We headed from rotterdam to a place called noordwijk (pronounced nord-wick by most and nord-vike by some). The first hostel we stayed at was incredibly sterile and over-run by children and 50 somethings on a bus tour – not exactly my scene. We wandered into the nearest town (1.5 hour walk, the gut is dwindling away) and found a flying pig hostel that was strangely enough full of americans. We liked the atmosphere and made plans at once to stay the next night because we had already paid for that evening at the boring hostel.
After a long walk back, we stepped into our 16 bed room to drop off some stuff and started talking to our new roommates. It turns out that they are traveling on severence pay as well. Their company was bought by earthlink and then they closed down the office they were in. They were planning on taking the trip to europe anyway but just did it sooner than they expected. The guy’s name was pat and he is a tall lanky guy with black hair that was always a touch messy. The girl’s name was carmen and she is an average height girl with bright blue hair (really blue). They were thrilled to find out about the pig in town and decided to follow us there the next day.
We took a cab in the morning (yes, the evening was so dull it’s not worth a mention) and I immediately realized that I had left my notebook and a wad of money under my pillow at the previous place… The walk is about an hour and a half and the cab was 25 gilder (about US $10). Erik and I decided to rent scooters and tour the country-side and make our first stop the previous hostel. Luckily, nobody had cleaned our room yet so all my stuff was still there.
The scooters were crazy. We were told that you drive on the street in cities and in the bike lanes outside the city. That was about the extent of our “training” for these things. We hopped out on the road and took off to the loud exhaust whine of the tiny motor. Road signs are a pretty universal thing and usually they are quite obvious in their intent. We had a few times that we just weren’t sure what was supposed to happen, however. Signs direct scooters onto and off of the bike path at various times (EVERY city we’ve been to here has HUGE bike paths. There is usually more room for bikes and pedestrians than cars) and sometimes we’d catch them sometimes we’d miss them and realize we were in the wrong place. If you follow the scooter paths, you take a more roundabout path than you do if you drive. This is because some roads only have a scooter path on one side so you have to go around to the other side to get going in the right direction, but you have to circle up to an intersection, go under a bridge, make three 90 degree turns, then turn around and you’re finally lined up for the path! It does make for a fun time on the scooter, though.
We got stuck in noordwijk aan zee (noordwijk on the sea) at the flying pig. The group of people was fun and entertaining and it was just easy to stay. We could daytrip to places quite easily from there and it only cost $10/night for a bed. It is, however, time to move on. I can just tell that it’s starting to get to me that we aren’t seeing more – erik commented the same thing today. We were going to head to southern netherlands and stay in a castle-hostel, but we need to get the hell out of dodge. Tomorrow it’s belgium (bruges) and from there we are looking at germany.
The updates should start coming regularly again as the places we’ll be going should have decent internet cafes. I’ll report when more exciting things happen!