Category Archives: The Netherlands

Beer Culture in Europe: The Germans and Dutch Always Try To Destroy My Liver

I don’t drink alcohol…but I do. But I don’t. But I do. Then I won’t. But then I will.

My friends back at home in Michigan know for a fact that I’m not at all a big drinker. However, I’m pretty sure my family thinks I’m a borderline raging boozer. I’m not sure how that happened? I can attest that both sides are somewhat correct. I wouldn’t say “raging” though; that’s a bit excessive. Back home, I don’t drink often, only on special social occasions. Yet, when I’m traveling, all bets are off. One significant and extremely entertaining reason as to why I consume tons more during my travels than at home is because of my crazy European friends. Specifically the ones in Germany and ESPECIALLY my Dutch buddies in the Netherlands.

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My previous visit to the Netherlands back in 2013.

Americans think they can drink. And they can. But, until you’ve been to Germany and The Netherlands, where beer culture is so infused into everyday life, then you will see that the Europeans are in an elite class of their own. Knowing this, I prepared myself mentally. I knew exactly what I was getting into. As my prior experience in Groningen, Netherlands was one of the most toxic experiences of my life. But in a very fun way! I also attended Oktoberfest a couple years ago for three days. To this day, I don’t know how I survived that one. My friends who I planned on visiting in first in Germany were just as nuts as my Dutch comrades, but on a somewhat lesser scale.

I left Nepal, a bit rejuvenated and ready to continue my quest to the seven continents and resume back in Europe for a few weeks to visit some friends of mine scattered across the eastern and northern board of Germany, and then to my amigos back in Groningen. This was going to be a quick trip before I moved on to Africa, so I couldn’t contact many others that I knew, otherwise I could have easily stayed in the area for months! I flew from Kathmandu to Oman, and from Oman to Frankfurt, Germany. Frankfurt is where I met up with my friend and fellow camino pilgrim, Nic.

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He showed me around town and then introduced me to a drink, popular in the area: Apfelwein Cola. It’s apple flavored white wine mixed with cola. Sounds danky, but it tasted quite alright. We had a few of those. He gave me a few canned versions for the road ahead.

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I stayed with him for a couple days before I went up to Bielefeld (the city that doesn’t exist) to meet up with Eric. As soon as I arrived to his house, he welcomed me back with a beer. He invited me along on a local road rally using electric cars to take around the region, particularly Düsseldorf, for the weekend. I was game, although I was of no help because everything was spoken in German. But on our downtime, he took it upon himself to show me around the town, particularly the night scene, which involved giant mugs (steins) of beer, one after the other. We’re gonna lose the road rally…

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Eric is in the center goofing off, along with other participants from the road rally.

After a few days with Eric and his friends, I took a Flixbus down to Cologne (Köln) to visit another friend who would actually give my liver a brief break. Tarek breaks the typical German mold because he doesn’t drink at all. Not a sip! Praise the Lord because I needed to recoup knowing that the biggest hurdles lie just ahead!

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Myself, Tarek, and his younger brother in Cologne.

On the contrary, he is a giant fan of hookahs (shishas), in which I’ve tried only a handful of times throughout the years, but not to the extent which I was about to endure. Tarek’s buddies are hookah enthusiasts and took me to a few hot spots that had the best in Cologne. You ever heard of an iced hookah? Me neither until someone handed me one to try. It’s a handheld, miniature hookah that’s iced and serve chilled. By the end of the night, I felt the urge to vomit! I’ve never hookah’d like that ever in my life!

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Tarek and I rented a car and drove to the north of Germany, just beyond Hamburg to meet up with Luca and Mahid, two other backpackers that we met while in Melbourne. We drank a shit ton back on the Great Ocean Road in Australia. They lived in Lübeck, just to the northeast of Hamburg where Tarek and I paid a visit for a few days. They did a great job showing us around…with drinks!

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Mahid’s mother is a teacher in the city and invited me to come speak to her class early one morning, with Mahid driving me there. However, we were both late because I tried my best keeping up with his friends at the local pub the night before, even to the point of falling asleep…beer in hand. Regardless, I had a great time speaking to her students. They asked so many questions about my travel life!

Germany was short and sweet, just like I wanted. Next up, I took a quick bus across the border over into The Netherlands where I was greeted by my friend Fridse of Groningen.

