Archive for the ‘netherlands’ Category

den haag photos

Thursday, November 22nd, 2007

At loooong last, photos from the Hague–

Lauren and Caitlin at the Thai restaurant where we at dinner.

Pretty courtyard at night. The city was full of stuff like this.

We found this umbrella turned inside-out on the street. Here’s Devin being carried away…!

What do Reedies do when they get together? Exchange backrubs. Duh.

Caitlin and Lauren are both dancers (which is why they were in Den Haag–for the Holland Dance Festival). Caitlin just got her first pair of pointe shoes (is that how you spell it?) and Lauren gave her a mini-lesson in the hotel room.

Reading Asterix in bed. (I think it was Asterix in Great Britain…)

On our walk the next morning. The hotel we were at had a big basket of free apples in the lobby. This park went on and on and on and on… on our way back we saw a map that suggested it went all the way to Rotterdam!

Devinmonkey in his natural habitat.

A dad and his kid out for a ride. Aww, the Netherlands…

And then we found this TOTALLY AWESOME playground thing!–

Devin’s the king of the castle.

This zipline was so cool.

This kinda backfired amusingly on him when he got to the other end and started back in the other direction.

I was upside-down when I took this picture…

Caitlin takes the throne.

To complete our little kid morning, we ate our nutella sandwiches.

Back in town–I liked this picture of things that aren’t allowed in Den Haag.

I think it was somewhere in here that we went to the torture museum, which is worth mentioning. It was in an old prison and included a rack thing that was used for executions–they laid you out on it and used a club to break all of your bones (there were dips underneath your arms and legs so your bones would break easily) before dealing the fatal blow to your sternum and heart. We were a little shakey about it for the next few hours. Pretty interesting though!

We walked past this random fashion show outside a mall.

This was on a poster for a dance company outside one of the venues that was hosting the Holland Dance Festival… but how cool is that image?? I predict that Kati will get a big kick out of this picture.

Dan Haag is such a cool-lookin’ city.

In the early evening we took the tram to the beach–

On a little path up a hill to a mysterious tower on the other side of the street from the beach… that’s the city behind Caitlin there.

At the top–Devin can show you the world (seriously, he was singing).

We look high already and the joint isn’t even lit yet.

Caitlin dances while I struggle to light it. It was very very windy.

That’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout.

Devin confronts the ocean.

The ocean wins; Devin runs away.

How badass is this guy!? He’s biking home from the beach in a wetsuit with his boogie board! In November!

This is vla. Vla is kinda like pudding, except it comes in a carton, and, according to the Canadian woman who picked us up in Amsterdam, it’s healthier than pudding because it has more milk. Vla is awesome. In part because it is called “vla.”

Waiting to see if we’d get tickets to the dance concert we wanted to see. (We did–the Francesca Harper Project–pretty cool.)

And the next morning, on a very early train to Belgium. Whew!

last amsterdam photos

Tuesday, November 13th, 2007

I spent most of the morning and even some of the afternoon trying to get my laundry done, but man oh man am I gonna be excited to put on clean jeans tomorrow morning. This hostel sent me to another hostel in the same chain a few Metro stops away, and that hostel had free internet AND exposed USB ports… but the connection was sooo slooooow, so this is all you get for now.

I HAVE mentioned that Amsterdam was totally beautiful, have I not?

Yup, that is exactly what you think it is. Two girls from San Francisco taught me how to roll that joint. I was so proud!

His and hers.

The first of many fights with my boots, on the way to the highway to stick out our thumbs.

“Check out the rack on that one!” (Longbike! With a two-wheels-in-front cargo trike in the back… we saw a lot of those.)

whirlwind (barcelona, spain, via everywhere else)

Monday, November 12th, 2007

Oh my goodness, you guys! I last wrote in Amsterdam, which was probably only a few days ago but feels like a world away. I mean, hell, I woke up in the Hague yesterday morning. I fell wholly and unexpectedly in love with Holland. I kept going, “I love this country! I want to live here!” Then today on the train in the south of France I looked out and saw a yellow house, and I thought of Portland and had second thoughts. Traveling is about the going home, after all.

Anyway, after eight hours on two trains from Paris, I’m in Barcelona, home of Gaudi, Miro, and Picasso. I can’t wait to see it in the daytime. The hostel I’m at (one of those huge ones, but I’m a block away from a Gaudi building and there’s a gorgeous staircase) has free internet, but I can’t get at the USB slots, so I can’t share any of the eighty bazillion pictures I’ve taken out train windows and of Amsterdam, Den Haag, Antwerp, Brussels and Paris since buying myself a sweet new camera (merry Christmas to me). So (and ’cause I’m sleepy and telling you everything would take about a million years), here’s some highlights until I get a chance to do so:

…hitchhiked from Amsterdam to not-quite-Den-Haag. A Canadian woman living near Den Haag with her Venezualan boyfriend (who works for Shell) picked us up after a whole bunch of Dutch drivers grinned and shrugged at us or gave us thumbs up. She told us that we were the first hitchhikers she’d seen in the three years she’s lived there. Anyway, it was exciting for me ’cause I’d never hitched before, and it was exciting to Devin ’cause the Dutch were so responsive to us! We stood on the on-ramp and giggled a lot. And got a ride through hellacious traffic to a train station where the ride right into the center of the Hague was only 2 euros.

