We had an amazing weekend visiting our friends Charlie and Zita in Deurne, Holland! We traveled there by train and I loved every minute of it! Being able to look out the window and see all the small towns and scenery we passed was beautiful. Saturday after we arrived to their house, we walked into town to enjoy some traditional Dutch beer and appetizers (think fried meat and cheese) before enjoying a delicious dinner prepared by Zita which featured the Dutch specialty, white asparagus. Saturday brought a day of touring the nearby Holland country side/small towns and really seeing and experiencing the lifestyle here. Some of the highlights was traveling by ferry back and forth over the Maas River, enjoying drinks at a local brewery right on the river, and visiting an old original castle. Sunday night I ate the best meal of my life at a local Dutch restaurant.
All in all, my reactions of small town Holland is that I really love their lifestyle. Their towns are so organized and perfect and the people there have so much pride in their country. The Netherlands is small yet millions of people live there making it the most densely populated country in Europe. Due to this, they use every single inch of their land to the fullest. The houses are charming and the gardens are impeccable. The farms are so small compared to US farms but every single one of them is kept so well. They also rode bikes or walked everywhere. I fell in love with small town Holland!
On Monday we traveled to Amsterdam. It was quite different from where we came from and at first that was quite the shock. There were so many people in such a small area and it was quite overwhelming. The amount of people, bikes, trams, trains, cars and construction make it very intimidating to try and get anywhere but once you figure it out, its not that bad. Early Tuesday morning, we had the opportunity to tour the Anne Frank house which was very impactful and interesting to experience. We also went on a super fun bike tour through the city where we were able to see all the major sights of the city and attempt fitting into the bike culture. Surprisingly, we learned that there are only an average of 5 deaths a year in Amsterdam due to bike accidents! With how crazy it was, that is hard to believe.
All in all, Amsterdam was quite the experience. It is such a carefree city and here anything goes. I think what I have been most impacted here is just the mentality they have that everyone is welcome as long as they are not harming another. Basically, their mentality is that you do what you like and I'll do what I like and as long as you don't harm me and I don't harm you, we can be friends! I think that is a good mentality and everyone can use a reminder to be more open minded.
Next up, we are heading back to Germany to tour down the Rhine river before heading over to Munich!