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Funny story about Fridse. He and I barely met in Thailand (2013) for only a couple of hours among our traveling companions at the time. It was Thailand, so of course, we were all beered up. We must have friended each other on Facebook because the next year when I was backpacking Europe, he invited me up to Groningen to visit for a few days. I barely remembered the guy at the time, but I thought “Why not?”. I made the trip and had one of my drunkest, yet most fun few days in Europe. Knowing that, I was ecstatic and my liver was ready for the return.

Fridse still resided in the college town of Groningen along with a few of his friends that I met on my previous visit. Most of his close-knit group moved away, but he still had a whole crew of other buddies around that I’ve never met. Like the old days, I was greeted with beer on beer and was offered even more once we visited another friend of his. They even gave me freshly prepared food, without me even asking. This is why I love coming here.

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Fridse, myself, and Sjoerd reunited.

That night, we had tickets to go to a concert that Fridse warned me of beforehand. He told me it was the hardcore rock type, which in turn, I told him I wasn’t really a fan, but I could become a fan of any genre with the right amount of beer. It happened before in Mexico, after all. He promised plenty of it.

The rest of the night became a bit blurry. Those guys in Groningen were generous with the rounds of beer they would go to the bar during the show to retrieve for us. I paid my dues and did the same. To be honest, as I’m writing this, I’m a bit fuzzy jogging my memory. No, I wasn’t blacked out, but the order of events that occurred afterward is not coming right to me. I don’t have any photos of the night either. I’m sure I was hungry and got food somewhere because that ALWAYS happens. I’m also sure we went to another bar or two or three and even a “coffee shop” for shits and giggles. I’m also sure that I fell asleep in public somewhere because that tends to happen as well. The only thing that usually breaks my stride is when there is someone else who is more obnoxiously drunk than I am. There weren’t any cases that night. The Dutchmen can handle their booze like no other.

Lately in my life, I haven’t been getting hangovers too often anymore. Water truly does work wonders! Those who say they lose their drinking edge as they get older, I’d say I’m living proof of the opposite. I can handle it MUCH better than my younger days. With that, we felt well enough to try our hand at one of the best go-karting tracks I’ve ever been to!

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Afterwards, unsurprisingly with these folks, we continued our drinking efforts at other local bars around town, and even on the train on the way to Amsterdam to visit Fridse’s girlfriend.

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Amsterdam would complete my rather short return in Europe. Yet, it was just what I needed; to see old friends again before I made my way to new playgrounds in Africa. I also had no desire to drink for a long while.

After going over this, I really do sound like a complete boozer. But it’s only when I travel, I swear. 🙂

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Duizendmaal Dank

My stay in the Netherlands is just about complete and thanks to Mieke, Hanneke, and also Fridse, I’ve seen a heck of a whole lot of the country! There’s definitely a lot more to it than just Amsterdam folks. I’d never have even contemplated coming here if I haven’t met Mieke and Hanneke in South Africa last year. They have been extremely accommodating and took great care of this guy while I was here. Seriously, I planned not a single thing! They did all of the hard work while I laid back and went with their flow. Really, I was down for anything. I was just happy to be in another country.

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The three of us are good enough friends where we are constantly joking and poking fun at each other on a daily basis. The Dutch here are a sarcastic bunch, especially towards gullible Americans as myself. Case in point, Mieke told me one of her friends was the youngest person to sail around the entire world. Her friend played along and I completely believed it…until I looked it up and found they were toying with me. They tend to do that, just like when I thought they were actually picking me up from the airport on bicycles. They’re capable of anything!

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Both Hanneke and Mieke went well out of their way to make sure I felt at home. Hanneke lent me her roommates bike whenever I needed it and Mieke would always whip up tasty dinners and would go grocery shopping, all for me! What did I do to deserve these privileges? Same with Fridse and his crew up in Groningen. They treated me as if I were the guest of honor. At least, that’s how I felt! Unfortunately for the girls, they already knew how much food I could eat and had to postpone their usual diets in preparation for my big American appetite.

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I spent my last couple of days in the Netherlands maxin’ and relaxin’. I had to start setting my sights on the future as far as where I’m gonna go and what I’m gonna do next. I have a few pretty good ideas that I’ll share with you all later.

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School is about to start here and Mieke and Hanneke have been adjusting back into the typical student habits. It’s the perfect time for me to explore other regions of Europe. We went out for one last dinner in the middle of Ede and closed out my last night playing Catan at Mieke’s place. I just would like to mention that I’ve won the last four games we played. And now that there is an online version, I can beat them anytime from anywhere in the world! 🙂

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We had to wake up around 5:30am the next morning in order to catch a train from Ede to the airport. I woke up with a headache which I believe is from the lack of both sleep and water I’ve been getting lately. My main source of liquid recently has been beer. Those guys in Groningen know how to drink! Seriously.

