Of all the countries I've set foot in, I now have a favorite: the Netherlands. Of course I love England—I wouldn't be living there if I didn't—and France, and Normandy, and Belgium were beautiful, but there's nothing like the homeland. Almost 100% Dutch, I can claim my origins in this country regardless of whether I speak the language—Dutch is not a pretty language anyways. It is because I have roots in this beautiful land that I fell in love with it.
Over a course of 3 days, I fell in love with small town Netherlands. After Oost-Souburg, we visited a number of little towns including Oudewater where the houses leaned forward and the canals ran brown—we saw our first stork nest on top of the church, and I was quite surprised by its size; Soestduinen where we slept in the outskirt forests in a luxurious hotel surrounded with biking paths; Giethoorn which is the Dutch Venice with narrow, winding canals, arched bridges, and tiny cottages with thatched roofs—the peace and quiet of the simple town was refreshing; Elburg where we ate gelato for dinner; and Harderwijke where the constantly red street-lights and road blockades refused to let us drive through the city center—again, we found ourselves driving the wrong direction on one-way streets. The towns were endless.
Though we could have explored these small towns for days, we made our way towards Amsterdam, stopping for a few hours in Keukenhof—the famous tulip garden. As spring had only just begun, the tulips were fresh bloomers outside, peaking their heads up from the ground. However, in the indoor greenhouses, the fantastic tulips stood as tall as my waist, blooming with a vibrant radiance. For hours, we wandered the beautifully decorated gardens, admiring the signs of spring and appreciating the warm sun on our faces.
|I finally got to pet a spring lamby!|
The Netherlands was my favorite country, connecting with me on many levels, so when I said goodbye, I shed a few tears. But saying goodbye to my parents at the end of Amsterdam was far more difficult, as I wanted to continue sharing my experiences with them rather than write my experiences to them as I do to many. However, our memories of our time in the motherland will last a lifetime and I will cherish the adventures forever!