in Beijing) and have even been surprised at the reflection facing me in the mirror so I attempted to rectify this situation quickly and wholeheartedly.
Favourite foods have been consumed; frites, herring, Chinese tomato soup, vlaai, huzarensla, rollmops … sorry upon writing this I have let my mind wander to thinking of all sorts of delicious foods and have since snapped back to reality and found a puddle of drool in front of me.
My sightseeing has been mostly limited to around Noord Brabant (the area all the family lives in), but I did get to visit Den Haag, Delft and Rotterdam on one of the days here after I picked up my Russian visa and was offered a job in a rather surreal moment.
This moment happened when I went into an office to ask for directions for the Russian Embassy, and one thing lead to another where I was offered a job in Den Haag. Oddly I hadn’t been thinking about applying for a job so I had to politely decline, but since this event I have been offered another job.
I have been lucky enough to spend a lot of time with family (well with such a large family it is near impossible not to run into someone on the street who is related) and one highlight was meeting up with one of my cousins in Den Bosch (or rather by it’s correct name which is 's-Hertogenbosch, where we spent the day sailing under the city **(see point below) and walking above the city, drinking numerous cups of coffee, and then us driving onto Kinderdijk to see all the windmills. Both Roel and I had never seen them before and we thought it would be an exciting adventure – it turned out to be quite the memorable day.
** There is a very good tour of the Binnendieze and you can do a boat tour for only €6. I’ve included the weblink here if you want to check it out …. http://www.kringvrienden.nl/leftBlok/rondvaarten_categorie_det.php?vid=1&lid
Earlier in the day I turned up to the train station in Deurne and attempted to purchase a train card for the day. The machine only accepted coins and I only had notes. I tried to use my credit card, but the machine really didn’t like me any form of my money and rejected this as well. This was a problem and I was in a pickle as ‘no ticket’ meant ‘no ride’. Eventually I got on the train and managed to get to Den Bosch and all I can say is a big ‘Dank je wel’ to Peter.
Another highlight was having Andrew, my boyfriend (how very youthful that word sounds) come and visit me from New Zealand for four days. During his time here we did a lot of cycling (over 100 kilometres), we traveled on the trains from one end of the country to the other and we visited our friends. I was a wonderfully timed visit especially as the day he arrived we received terrible news about one member of the family, an aunty of mine, who had passed away whilst on holiday in Norway. She has been taken from us in a way that you often see in the movies, but there the outcome is always positive, or you read about it in the newspaper, but thankfully it is never with anyone you know or love. This time we weren’t so lucky. However, I felt strengthen in the knowledge that although I was staying with the son of my aunty and his partner, I was at least present and was able to be there for them as best I could.
I had tried to alter my plans so I could be there with my cousin, mam and pap and the rest of the family for the funeral, but the Russian embassy had already issued me with my Russian visa for set dates and I was advised that it would be difficult to alter or amend. Bureaucrats and their red tape – not the best thing to deal with in such situations especially I wasn’t expecting red tape until I actually arrived in Russia and not before. So I am sitting at Schiphol airport – the second time in so many days where I will get to board my flight to Moscow (via Vienna). I hope by the time I board the fires over Moscow will have been contained, there will be no need to use the masks my mother so tenderly gave me today and I will have a great time. Morbid as it sounds, you never know what can happen and it is things like the recent deaths in the family, and the birth of my new grand niece (now that word has just aged me a lot!) by my niece (was that a grey hair I just noticed?) that makes you appreciate the important things in life – enjoy life, your friends and family and make the most of your experiences.
Tot gauw vanuit Nederland