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Just like last year in South Africa, Mieke and Hanneke accompanied me to the airport, all the way to the point where they weren’t allowed access. Unlike last time though, this particular goodbye was different. I felt as if I were going to see these guys tomorrow. But I left them knowing for sure I’ll see them again somewhere in this world. And if they ever came to my area of America, they’d get the same royal treatment they gave me…maybe. I still remember when Mieke tried to throw a tomato at my face or when she purposely got me lost on their public transit…twice! Or that time where they purposely left me all alone in Paris. I’ll forgive you guys this time… your kinder efforts make up for it. On a serious note, thanks for everything!! I really do appreciate you two for everything!

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As for my situation of being illegal in this country, my concern has lifted. I was given an exit stamp with no problems whatsoever. I was on my way to Cork, Ireland! However, because of my unplanned plan matra, I arrived into bit of a tricky situation once I landed in the Cork airport…

Bad Word

Now that I have been in the Netherlands for nearly a month, I think the best word to describe this country is: simple. The good kind of simple. A small country, flat as can be with no natural disasters and no freaky looking bugs or dangerous animals in sight. My friends here were worried that it would be too simple for my usual tastes. I told them all not to worry, I came here to do as the Dutch do. Ride a bike everywhere, cover my toast in chocolate sprinkles, shop at Albert Heijn, visit Efteling, wake up everyday to loud music playing in the city centers nearby, and eat bitterballen. I’ve seen much of the south but also wanted dabble a bit in the north. Thanks to my friend Fridse, I was able to do that and then some!

I met Fridse and also his buddy Jelle in Koh Tao, Thailand last summer while I was in the middle of scuba diving classes.

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Jelle and Fridse. I met these two travelers briefly while backpacking through Koh Tao, Thailand.

He invited me up to his neck of the woods in Groningen, which is a big student city in Holland. The students are pretty much the heart and blood of the town, because otherwise it would be another plain jane city. I temporarily left Mieke and Hanneke in Ede and took a train about two hours north up to Groningen. There, Fridse and his roommate Sjoerd scooped me up. You’re probably wandering how in the world you pronounce ‘Sjoerd’. It’s pronounced like Shoo-erd and Fridse is pronounced like Frit-suh. Something like that? Anyways, we reconnected and we walked a short distance to their flat. They lived in a prime spot, right in the middle of the city, extremely close to everything! So close that they didn’t need bikes at all. We caught up, reliving stories from Thailand and what we’ve been up to ever since. Fridse informed me that I came right at the end of student week, which is an introductory week very similar to ones back home in Michigan. A big part of student week are the night caps with fellow students and friends where they all go to different bars and clubs and drink the nights away! Do as the Dutch do Dan.

It also just so happens that I came on the perfect day. A good friend of his just completed his masters and invited everyone out in town for the evening. For me, it was a great way to meet and get to know some of his friends too. And thankfully everyone could speak English very well, and were even considerate into speaking as much English as they could around me. And so we began the night with a few local brews and played Black Jack.

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Later on we went out to a few spots in the middle of the city. As a matter of fact, the next few nights involved lots of bar hopping and student boozing. I did my best to keep up with these guys. In the midst of all the flair, I learned of a very, very bad word that they say in this country. When I repeated the word, they guys would warn me to be careful saying it loud because it’s the worst word you can say to someone. To me, the word sounded like a harmless cartoon character. I won’t say it on here because it is that bad. Not even thinking, I’d blurt it out in public often trying to remember how to even pronounce it correctly, and whenever I did, they’d cackle in amusement but warn me to be very careful. In turn, I taught them some bad words which to them sounded like nothing either.

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On one of the nights, one of Sjoerd’s friends invited us to…well… I don’t even know what to call it. It was like a basement party but it wasn’t an actual basement. Sjoerd described it as more of a private rave. I’m not exactly sure what a rave was but I guess this was it. A small room with a DJ, flashy lights, tons of loopy students, and balloons filled with laughing gas everywhere. I actually have no idea what was in those balloons. Actually, I was so oblivious to everything going around me at the time! Too much beer I imagine. The cops would come every 30 minutes or so to try and shut the place down. They eventually succeeded, but by that time we were ready to go anyways.

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Bars stay open very late in Groningen, around 6am. Students wouldn’t get to a bar until around midnight and stay out until five or so. That meant we always went to bed around five in the morning and didn’t wake up until one or two in the afternoon! Fridse would always whip up some sandwiches and then we’d play Dead Ops on his Xbox. It was a really cool time in Groningen.

