European Log 001: The Netherlands

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Over a week ago Liz and I were standing in line to board Iceland Airways, half tipsy, half exhausted. Prior to take off I had warned my travel mate that I am not a treat in the first 10 minutes of departure. Basically I get an overwhelming fear and start crying like a teenage girl during a bad MSN breakup. While on descending I get a migraine that could rival most torture scenes in the Saw movie saga’s.

But we made it to Amsterdam and rightfully found a falafel house on the main strip of the city square. Promptly after that we made our way to a coffee house and smoked Lemon weed until I realized the floor was actually a giant aquarium filled with goldfish.

We had made it to Europe after a few mental breakdowns, panic attacks and insane self doubt. I had my financial worries as always and Liz basically had her whole life switched up only 3 days before we got on that godforsaken plane. I don’t think either of us relaxed entirely for at least three days, however we were here and everything was starting to fall into place.

We took a train from Amsterdam station, thankfully found our luggage at the train stations locker facility…because you know, marijuana.

First place we stayed was a friend of a friend of a friend named Kevin. A 20 year old international studies student living in probably one of the nicest “student dorms” I had ever seen. He met us at the train station, took our carry on bags and immediately started showing us where we were, Den Haag.

Cobblestone streets, separate bike lanes, cheap wine, legal weed…I had found my homeland. We dropped off our bags, cracked a bottle of wine and started to get to know our lovely host. Liz had brought along her tarot cards which we insisted Kevin take part in (this was after a few glasses of wine). After blowing the poor kids mind with introspective analysis we were taken to a Dutch tiki bar and then to a club where we danced the night away in a sea of cigarette smoke and house music.

Our first hangover had been accomplished but it didn’t compare to the next nights shenanigans. It consisted of a university house party where every 18 year girl was telling me how she hopes she looks as good as me when she’s my age…
I held back my tears and tongue at the thought of actually being called “old” by a girl who was drinking a wine cooler.
Oh and I didn’t mention we were all on bikes parading around the streets of Den Haag?
Cause we were.
Oh and also Dutch people are very tall and unfortunately Liz isn’t so it was a mission the whole time in Holland to get her a bike she could even get up on. She managed by having to hop off and on a less monstrous bike as they didn’t rent kid bikes.
After the house party we were off again to the same club the night before only this time we stayed upstairs at the bar listening to classic 80’s jams. I think by 3am Kevin showed up at my side and proclaimed that we were leaving and that my travel buddy had found her first Dutch man.

I stood pointing my figure in the poor mans face threatening that if my friend didn’t text me with wifi and location I might castrate him. Liz laughing and promising she would keep in contact I left with Kevin on our bikes home. We smoked a joint once we got home and slurred our words over music, life, and travelling.

We woke up at 4 in the after noon the next day and that was Den Haag in a nutshell. Within a few hours we were on another train heading to Utrecht to meet out next hosts Inga and Max. There’s something about having positive energy, being good people, and having a sense of adventure. It attracts like minded individuals and when travelling it hits you like, well, a train.

Utrecht by far was, and, is my favourite city. The vibe, the people, and the city itself is this wonderland of bohemian artistic class. We sat in coffee shops and drank espresso, we ate out at beautiful vegan restaurants, we saw live music, and we indulged in the most amazing conversations. It was really hard leaving that city to go back to Amsterdam, but, that’s what this trip was meant to be. Letting go to except the next adventure and this time it was 4 days in Amsterdam with a man named Barand.

Barand, doing his PHD in linguistics, a tall native Dutchman with a man bun. Needless to say my travel buddy had a certain goo goo in her eyes and I was wondering if I had brought earplugs. He lived in a small neighbourhood that had, again, cobblestone streets, beautiful Dutch children on bikes, and someone constantly playing piano out there window.

While travelling I’ve learned the value of being open, being adaptable, and taking things as they come. I went on this trip for adventure and nothing else. Some people go on month long trips to find themselves, reinvent, or even run away from something. I’m not one of those people, I have everything I could possibly want at home. I have my dream job apprenticing under a Canadian designer. I have amazing friendships that have lasted for years. I have family that’s supportive and loving beyond all means, and I have a man that is loving, supportive, and very missed at this point in the trip. Being on this trip has just set that I have someone really special that is only going to accent my life in beautiful ways. I know I’m getting mushy but Anthony is a man that stands above the rest for me and I’m quite content about that.

Needless to say I’ve been getting waves of being homesick since we’ve arrived in Berlin. I know it’ll pass, I’m already feeling better now that we’ve settled into our new home for the next week.

Oh and I’m going to rant about European toilets for a second…WHAT THE FUCK IS WITH THE POO SHELF? It’s this raised bit in the toilet that literally catches your poop and it just sits there, like staring at you, it’s more abrasive then it floating in water. The worst part? Sometimes you have to give it a nudge with the toilet brush because it won’t go down with the water when you flush…I fucking hate pooping here.

I’ll leave on that note but what I can say about all this is travelling, if anything, it makes you aware of yourself in ways you can’t in your hometown. The things my eyes have seen and my soul has processed out here is beyond anything I could have imagined.

Berlin is here and I need a coffee.

Casey Jane

Tunes
Side note – these are some of the most beautiful music videos I’ve ever seen.

Bon Iver – Holocene
Bon Iver – Towers
Bon Iver – Hinnom TX
Bon Iver – Wash

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