After an unusual long period without any signs of life from my side, I decided to send out an update today. The last weeks have been really busy as I somehow totally miscalculated my holidays. It seems I am becoming less and less German, because my sense for organization gets lost. A scary thought! Anyway, because I gave myself 1.5 weeks more holiday, I really had to struggle with keeping my deadlines (fortunately some lecturers believed in my rather poor excuses). The sole reason for this struggle was, that I decided to visit our wonderful, tiny and amazingly flat neighbor country – the Netherlands a.k.a. Holland.
Stroopwafels – My favorite Sweets
To get in to the mood for my short vacation in the Netherlands my new Dutch roommate brought along the most delicious sweets I know. Dutch stroopwafels are most likely my favorite sweets. I absolutely love them. I do not understand at all, why they are only available in the Netherlands. Please export them at least to the rest of Europe. A few interesting things before I explain more about my adorable trip to the Netherlands. The results of my exams were much better than what I have achieved back home so far. It is such a relief to know after an exam one has not just passed it, but passed it very well. I also like that we approach all professors on a first name basis here. It somehow makes things more relaxed.
The British Loan Industry
The British fashion taste is very unique from time to time. Currently, German army jackets are absolutely in. Hence, if you still have some, please send it over and we can make some easy money. Speaking of money, the loan industry is insanely huge in the UK. Literally everybody has multiple credit cards and mostly people pay debts of one credit card with another credit card. To me it seems like one third of all TV commercials are around either getting a loan or getting help to pay of loans. It is absolutely insane! However, back to my trip to the Netherlands. I went there for one week and the first funny thing happened already in Sheffield at the airport.
A German Suspect
Due to my “dangerous and aggressive” look, British security decided to treat me as an official terror suspect. What follows is not taken from a movie, but happened in real life at the Robin Hood Airport (even the name is real!). Arriving very late at the airport, I decided to go straight to the security check. My red backpack must have been suspicious for the security staff. They emptied it entirely and started an enormous ritual. The short version is, they even opened my toothpaste and smelled it (same with perfume, food and so forth). After that, they took a picture of me, asked me a hell lot of questions why I am in the UK, why am I going to the Netherlands and Germany. With a rather sarcastic comment that I use to live in Germany I left the security check after amazing 50 minutes.
Sleeping on Dutch Trains
The Netherlands themselves are really cool. I fell in love with this country. It is so nice to see literally everybody is cycling there and all the cities are bicycle friendly. I loved that immediately. One thing I realized during my stay is that it is not a good idea to fall asleep on a train. Sometimes trains split up in between and it might well be, you sit in the wrong part of the train. Well, that happened to me twice. First time, I woke up in Rotterdam when I was supposed to go to The Hague. Second time, I realized in Leeurwarden that I did not arrive in Groningen where Adriana was waiting for me. Fortunately, this beautiful country is so small, that one can still get to the original destination in a short while.
Walking in Amsterdam
The capital Amsterdam is amazing, but it is not the best idea to walk alone through the red-light district as I did. I never got so much attention by girls… Unfortunately, they just wanted my best – my money. Apart from the gorgeous architecture and the lovely canals, I think the smell of weed everywhere is another amazing thing to mention about Amsterdam. However, I personally liked Utrecht and Groningen even more than Amsterdam. These two cities are absolutely stunning and I can totally recommend going there to everybody! Of course, it makes a difference that some of my friends are from there, but trust me – you will not be disappointed!
Inside the Japanese Embassy
Some funny stories had to happen, too. Wandering with Kazuyo through The Hague we decided to watch out for the Japanese embassy. Finally there, we tried to get in and who would have guessed it – after a small talk to a person who did not even speak Japanese, we passed the security check and went straight into the Japanese embassy. Disappointingly, they did not offer Japanese tea or food to us, but it was still cool. In Groningen Adriana, Suzanne and I went to an old church which was under construction. As the girls were good in convincing the caretaker to let us in, we were actually able to go up to a level straight under the roof, which was just there because of the reconstruction. We had a marvelous and unique view over the city from there.
The World is small indeed!
After almost becoming a cappuccino tester, we finally went to an Irish pub and became witnesses of an almost unbelievable coincidence. Not enough that the owner was from Sheffield – no, his girlfriend is actually from Dresden. Just imagine – you visit somebody in the Netherlands who you know from India, who actually knows a bar owner from Sheffield and on top of it this bar owner has a girlfriend from Dresden. The world is small indeed! A big thank you to my hosts Adriana, Karlijn, Kazuyo and Koen last week. I loved every place and you were amazing – all of you!!! You are always welcome to my place – wherever that might be.