Trip to Antwerp, Belgium

Fridse wanted to show me more than just the student life in Groningen and decided to take a short trip Belgium, specifically Antwerp. Its a city filled with rich history just to the south of Holland. To get there, we needed to take a few trains which took just a few hours. I’m game! Even though he was on a tight student budget, Sjoerd was a trooper and joined us, along with Fridse’s friend Tom.

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It immediately began to rain as soon as we exited the Antwerp train station. Luckily, I brought my rain jacket with me which has proved to be extremely useful on my stay in this part of Europe thus far. We went to Belgium without a plan, but first decided that we needed to find food! Afterwards, we found a hostel nearby that we would call ours for the next two days. We stayed there for a bit to let the rain die down and once it let up a bit, we went outside to explore some.

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Antwerp is one of the few major cities in Belgium, built out of stone pallet walkways and shouldering buildings aged in European history. There were many hallmark monuments and statues to be recognized. Fridse thought Antwerp would be great for me to see and despite the rain, it really was a city unlike any one I’ve ever been to.

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I had another goal while I was here. I needed a Belgium waffle. I only heard of them, never experienced them. That is, until now.

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It’s just as tasty as it looked. The lady in the waffle shop baked the waffle right in front of me and then added a heaping pile of whipped cream and chocolate sauce on top. It was perfect. Afterwards, just like in Groningen, we found a few places to try some beer new to us. Belgium has thousands of home grown beer from their country. Thousands! We stayed at the bars for awhile, playing a card game I learned in South Africa called $hithe@d. Turns out, that game is the official card game for backpackers. The rain wouldn’t let up still, so we braved it back to the hostel

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Even though it was soaking wet outside, we continued the games inside, no problem.

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On one of our last nights in Antwerpen, the guys were hankering for a discoteck night. Unfortunately, Tuesdays are one of the worst days to go out at night because everyone stays at home. We met two young locals at a bar by the name of Stein and Joup. I’m probably spelling those way wrong. Anyways, they knew of a place by the pier that might be open. So follow them we did. We took a cab to the pier which was completely under construction. The cab driver dropped us off in the middle of an eerie construction site, with no one in sight. Where the heck are we? We followed the two locals over mounds of tire-tracked mud, through cobbles of cement to a gate that we had to climb and hop over. “Are you guys are taking us somewhere to kill us?” I asked jokingly. “But for real though.” Because we were in the middle of nowhere.

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We rounded the peer into an alleyway that led to a warehouse that was pumping loud house music. There were no signs for the club or anything. This place was in the middle of no-mans land. There were two soldier-like bouncers standing in front of the entrance. We tried to go inside because we didn’t have a membership card. What kind of discoteck needs a membership card? After much effort from Fridse and the two locals, the bouncers wouldn’t let us in. It was okay though because it was 4am and my bed at the hostel was calling my name!

The next day was the only day the sun would shine while we were in Antwerpen and unfortunately I had to leave Fridse and the gang to head back to close out my part of Holland in Ede.

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Fridse, and also Sjoerd, have been spectacular hosts and gone above and beyond to make me feel welcomed. And I definitely did guys! Until we meet again. I took a train back to Ede and couldn’t wait to share the new bad word I learned! It was also nice to give my liver a break.

I have just one more post from Holland before I make way to other parts of Europe.

AmsterDan

I have to yet fully experience Amsterdam since I arrived in the Netherlands earlier this month, so once we finally set a couple days aside to indulge ourselves there, I was pretty excited. But first, I made a brief trip with Mieke and Hanneke to Rotterdam, home of Europe’s largest harbor and then to a town called Den Haag, a city facing the North Sea. It was here where I resumed my hobby of collecting samples of sands from all over the world. The idea is to blend all of the sands I’ve been collecting into one giant super bottle work of art. It’s a long but rewarding work in progress.

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After Den Haag, we went back to Ede to pack a small bag for Amsterdam. It would only be Mieke and I, as Hanneke had school stuff to take care of. We booked a hostel overnight in the center of the city, relatively close to everything. We boarded a train that took a little less than an hour and soon enough we were in the internationally blended city most famous in the Netherlands. We were dropped off right by the Heinken Brewery, so that’s where we went first!

