My big trip has finally begun with The Netherlands or Holland as my first stop. The view from the sky (aeroplane) gave me impression that the country was a well organised country with lots of green area and good irrigation. Landed at Schipol airport, Amsterdam, I could not wait to take train to go to Wageningen to meet and stay with a good friend of mine for two days. As expected, the airport and train station was neat and tidy with clear signs to follow. Although English is not Holland’s first language, everyone here speak very good English. The people were very friendly and always willing to help a visitor like me. I got through the immigration without any problem and soon found the train to take and the way to the platform. The helpful signs and friendly Netherlanders gave me immediate fondness towards the place. Perhaps because I am Indonesian raised with Dutch influence due to our country connection.
I loved the view from the train; lots of green paddocks with good irrigation and cows in it. Arriving at Ede-Wageningen train station, I looked for a bus that would take me to my friend’s place. Perhaps because of pity (or kindness) seeing an Asian girl carrying a big backpack, the driver gave me a free ride to my destination. Being one of the student cities, it has diverse student accomodation. My friend lived in a studio which actually is a room in a big metal container. Nonetheless, it was very cosy and the window let us star gaze in clear night sky!
Wageningen was really nice. I realise that most houses (if not all) are made of bricks or have brick outer appearance with colours ranging from white, brick colour, brown to black with variety of cement colour too. Houses and apartments have big windows. Each house have beautiful well maintained garden with colourful flowers and many apartments have hanging pots for plants in their balcony. BEAUTIFUL!
I did not see many cars being parked in the houses garages or parkways. Apparently the number of bicycle in Netherlands is double the number of the people. Most Netherlanders use bike as their main mode of transport. From the young to the old ones, they biked faster than I was. I am tempted to put the blame on the bike, but deep down I know that the cause of my not so fit body! Bike lane can be found in almost every street, highway, in town or in the city. I love biking here with the fresh air to breath in and beautiful scenery and architecture to spoil my eyes. Just like the bus driver, other people that I met during my time here were really nice. I was certain that I could have lived in this small city!
The next day I invited my friend to join me on my bike adventure to De Hoge Veluwe which was about 23 km away from where we stayed. My friend had two bikes, so she lent me one of hers. We biked for about 15 km in the park which looked like big brown field (perhaps because it was autumn there) with no exciting creatures, except some black bugs crawling on the ground. We biked about 60 kms that day. I certainly overestimate my own ability. The last 10 km perhaps was the hardest biking in my life! Thank God my legs and thighs were fine for my next long day walk in Amsterdam the next day.
1 October 2015