#2 Netherlands

 

So I have arrived in The Netherlands safe and sound (my mom will be so happy). The flight was easy from JFK to Dusseldorf Germany. I was supposed to get on my connecting flight from there to Vienna, but as stated previously plans have changed. Chris and Elizabeth were still back in the states and I would have a few days staying at their house alone before they returned. I would use that time to somewhat put together a game plan of where and when I was going to go surf (as The Netherlands actually has worse surf than N.Y.). I had a weak printout from google maps roughly describing how to get to my intended destination at my friend Chris' place in a town called Leiden roughly half way in between Den Haag and Amsterdam. I think I was a bit weary from my flight and in somewhat of a dream state. I think I took 2 or 3 different trains before I pulled into the station in Leiden, but if you asked me now I could not remember my exact route. I also don’t remember having a single problem toting my Carbon Compact board; no extra fees, and no strange looks (it just looks like a big backpack not any bigger than the ones Europeans are used to seeing strapped to backpackers regularly). Upon exiting the train I was immediately grateful for having decided to bring my knee length rain parka as it was raining pretty hard and I hadn’t a solid idea of where I was headed.

With my crappy printout I was able to navigate my 20 minute walk with only one wrong turn and when I put the key Chris had given me in the lock and it turned, I was ecstatic! I had been traveling for an entire day; I was wet, cold, and tired. I stepped inside and turned on the heat. Chris and Elizabeth have a beautiful place on the top floor of an old 3 story building overlooking a cobblestone street adjacent to a pub and a church. I began to unload my meager belongings and start to settle in. I want to use my time wisely and prepare for the rest of my travels as I doubt I will have such idyllic, peaceful surroundings for my entire trip.

 

Mike Becker