…met Caitlin, a Reedie friend of Devin’s who I didn’t know, and Lauren, who’s studying in Paris in the same program as Caitlin, at their swanky hotel. They were in the Hague for the Holland Dance Festival. We all went out to dinner and had a grand time. Wandered the city, which I liked almost as much as Amsterdam. Tons of culture, art EVERYWHERE, and this dance festival thing which may have been misleading (as far as the city in general goes) but which was awesome to see everywhere.

…wandered in an extensive, forested park and found the coolest hidden playground ever.

…smoked a joint on a very very windy beach.

…saw a dance concert for 8 euros, walked back to the hotel talking about it.

…woke up very very early to get on a train to Antwerp/Brussels/Paris. Had tea in Antwerp. Spent a few hours in Brussels, which was WEIRD. When we first got off the train, it was MAGNIFICENT. We walked a few hundred meters to a gorgeous square surrounded by incredibly beautiful old buildings and delicious waffle shops. Then we wandered some more and the incredibly beautiful old buildings remained, with the addition of trash and squalor and grafitti and, finally, in the dirtiest sketchiest park ever, a dude in a fucking SKI MASK, at which point I said “let’s go to Paris” and Devin said “yeah” and we went. There were also huge groups of chanting schoolkids everywhere wearing what appeared to be scout uniforms or something, which added to the vague post-apocalyptic feel of the whole city. Also my feet were killing me (the sad truth is that my beloved boots and I are growing apart. Tempers and soles are wearing thin) and I knocked over Devin’s bottle of chocolate milk in the train station and I needed some protein or something (after waffles for lunch, heh) and I was in a foul mood. (I got better.)

…wandered Montmartre trying to find the hostel I stayed in when I was 17 by feel. Succeeded! And they had plenty of room!

…wandered Montmartre some more, up to Sacre Coeur. Looked out over the city.

…this morning we walked down to the Seine and through the Tuileries and around the Louvre. Then Devin walked me to the train station and we said goodbye. I wrote on the train:

“There is a part of me that is already lonely, and part of me that will be glad to set my own schedule for the next little while. There is a part of me that still wonders why I am here on this train in Spain 5000 miles from home, and part of me that wants to keep wandering forever–the part of me that’s saying ‘Thailand next! Brazil! New Zealand! India!’”

Well, I took this trip to travel alone, and get past the loneliness to whatever comes afterwards. Maybe that’s ridiculous when I’ve still got people to visit who I can’t wait to see. And anyway two weeks ago I was saying I had no idea why I took this trip. Which is true, but not in a bad way. I’m having a fine time. I’m confused by my feelings, which change as fast as I keep moving from place to place (Devin said, “we are so mobile! Tonight you’ll be in Barcelona and I’ll be in Dublin!”).

There’s a train strike in France on Wednesday, so I’m in Spain at least until that’s over, unless it shows signs of going on for ages and I decide to take a 16 hour ferry to Italy instead of going back up through France to visit Bonnie and Robin next, which is my plan. Any advice on other cool places to visit in Spain? How about Portugal? I met a girl on the train today who’s living here who said Lagos is supposed to be really nice.

the afterlife, or enlightenment (amsterdam)

Thursday, November 8th, 2007

Devin going “Holy shit, look at all the bikes!´´

Devin going “Holy shit look at this awesome tubing someone left in the trash!´´ (More reflective of Devin than Amsterdam, of course.)

Me and a pink bike!

Another pink bike! With flowers!

Probably the coolest bike I have ever seen, ever.

This is a BIKE PARKING GARAGE, guys.

See? Seriously.

So we rented our own bikes, of course.

We biked all over the city, at least in part because I have no bleedin´ sense of direction, and went to some park to eat our lunch. Devin climbed a tree and halfway up discovered a little box bungied to a branch. Upon closer examination, it was a box of mushrooms. Of course it was. Viva Amsterdam!

This tree had been partially uprooted but was somehow still alive… just sideways and perfect for climbing!

Devin abandoned me somewhere in the middle of the city with the words “race you back to the hostel!´´ We BOTH got lost on the way home, but I still beat him.

bikes! omg, bikes! (amsterdam, the netherlands)

Thursday, November 8th, 2007

I love this city! “Heh, heh, I’ll bet she does,” you’re thinking. Seriously though. Devin and I stepped out of the train station and were like kids in a candy shop. “Bikes! Look at ALL THE BIKES!!” At least where we were walking around lateish last night, I swear to god there were more bikes than people. Bikes of pretty much every sort imaginable EXCEPT the racy sub-20lb variety. Once I thought I saw a bike without a rack, but then I noticed it had a front rack, just no back one. These bikes are all built like trucks and they’re EVERYWHERE. When Devin saw a couple riding their bikes side-by-side and HOLDING HANDS, he jumped in circles and made squeaking noises. I kept my squeaks internalized, but they were definitely happening. We’re gonna rent bikes today and have ourselves a time. This hostel has free internet, so more later, almost certainly. xoxoxox

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