Saturday, August 23, 2008

Adventures in Netherlands, Belgium and Beyond

I have to make this quick – I have my good buddy Tony D. here and we’ve got a few things to do today so here’s the short of my trip to Holland and Belgium:

Started off thinking I was going to sleep in the airport so I could catch my early morning plane – but last minute I figured out how to take night connections at 3 AM. So I do it but end up in an unfamiliar are and couldn’t find my transfer – and still ended up taking a cab to the airport that cost over half the price of my ticket…Oh well I’m going on vacation!

Fly to Holland and arrived - after a long morning – still earlier than I would want to wake up – and a little sick. But this was my vacation and a trip that I was looking forward to for too long!

So I wander around Amsterdam for like 5 hours, almost non stop walking since I didn’t want to stop to spend any money – tight budget for this trip. But I got to see a ton of Amsterdam – beautiful city. At like 1, I met up with this girl who showed me her favorite café – one of the cooler I’ve ever been too – and then we went to a museum outside of town that her friend worked at. It was all about the change in politics and social structure and how architecture was the driving force in the change - SUPER interesting and something that most tourists would never see. Then we met up with her friend who worked there and got some traditional Dutch food and after talking for a while they said that every Wednesday – the day I happened to be there – they cook food together with another friend and they invited me to come…OKAY!

Her friend lived in a shipping container but it was actually temporary student housing – they had made a little village of apartment buildings from it. So unique.

Note: The weather throughout that day and the trip was so random – I always needed sunglasses, an umbrella and a jacket. Rain, heat, sun, threat of rain – it was nuts.

Then they walked me to the train station through their favorite part of Amsterdam and it was probably my favorite too – really nice and along the water…like most of the city.

That was my most action packed day – then I took a late train to Rotterdam and stayed with a guy for 5 days. I didn’t plan on staying that long but he was so nice and generous. Over the time that I was there we saw like 5 or 6 cities, a famous Dutch amusement park, the damn that closes the river Rein, a Dutch bath, and ate dinner with another family. (I know that description was a lot shorter than that of Amsterdam but this was just way to much to even try to lay out. An incredible person to stay with and some great talks about life and traveling.

Then I headed off to Belgium to see a friend I had made earlier this summer in Krakow, who then visited me in Prague. (These plane tickets for this trip cost less than my train tickets to Krakow.) So I got to Belgium and Thomas was still busy so I had some time to wander. That was nice to see Antwerp and I have to say is probably one of the most wonderful cities I have ever been too. Beautifully preserved architecture that isn’t perfect or fully restored, just left at this romantic state that took hundreds of years to achieve. Its not too big and not too small and I think some day there’s just enough room for me.

But seriously, HUGE beautiful church in the center right next to my favorite pub in Antwerp. Great little place that serves just about every beer that Belgium makes – that’s an overstatement but they have a lot. Having a beer with Thomas was like going to school – he knew so much about so many – and I loved hearing about them all while sampling a few a long the way. (Don’t worry family – remember I had a low budget – nothing out of hand). I got to meet a lot of his friends too and hang out at his… student housing type place – that will take an explanation in person – and we went to a free movie a long the river one night – part of a summer long festival called Summer of Antwerp. - - - - great city and a great time.

Over all a Great trip – and this is only a fraction of the stories. But I am headed home soon and you can all hear more in person. Keep checking this though – I might post once more before I get back and once I am back I will do something about those pictures I promised all summer – slow internet stopped me from doing that here – sorry.

So keep checkin’ in and I will talk to you all soon – I need to go show Tony all the highlights of the Czech Republic.

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