I still haven’t decided if I prefer to call it ‘Holland’ or ‘The Netherlands’. I’m thinking ‘Holland’ because saying “the” Netherlands every time has already gotten old, real fast. So here I finally am, in Holland!
Thankfully, my big backpack was at the airport in one piece. I always get worried that whenever I’m crossing through multiple countries and airlines, my bag and I will end up in two separate places. This was not the case! I grabbed my bag and immediately went to the arrival gate and instantly, I saw this…
It was Shrek and a kitten with a huge sign that had the fugliest pictures of me from last years travels! I fully expected them to have made some sort of sign, however I did not expect to see Hanneke and Mieke dressed in their Halloween costume’s from our party in Kayamandi last October! Even so, I was pretty excited to see them again!
Mieke and Hanneke have both just got back about a month ago from South Africa and have been readjusting to life back home. They’ve been aware of my arrival for months and have prepared for my Dutch invasion. It was 10:30pm or 22:30 and I didn’t know if I was tired or not. I was just excited to be here!
The girls both live in separate student houses in a small town called Ede, which is about an hour east of Amsterdam. That’s where I’ll be residing most of the time, visiting different cities throughout the coming days. I know next to nothing about Holland, so anything and anywhere sounded great!
After passing out for a couple hours, I woke up for a good chunk of the night and fell back asleep well into the afternoon because of jet lag. This was going to take me awhile to adjust to. But the girls didn’t let me sleep too long because they had planned to show me around the area. We first went to visit Mieke’s mom in Dieren where she whipped up a nice lunch for all of us. I was baffled at one of the items in particular…
It’s bread with butter spread and topped with chocolate sprinkles! What the what? Mieke said that it’s typical Dutch to put chocolate sprinkles on your bread for breakfast. So of course I was gonna love it!
After lunch, Mieke’s mom took us to the train station. From there, we took a train to a city called Arnhem, which is the capital of Gelderland. I consider Arnhem just a bigger version of Ede; streets of outdoor malls and lots of grandiose churches with chiming bells. On our venture through the streets, we came across this:
Hallelujah! My first McDonald’s in The Netherlands! I always make it a point to compare the McDonald’s in each country I visit to find the best in the entire world! While still good, this McDonalds was not the best. I anticipated the portions in Europe to be much smaller than they are in America, and I was right about that. A medium size meal was comparable to a Happy Meal at home. But that’s not the only reason why this isn’t ranked a little higher. It’s the simple fact that I had to pay 30 euro cents just to use the restroom! The menu did have a lot of different items you don’t see over in the States; like the lime shake, McKroket, and Bitterballen. Regardless of any faults, any McDonald’s will always be my single most guiltiest pleasure. Typical fat American.
We took the train back to Ede where we relaxed and played games. The next few days, I still had issues waking up for hours in the middle of the night and waking up late in the middle of the day. This is gonna take some adjusting to. But I did have some delicious Dutch delicacies when I was awake. Like this frikandel…
Frikandel is similar to a sausage, except without the skin. It contains chicken, pork, beef, and sometimes horse meat. Rumor has it that frikandel also might contain the eyes of a cow, the intestines of a horse, and the tail of a pig. No one knows for sure. Bitterballen is a deep fried meat-based snack rolled into a ball containing beef or veal. Definitely had an unusual texture but didn’t taste half bad!
On one of the nights, Mieke cooked a wonderful dinner using chicken, beans, pineapple, and potatoes!
By the way, I should mention. Shortly after arriving in Amsterdam, we realized that I never got a visa stamp when exiting the airport. I didn’t even think about it at the time and kind of just walked right on out! I don’t know what this means but in other countries, you usually can’t leave unless you have a stamped visa of some kind. Not sure what the rules are here. If anyone knows, feel free to message me! Both Hanneke and Mieke were confused on how I didn’t have a stamp. When we told other strangers of my predicament, they also thought it was strange and their only piece of advice was to “stay out of trouble!” I could be trapped here in Europe! We’ll see how this plays out later.
Some pretty exciting stuff I must say! 🙂