Not quite blown away, but almost

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Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Edam
December 7th 2006
Published: December 10th 2006
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Today was the windiest day so far since I've been here. I'm not talking about the short Seattle gusts of wind that just whip you a bit in the face. This was like sticking your head out of the window of a moving car - kind of wind. I didn't think it was so bad until I almost got blown off my bike as I rode to school - I'm not kidding! The wind was blowing at my side so the whole way to school I had to lean quite a bit on my bike to avoid getting blown down. I felt like Piglet on the Blustery Day when the only thing that saved him from blowing away was a big fat scarf around his neck that Pooh bear held on to.

I had a meeting with my professor and Andra, my classmate, at 4, so before that I packed my backpack for the weekend and rode to school. After the meeting I rode straight to Wiebke's house, parked my bike at her house and walked 5 minutes to the station to catch my train. The train to Amsterdam Centraal takes about 2 hours but as I was riding the train, I noticed us going a lot slower. We eventually stopped and chilled on the tracks for a few minutes before chugging along.

The train I was on splits off in Amersfoort (about 45 minutes from Amsterdam). One half goes to Amsterdam Schipol Airport and the other half goes to the central station. This is normal to me and I was sitting in the right part of the train when I found out that the central station destination got cancelled. They only mentioned this after we already left Amersfoort station - so what else was I supposed to do but sit and just go with the flow? I ended up in Duiverechting (or something like that) and then had to take an intercity train to central station.

From there I bought a ticket to Purmerend, a town near Edam by about 5 minutes. I couldn't buy a ticket straight to Edam because the town only has buses, like Enschede. From Purmerend, Andries and Nina picked me up. A normal trip of about 2 hours and 15 minutes from Enschede to Edam turned into 3.5 hours because of the wind blowing debris onto the train tracks.

Andries' house is so adorably tiny and cute. It's really the size of a one bedroom apartment but in the shape of a house or small cottage. Even the size of the door is smaller than standard size and the ceilings ride low enough for ME to be able to reach and touch them. That's definitely saying a lot. haha. The downstairs has a tiny kitchen about 1 meter by 3 meters. There's also the bathroom with a shower and the living room - about 5 meters by 5 meters. Upstairs is the attic of the house which is where Andries' bed, computer, and armoir are. Him and his neighbors share a washing machine room in between both their homes. Andries puts his work shirts and clothes into his hamper and the elderly lady washes his clothes for him! He said that she has sons of her own that are all grown up and so she doesn't mind doing some of his washing and ironing for him. Where's my cute little lady to take care of me? I must have missed her along the way...

That night we relaxed in his cute little home-shaped apartment since the whole village closes down completely around 5. The next morning Andries was off to Belgium for a work trip and Nina woke up feeling pretty sick. Instead of walking around Edam and exploring the cute shops we ended up going on a wild goose chase trying to find a pharmacy so Nina could get some tea. By the time we did that, I had to take the bus to Amsterdam so I could meet my friend Keegan at his hostel at 1pm.

The bus ride took about 30 minutes. I took the metro from central station to my aunt and uncle's house to drop off my backpack. There I got trapped into one of my aunt's endless stories and then was offered a ton of food. I said I wasn't hungry, but that's not really an answer in her house so I compromised and had a delicious bowl of cauliflower soup. By then it was 1pm and I ran out the door, caught the metro again and finally found the Flying Pig hostel (without the map of Amsterdam that I forgot back at home - doh!). There I met up with Keegan - a friend of mine in Seattle. We were on the same floor in the dorms freshman year and now he's studying in Granada, Spain (south of Spain). He leaves right before Christmas back to Seattle, so he wanted to squeeze in a trip to Amsterdam.

Keegan, me and about 4 other American and Canadian hostelers went to the Heineken Brewery Museum. I wondered why I was even going because A: I don't really like beer very much and B: I didn't care much about how beer was made. So why was I going? It's just one of those touristy things you do once and never again. Really though, it was way worth it and exceeded all my expectations. Included in the museum entrance fee, you got 3 Heineken beers and a really cool brushed steel bottle opener. Through out the museum there was a really nice mix of information. There were even two "rides" that you could go on. The floor just shook and jolted in different directions as you stood over it and watched a screen. We spent about 2 hours and a little bit going through the museum and chatting.

Keegan and I reminissed a lot about Seattle - the first thing Keegan is going to do when he returns is watch an american football game. The first thing I'm going to do is renew my driver's license and then eat a big hunk of tofu. They just don't have it in Enschede. Of course these things will be done after greeting my family and such.

Let's see...after the Heineken we met Nina who was feeling better at the central station and walked around some more before eating dinner at an Indian restaurant in the red light district. I had saag paneer (spinach and cheese puree deliciousness) and that definitely brought me home to Seattle. Nina left after that and Keegan along with some of his fellow hostelers were going to get on some party bus that would take them to different bars. They wanted me to come but I wasn't in the mood - especially after I thought about me walking by myself around 3am through Amsterdam. My cousin couldn't come because she had to study for lots of finals the next week. Riding my bike home at 3am through Enschede is very safe (although I am alert of course) but through Amsterdam (like Seattle), I wouldn't dare.

That summed up my Thursday and Friday of the week. Before leaving Keegan and I decided to meet at noon at the hostel to go wander about the markets on Saturday.


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