On my way to a hitching spot I saw an elderly woman walking with a dog, talking to it, then the dog sat preparing to shit in the middle of the street and the woman kneeled down on the snow and pressed with two fingers to help and literally pulled out the shit of the (seemingly allright) dog “ay, dear, seems like today we have a little of constipation”. Nice, I thought, there’s still interesting things to see in Europe, if you walk with your eyes open.
For some stupid reason I was stuck in Germany for some weeks (burocracy), and to pass the time I thought it would be best to travel around in the closer area, to be able to go back and attend the appointment quickly when I got the call I was waiting for.
Lacking better plans, I went to Amsterdam, where a friend of mine just had moved. I have never been in the Netherlands before and visiting friends is always a good reason to choose a destination. Now I can check it on my “what to see and do in life” -list.
A part of the way I went in train, too lazy to hitchhike, it’s many years I didn’t travel taking trains, it somehow felt wrong, but it was very comfortable. Anyway it’s totally crazy to try to cross the german Ruhrgebiet, also known as the hitchhikers’ Bermuda Triangle, without a map.
If you are a nomad and couldn´t travel for a while crossing borders again brings some kind of relief – don´t know why. Soon the positive clichés confirmed themselves, lots of bicycles and lots of smoking. What else is there in Amsterdam? Maybe next time I can make friends with people that own a boat and learn how to sail?! Any free museums worth the visit?
So, if you come to Amsterdam, make sure that you have lot´s of spare space in your backpack. Then walk around with open eyes around the containers of student housings and soon you´ll have two pairs of new shoes, T shirts, tables, chairs, sofas, beds, jackets, a carpet, a 3 persons tent, 2 pots for plants, etc. I found a nice useful little tin with pictures of the coutry. Treasures.
We also found about 30 books, in a black plastic bag in the trash, there were in dutch and apart from some good novels, most of them were like these typical “doctor falls in love with poor girl – soft porno” – anyway we kept them, “to learn dutch”.
I loved all the birds, goose, seagulls and big herons walking through the streets and stealing fish from the stands were they sell it. They know as much as we, which hour the market closes and don´t miss the opportunity. (It´s a pity I always forgot to bring the camera).
Another thing to tell, obviously are the bicycles! If going by bike makes one happy – and I´m sure it does – the dutch must be amongst the happiest people. I was amazed by it´s bike lane infrastructure, the city would just not work if people had cars like in other cities.
Nomadwiki was proved right: “Bikes are the best, fastest and cheapest way of traveling around. There isn’t cheap city bikes rent system because everyone has 3 bikes anyway. Ask your friends around if somebody can lend you one.“
Also Roadjunky.com was right: my first time in Amsterdam I spent a lot of time getting lost walking around the canals “Shaped something like a horseshoe, the centre of Amsterdam is a great place to wander around in circles and then blame it on the grass.” It´s also nice to look at the houses and confirm that they are inclined or skew even before you smoke! Then try famous space cakes and sugary waffles and see if they are straight now.
We collected sea shells on an artificial beach somewhere in the city and in the evening went to a TEDx talk in a futuristic builing, everyone dressed up, applauding with really bad speeches, the guy who won the audience prize talked about “why not improve your social relations and sex life promoting yourself like you were coca cola”. I had to leave in the middle because I couldn´t stand it. I thought TED was somehow better.
Sometimes I pay a lot of euros to spend a few hours between palms and cactus, transparent butterlies, pleasant temperatures and humidity (another reason why it shoulg give up living too far up north on the map). I can recommend the botanic garden (I paid but I´m sure it´s possible to sneak in).
I only spent 3 days there, but I had the impression it was even more order and function oriented than germany. Boring, cold, I am glad I don´t live there. But propbably I just didnt find the right corners and people and had some days of weird mood. But I met a hitchhiker from 2014 hitchgathering, totally random. 🙂