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I went into the Heineken Brewery disliking the beer and came out a new fan! They way they create the beer is crafted with only the best ingredients and the purest of waters. Their international marketing campaigns are carefully put together as well. Heineken beer played a big role in the history of Amsterdam. You wanna find out all about it? Go to the Heineken Experience, even if you’re not a huge beer drinker. The informative tour transformed into an interactive experience where you could pour virtual beer, create lasers that follow your hands, and take pictures along the lines of this…

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There was even a part where we got the opportunity to test our pours making sure we achieved the perfect amount of foam. I did it in one fell swoop.

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We got our fills of everything Heineken for sure. I liked the brewery so much, that I also felt the need to brand a special edition, one-of-kind, Sellers Abroad Heineken bottle.

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Once that experience was over, we took a tram and headed straight to our hostel right near the center of the city. This was my first time in a hostel since last summer and just being in one again brought back many great feelings and memories of the dozens upon dozens of hostels I’ve stayed in before. We didn’t lounge here long though. We checked in and headed right back out. Our destination: anywhere with food. Thankfully, Amsterdam is flooded with many different restaurants! There were alleys and streets littered with Italian restaurants , German, Argentian, Thai, Vietnamese, you name it. We chose a cozy little Mexican restaurant only because a scouter who worked for the restaurant easily convinced me to come inside. It helped that I’m in love with Mexican food, so it was pretty easy convincing.

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It was growing dark outside, which meant for the perfect opportunity to see the the infamous Red Light District. I just wanted to see all of the red lights. I go to all the places for all the wrong reasons. But here I was.

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In case you didn’t know, this Red Light District is known for it’s hundreds of windows displaying scantily clad women ready for a good time, all perfectly legal; all under glare of sinister red lights. Everywhere you walk, you see adult museums and posters displaying adult things in between coffee shops around every few steps. By the way, the coffee shops here in Holland are not exactly coffee shops. It’s more of a place where you can buy and smoke marijuana amongst the company of other people who enjoy the green stuff. It’s definitely a completely different world than what I’m used to back home. Walking through the Red Light District brought back the despondent feelings I felt back on a certain night in Thailand. These woman were equivalent to caged animals in a zoo. I nonchalantly took out my phone to record video footage which unbeknownst to me, was a really, really bad idea. As I walked past the windows with my phone on record, one of the girls bursted out of her cell window and practically chased after me down the alley screaming not to take pictures and other insane things. “Are you taking pictures of me because your girlfriend is ugly?!” she shouted. I was a tad embarrassed and sped walked away from her. It was then that I noticed, on each girls cell window, there was a symbol of a camera with a strike through it, indicating NO PHOTOGRAPHY. Ooops. Well, at least I still have my video footage if anyone would like to see!

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It was a rainy night in Amsterdam, just like every other night since I came to Holland. It kind of dampened the mood so we headed back to our hostel for the night. The next day we wanted to do a couple excursions and later on meet up a couple friends of mine that I met on previous trips that live near the city. First, we took a boat cruise through the canals of Amsterdam. It took about an hour but apparently it’s the best way to see Amsterdam. I beg to differ. I think the best way is on foot for sure.

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Mieke and I went to a restaurant called CAU where we met up with a friend I met in Muizenberg, South Africa two years ago. Her name is Bruna and she was part of the new group of volunteers that arrived after I returned from Tanzania some time ago. She’s originally from Brazil but now resides near Amsterdam. She has been studying here and on her free time enjoys traveling to different places. She actually worked at CAU and was able to score us a 50% discount on our delicious meal we had there. So great to see ya again Bruna!

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Immediately after, another friend of mine joined Mieke and I. Her name is Charissa and I met her last year in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. She stayed in the same hostel I was in, the Mad Monkey. While Bruna had to start her shift at CAU, the rest of us went to a nearby bar around the corner. It was almost exactly a year since I saw Charissa and since then she’s been taking classes at the University hospital in Amsterdam and has been hard at work in completing her academics. She took us to one of her favorite spots, a whiskey bar, down the alley where we sampled a variety of different whiskeys. If only you could have seen my face!

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Amsterdam was a pretty cool place! Very touristy, but still fun and interesting. My biggest lessons I learned: never take a photo of those women in the Red Light District or otherwise they’ll chase you down and also bring an umbrella…it rains all the time! At least when I was there.

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Mieke and I had only planned on two days in Amsterdam, so we had to take a train back to Ede that night. I had plans to visit another friend of mine who lives in Groningen, a student city way to the north of Holland. Just like everywhere I’ve been in Holland, I had no clue what to expect.

