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Archive for the ‘Netherlands’ Category

To begin let me introduce you to Laura (the first person with stayed with in Amsterdam) and to Nancy and Hill, the second couple of couchsurfers who welcomed us in the same city. The previous post was already too long to post more pictures. So here they are!


Luis, Hill, Nancy y yo 

 

Laura y yo 

 

Now, time to go on with the trip. On the 18th we headed off to Rotterdam. We took a tram what left us close to the highway entrance. It was really hard to get a ride there because there were no proper places for pedestrians to stand, so we were on the scrub next to the ramp jumping, waving, making funny faces to try to make car stops even at their high speed. A couple of guys, after some 20 minutes, stopped, let us in, and then sent us out of the car (in a nice way) because they were going somewhere else. Back to the sun, the scrub, the jumping and the faces . At that point I was thinking it would have been useful to have a “signs dictionary for hitchhikers”, because it turned out that the thumb up and out was not the only one coming up while hitchhiking. We also got a lot of signs as a response from the drivers not stopping. The signs were, most commonly:

  • hands raised to the height of the face with a eyes like wondering “what can I do? I’m sorry, I cannot give you a ride”

  • right hand up closed in a fist with index finger extended, and turning from outside to inside making a circle like saying “we are just turning around”(!!)

  • thumbs up (WTF?!!!) we are the ones who are supposed to do that!

  • Hands waving “bye”

  • and the one we hated the most: stiff neck, look forward and thought ‘I do not see them, I do not see them, ignored them, ignore them, ignore them”. Of course! This happened after looking at us out of their eye’s corner.

Back to the point, one person finally stopped, that was Patricia Zebeda, a nice woman and director or filenetwerken.nl which you can see in the picture from above.

Patricia left us at the airport, which ended up being a bad idea, or maybe it was just a bad day. At the airport nobody would stop to give you a ride. If you try it, like us, you’ll see: the same taxi drivers going and coming back, cars packed with family who probably came to pick up a relative that hadn’t seen in a long time, business people who came back from a conference or a meeting somewhere in the world, that were just to tired to stop for anybody and who were probably thinking “Finally back to go home to have some rest”. You’ll see everybody but nobody who would give you a ride. In the end, as you can imagine, we gave up. It was easy to do it because the only thing we had to do was to cross the street and get to the train station, right in front of the airport, buy a ticket and go to Rotterdam. So we did. The train was a nice option, because we were tired of the sun, talking (as a hitchhiker you have to talk…is a must), and specially, from the bags on our backs (at this point we had also realized we are not the right people to go backpacking around the world for a year, not even half of it!).

 

Rotterdam

When we got to the city, we were welcomed by tall and modern buildings for which we were happy. The beautiful, old, classic, whatever architecture of the other couple of cities was nice, but we were just bored of it already, and needed a doses of modernism to refresh our sight. Though it was another port city like the previous two, the feeling was different. It was full of Suriname restaurants and people, which made us wonder how come we know nothing about a country that we lived almost next to for more than twenty years!

Though Rotterdam does not resemble any of our current or former hometowns, we spent the two days there feeling it like that: we went clothes and food shopping, we walked around the neighborhood, we had a beer at a small bar a block from the apartment, we watch TV and relaxed. Probably it had to do with the fact that we were staying at Victor’s place, a dutch friend from Tallinn who works with Luis. It was kind of strange to stay at somebody’s place without the person being there. It’s something we hadn’t done before. Though weird, it was good. Two days of hitchhiking backpacking had been enough 🙂 (but it went on!).

Though is kind of embarrassing to say it, in this city our consumer self awake. It might have had to do with all the shops we had a couple of streets from where we were staying. Whatever it was it happened: I went crazy in H&M (my gosh! Is so hard to accept I can be like a…regular woman!) and I also went crazy eating Haagen Dazs whenever I could. Together Luis and I enjoyed the pleasure of eating junk food without having to eat meat at “The King of Falafel” 😀 and finally, we broke the law (without being stopped) by walking around the city drinking beer (uuuh! What a pair, hehehe).

View of Rotterdam

 

Another nice thing while walking around in the city were the signs 🙂 Though we made only the pic of a couple of them, it was common to see funny messages around in billboards and stuff, like this one:

What was not so nice was when, while walking down Witte de Wit, a popular party street, during our last evening in the city, we had three women walking a bit ahead of us, drunk and laughing like fools. They were all dressed up, high heels, perfume and make up, when the one in the middle stops, FARTS!!! and starts laughing louder!! Hahaha! We were both shocked and amused! Specially the last one when the three women noticed they had us behind them! Hahaha!

Next post: going to Belgium!

 


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On Monday 15th Jun 09, at 9:00 a.m. we were ready to hit the road. The key was to find the right spot from which to start hitchhiking and that took about…hm…three hours 🙂 It involved leaving the train station, returning to it after being for an hour at a gas station where it didn’t work, take an S-bahn to Harburg, create a sign with the words “Fahren Sie nach Bremen?” and trash it as that didn’t work either. Little by little we walked up until a spot towards the 75th where a kind soul pitied us and gave us a ride of something like 1000 mt. That was when the real show started. Around 12:30 p.m. Roda, a nice German girl, and our second official ride, took us to a gas station in the middle of the highway E22.
Roda and me 

 

It was 6:00 p.m. and we recharged some batteries buying some chocolate at the

station. Headed to the exit of the parking place and started taking out the thumb again. After some scary minutes where there were no cars passing by often, and the ones passing where at some 200 Km/hr a nice German couple stopped. They were Ulrich and Ingeborg, a nice retired couple that were traveling around for pleasure. Some nice chatting told us they were theologians and that the lady had travel around Netherlands hitchhiking in her youth times 🙂 they dropped us at a spot that was 162 Km from our destiny and that’s where Frank, a former truck driver, and now a mechanic working at Het Motorhuis Langezwaag, picked us. He told us about his love for languages and his experience learning Spanish. And another gas station and here comes our 6th ride, Leo, another mechanic born in Amsterdam, but living somewhere else in peace 🙂 He had also hitchhiked when younger from the Netherlands to Slovakia.

 


Luis, Ulrich and Ingeborg

Frank and me
Leo and me
 

Amsterdam

We were tired and there’s no place we could go to for sleeping, yet. We started wandering around the center and ended up -we swear! It was not intentional!- in the red light district. There we found an Internet café. It was strange and amusing to be sitting in the middle of a bunch of drunk guys, with some girls doing their job outside, and trying to study! 😀 In our couchsurfing account we found, for our relieve, that Laura, another couchsurfer, had replied to our last minute application for a couch. She had been living in Amsterdam for a couple of months, being originally German. She thought a country with people like the Netherlands would suit her better, so we did 🙂 She lived in the northern part of the city, and we had to take a boat to get there. It was a curious place with containers that serve as as student apartments, with all and little windows, electricity and more 🙂 At Laura’s place we were introduced to the vruchtenhagel, some fruit sprinkles used on the toast in the morning, combined with butter, nutella or honey. Sweet as hell, but tasty! Wonderful to start the day.

The vruchtenhagel

After the first night we spent a couple more nights in the nice place of Nancy and Hill, a Colombian and a Dutch also part of the cool couchsurfing members. We had a nice chatting over a couple Heineken worth having in their hometown 🙂

We do think of going back to this city, because we are sure there must be more on it that is not so dirty and corrupted 🙂 So if you have any tips, we’ll be happy to know. I reached Ann Frank house when it was already closed and that’s something I’d like to see. Van Gogh museum and the Royal one is two in the list for future visits to the city.

Next post: on the road to Rotterdam, a new refreshment after all the old architecture!


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