This past week and a bit I’ve taken a little bit of a sojourn into the Netherlands. This is a charming country; with a hearty love of baked goods and a language that sounds like they’re clearing their throats the whole time.
When I see the stone houses and the picturesque town squares and the flowing canals with house boats bobbing atop the water; I sometimes think to myself “I could live here.” But then it rains for 4 days straight, and lawn chairs get blown into our backyard and I think to myself “Eh, maybe not.” Putting the every changing weather aside, these days in the Netherlands have been pretty amazing.
Sometimes I’m at a loss for just how much history and heritage there is in European countries. It’s a very interesting experience when you find out that a building here is older than your entire home country. But I think that it’s exactly that rich history that makes me love it here so much.
Everything here is steeped in culture and the influence of yesteryear… even the nearly vertical wooden stairs that you have to climb up a down every day in your house share the same styling and degree of incline as the stairs in the Corrie Ten Boom house. Everything is connected, and it’s that connection that breathes life and beauty into this rainy country.
There are some truly amazing places to visit and sights to see here. Whether it’s going to the Corrie Ten Boom house in Haarlem, or seeing the festival of lights in Amsterdam (also the Cheese Museum there is pretty great), celebrating New Years Eve with thousands of fireworks, visiting an island to see the beach and lighthouses (which I highly recommend), or even just wondering around town going into stores and cheese shops for free samples; I think you’ll agree with me in my saying that you fall in love with the charm of this country.
Those of you who may be considering travelling here should note a few things:
1. The trains here are very bumpy
2. It rains here…multiple times a day…even if it looks sunny, it’s going to rain
3. There are probably more bikes than cars here…maybe even people
4. You just cross the street whenever you like
5. Did I mention it rains a lot here?
6. The stairs are steep as all get out (It’s basically a 90° angle that you have to climb anytime you need to use the washroom)
7. Bikers are crazy…and sometimes have multiple people on one bike
8. The cookie spread is amazing!
9. If you see a sheep stuck on it’s back, flip it over
10. Be prepared to be the one moving out of people’s ways because the Dutch never move
While I won’t miss the rain or the cyclists that nearly run you over, I will miss the quiet days of walking through the streets and looking at the simple hidden beauty of this place. It has been a great week and a bit, but I will say that I am looking forward to returning to Germany and visiting the rest of my friends there. Plus German is much nicer to listen to than Dutch (which I’ll bet is something you never thought you’d hear about the German language).
Until next time, may your heart be happy, your stomachs full, and your clothes dry.