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Fantasyland

I always make it a point to learn a few basic words from whatever language of the country I’m in. Words like hello, goodbye, thank you, sorry, ice cream, and Where can I find ice cream?…you know…the basics. Fortunately, English is the second language here in Holland and most of the people can speak and understand it. However, everything is written primarily in Dutch and I will come across things like this that will completely baffle me…

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Thankfully I have my friends here to help translate everything I come across. Mieke and Hanneke have been great with that! In addition to them, there is a slew of other fellow travelers I met throughout the years that live right here in Holland. One of them is Thom. I met him while backpacking through Thailand with Viola last summer. He actually witnessed me eat a scorpion for the first time there! Thom lives north of Ede in a city called Nijmegen, which is the oldest city in Holland! I can’t navigate the trains on my own yet because everything is in Dutch, so Hanneke accompanied me as we trained it up to visit him.

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Thom met us at a cafe in the middle of the city, where he rode through on his bike from work. By the way, everyone has a bike in Holland. Everyone. It’s one of the main sources of transportation in this country. Holland is so small and flat, I guess it makes sense.

Anyhow, once we met up with Thom, he showed us a bit around the city and took us to a couple of bars and restaurants. Afterwards, he showed us his student housing and we got to see a glimpse of his current lifestyle. Since Thailand, Thom has been working a lot and recently went on a trip to Scotland to visit other travelers he met previously. He’s getting ready for student week in Holland, where all the students prepare themselves for another year of schooling. Picture an American welcome-week and how nuts those can get. Later on, Hanneke and I headed back to the train station, back to Ede. Great seeing ya again Thom!

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Efteling

Mieke and Hanneke have pretty much been planning everything we do here and that is completely okay with me. I don’t know much about Holland at all except knowing how flat it is. Nay a mountain nor hill in sight. Seriously, it’s so flat, if I stood on top of the roof of the tallest building here, I could probably see Germany or Belgium on either side. But as far as planning, on Thursday, the girls wanted to take me to Efteling, which is an amusement park with a fairytale fantasy theme. Its the Dutch thing to do they said. My jet-lag was still in full force, so it was difficult to wake up early for the long drive there. But once I did, I popped a motion sick tablet, grabbed a pillow, and passed out instantly in the car. When I awoke, we were already there! I was still very tired but the peppy enthusiasm of the girls kept me awake, however my expectations for Efteling were almost non-existent. I had no clue what I was in for, but I was game for anything; even if it involved fantasy fairy tales.

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What I walked into was a big nature park packed with gardens, gnomes, elves, dragons, wizards, fairys, and other mythical beings. “What does ‘Efteling’ mean?” I asked. “It doesn’t mean anything” exclaimed Mieke. “It just sounds magical!” IMG_9239I’ve never been to Disney World, but I imagine this is a Disney World on a much smaller scale. I wanted to immediately go on the biggest, tallest, fastest, roller coaster here! “We’re not known for any roller coasters. We do have a few but don’t expect much!” they said. Mieke wanted to start slow and instead took us inside an Arabian palace. We stood in line for…at the time I didn’t know. The girls didn’t tell me anything. But it was actually a controlled boat ride with mechanical puppets on dynamic stages, visualizing Arabian themes fairy tales.

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I was impressed with the level detail put into the action displays, but I was still eagerly waiting for a roller coaster. We went to our first roller coaster of the day, which was on a bob-sled and then a roller coaster called the Python that lasted maybe 25 seconds. I’d say the best attractions were the ones where I stood in line for, but couldn’t understand what the attraction actually was. All the signs were in Dutch so I was clueless as to what exactly I was standing in line for. One ride, which started as a boat ride, unexpectedly transformed into a water roller coaster! Didn’t see that one coming. Another involved us sitting in a room where all of a sudden the room started spinning around creating the illusion we were defying gravity. I still can’t figure out exactly how that one worked. A lot of the attractions were novelty and were catered toward the more magical ensuing guests.

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During our day in Elfeling, I ventured to try new Dutch food, such as broodje döner kabab, and broodje van ons grootmoeder. Both were meaty sandwiches that were completely messy but tasty!

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I also tried a traditional dessert called an oliebol, which is a sweet doughy ball covered with powder. I underestimated the power of the powder.

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We rode a few more thrills and attractions before calling it a day. I immediately passed out again on the way back to Dieren for the night. I’ve never heard of Efteling before this but it’s somewhere nearly everybody living in this country has been to at least once in their lives. So I was happy to have experienced it!

Mieke, Hanneke, and I had to prep ourselves and pack our bags because we had a trip to Paris, France in our sights over the weekend!