You might have noticed that the intermission between blogs is becoming rather long. This is not due to my inability to write any more as my fingers crumble under the weight or beer-laden trays, but rather from my desire to spend some time doing other fun random things instead of behind a computer during my spare time!
However, I do have some stories to tell and have managed to find the time to document some new European adventures.
I had an 11am start at work which meant catering for the coffee, lunchtime and afternoon hoards of terrace-addicted Dutch. It was predictably busy, but starting so early also meant I got to end early. It is always a weird feeling; ending in the dusk-light rather than the sunrise-light. I managed to find space on the terrace with my co-workers after our shift and we all sat down with surprised faces (both due to finding a spot and because of ending work so early). When our faces and the rest of our bodies finally relaxed a quiet evening of chit-chat and laughter was enjoyed. I then cycled home with a guy who lives in Waalre (Remco) which is
the town next to Aalst. It’ll be great in the future if we have more shifts together and I have some company for the long ride home!
I woke up, nice and relaxed after a good night’s sleep. Opa and Oma greeted me at the breakfast table with a special breakfast-bun. I sat my buns down and tucked into a deliciously sweet start to the day. They’d also bought me my own tub of olives so I didn’t have to tuck into theirs anymore!
I’d expressed a wish to O&O of going somewhere for a lekker coffee on the morning of my birthday. This gave Opa the idea of taking me on a small-town tour through some of the most beautiful local villages I have seen. He showed me old buildings, told me stories of some of the farmers and the three of us ended up in the middle of an amazing forest. We had a coffee and some really, just, “yummy” cake in the Bokkenrijder in de Utrecht forest close to Hilvarenbeek.
Opa then took us on a route home which was his old Doctor’s Run. These were the roads he
drove to attend to patients at home and manage to his on-call duties. After a fantastic morning with O&O I sat down for some lunch and awaited the arrival of D&D (my cousins Daniel and Desiree). D&D picked me up and I went through to A&A to start preparing the meal for that evening. Anita and I had gone shopping on Tuesday and I’d agreed I’d help prepare the birthday meal. Ariejan excitedly suggested a braai during our adventure to the Klooster a few days earlier, however him not having a large grill prompted the purchase of a shiny new Weber for the summer.
The braai consisted of this spanking brand-new Weber, sparkling coals and a great family meal. We had to burn the Weber in a bit, to get rid of the newness, but after that all the meat cooked fine and tasted delicious! The coals are definitely something else here and could perhaps be made from old clogs. If there’s more braaing to be done, I’m going to have to find some briquettes!
It was great for A&A to be able to host a family gathering, and it was much appreciated. It was also nice for
O&O not to worry about catering and for D&D to have joined us. If you haven’t noticed what’s in those last few sentences, I’ll lay it out for you. On the 05/05, me having been born in ’88, I shared a birthday with A&A, D&D and O&O. That’s gotta mean something!
I received an arm-bracelet from R&G and some authentic Hagel, Stroopwafels and Chocolate Milk from Desiree. Daniel has promised a good weekend-away and A&A as well as my parents made a generous contribution towards my travels. I've also got my leathers from Paul and Myra!
After supper I went for a drink in town with fellows from De-V. I got handed a jug of Sangria on entrance and had a fun evening. At the end of the night I ended up cycling to somebody’s student house where we watched a pretty random TV program, along with some Grolsch in-hand. I didn’t even get to the house on my own bike. I’d managed to un-tangle the chain of a bike that had been next to De-V since the beginning of the year whilst everybody had been trying to organize an action-plan. I then used this bike to cycle
around that evening and ended up selling it to a pair of drunkards on the way home with the Waalre-boys after finishing my Grolsch. Seems I even managed to make a €5 profit on my birthday! 😊
I had to work today, and after a late-night it was a foreboding thought early in the morning. However, work went ok and I sweated out all the toxins in the midday-sun whilst walking a packed terrace. Paul (a co-worker) organized a communal-supper for those of us who’d finished early. After this tasty delight of chicken, rice, peanut-butter sauce, ribs, beef and stir-fry I cycled home to shower before heading out again that evening. I met Wout at De-V and caught up with him later that evening again. After De-V’s freebies I ended up visiting some random Irish pub with Paul and Luuk. Here we witnessed a cover-band who’s lead singer enjoyed wading through the public and climbing on the tables more than vocal lessons. We then moved on and closed the night dancing in a small bar right at the end of Stratum. I said goodbye to Paul and Luuk to find Wout on my way home. NFF
was on his way out of a pub and we sat down for some shoarma before parting ways. Another good night to extend the birthday festivities!
I had island-duty again (I suspect they’re grooming me for the summer) and I duly sweated out the night’s intoxication whilst delivering liters of freshness to the masses.
Sunday was much the same as Saturday, with the island needing a diligent South African to carry tray after tray. Luuk and Paul had talked about visiting Amsterdam to see the Anne Frank Museum and I managed to book a ride along too.
Luuk, Paul and I hopped onto the train in the morning hoping to escape the drizzle that was starting in Eindhoven. Unfortunately we arrived to an Amsterdam that was being pelted by just as much rain. We were soon also pelted and found cover in a tram that took us to the street where the house of Anne could be found. The museum was slightly disappointing, as I thought there’d be more information about the house, her and her family. It seems they have stripped it of most of its authenticity and
have left as little as possible over for the public to view. It is also a very frustrating walk through the house; having to wait around every turn for one slow person to decide it’s time to move on. You also feel pressured to keep moving and don’t get to spend that much time in each room.
Amsterdam is a beautiful city. The clouds parted as we exited the museum and we had a great afternoon strolling through the richest shopping street in Holland, passing through the red-light district and sitting on a terrace drinking a local beer. There’s just too much to describe in a few sentences of what I thought of Amsterdam. Amsterdam = T.M.I. and I’ve decided I’ll have to go back for a day on my own to be able to absorb the many sights and sounds that nearly harass you as you walk through the city. This was my first “big city” I’ve experienced here and, for me, there’s no comparison. I can only imagine what London, New York or Tokyo must be like.
As we wearily climbed back on to the train that evening the ambush on our senses of the city
took its toll and we collapsed into our train seats. It was lucky we had a bunch of noisy kids sit next to us close to Eindhoven, otherwise I’m not sure if we’d have woken up in time to get off! After arriving back in Eindhoven and saying ‘cheers’ to Paul and Luuk I gave Wout a call. We sped home to Aalst on his motorbike to fetch the Godfather installment #2. Having plenty to hold on to, I never once feared for my life as both the bike and Wout wobbled and bounced on the way back to his place. The evening was capped with De Niro, Pacino and Bavariano.
Today consisted of blog-writing and relaxing as my shift at De-V starts at 5pm. It was nice and overcast (ensuring a lazy work-day), but the sun has decided to make an appearance and I fear my feet will not be treading too lightly in a few moments time!
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