A short but fine adventure by Cloris
  • Day4

    Hiking Day in Forests

    January 20, 2018 in the Netherlands ⋅ ☁️ 2 °C

    Rijssen is a town surrounding by forest where nothing but pine trees and mosses grow. The town feels like those old English country town where people stay at home most of the time. They only go out a couple of hours a day to shop or meet friends. The weather is way too cold!

    I woke up at 5.30am and accepted the fact that I would just read and go for a morning walk when the day breaks. I went out at 7.30am and walked into a pine tree forest down the road. I love the smell of nature, the mosses that is typical in Europe, the majestic of trees that have no leaves.

    We went out to another national park later that morning. Again, we jumped through or bent under fallen trees, bush bashing without worrying about snakes. We walked up a hill and looked back down to the meadow in the valley. I was sure summer time would be a nice picnic area for families, yet the solemn of winter gave the area a different flavour.

    After the walk, Niels took me to the War Memorial for Canadian. The solitude of tomb stones commemorating soldiers who died way to young as part of the allied who would liberate Europe from the Nazis. Sacrificed in WWII (1939-1945), 1,300 souls are buried in a country that they know very little about. The air was bitterly cold; War is an awful thing.

    Rijssen is a small traditional Christian town where church life plays an important part in people's lives. Even among the churchgoers, protocol of how you live your life differentiate one church from another. With a more traditional church, ladies must wear skirts at all times; they must wear nice clothes to the church; you are not allowed to travel on cars nor walk too fast to the church. Like Shabbat and ultra Orthodox Jews lives, strict rules applied on Sundays. I witnessed this on the morning I left Rijssen. Men and women dressed up with suits, nice coat, beautiful skirts and petty hats were walking towards the traditional church where Niels lives.

    We had nice toasties at the Center of town. Gosh, the art of simple food! Toasted bread with Brie melted in the middle, top with walnut and honey. I should try this at home as long as I can deal with the calories quota.

    Looking outside of the window, the town was bleak and forlorn. People were dashing around doing their usual weekend shopping in the town Center. We walked into the adjacent church where a lovely Dutch lady showed us around and narrated stories of this church. With the pipe organ playing holy songs to god, the coat of arms on the wall, the protocol of where aristocratic families should sit, this is what I miss about Europe!

    Second hand shop was a big thing in Rijssen. I love the feeling of treasure hunt and paying fraction of the price for a good find. I decided not to buy the Delft blue plate - one less item that has no sentimental value that I need to worry about when I need to move again. I got a Dutch beer glass and an d tin with images of Rijssen and Twente. Simple things that made great joy.

    I was pretty exhausted at the end of the date. I felt asleep while reading the Prince. That was a damn hard book to read.

    Although short, it was sweet. I would fly over thousand miles to do this again. This trip affirms my love affair to Europe. My abundance mindset, my intention, would one day bring me back to live in Europe.
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  • Day3

    Scenic road trip

    January 19, 2018 in the Netherlands ⋅ ⛅ 5 °C

    This morning, I woke up at 5am! Another early morning stroke around the neighbourhood before taking a tran to central Amsterdam.

    After saying goodbye to everyone, Niels and I made our way to Rijssen via scenic routes.

    Firstly we went to a medieval castle near Weeps. Although small, I always enjoyed all things medieval. The mist hanging low over the field, the winding waterway, a vast inner ocean in the background, the bitterly winter cold all made the scene very ... European. I was still gasping the fact that I was in Europe, with Niels, for a very short time.

    We then made our way to a seaside town Volendam. I was pretty sure I visited to this town last time when gusty wind was blowing my head off. The weather had been kind to me; we could sit outside of a pub enjoying the balmy weather under the warmth of the sun.

    We then crossed this very long bridge to the Eastern part of the Netherlands. We were on the bridge as the storm was closing in. It was a dreamy sight to see a dark cloud in a distant, hanging on top of the sea and apparently dumping rain into the vast water underneath. Although I knew it already, I also felt surreal to drive on a path that water was above on both sides.

    We finally arrived at Rijssen at 6pm. Niels' parents, Will and Marianne were kind enough to cook me dinner. Again, Dutch food is simple: frozen fish fillet, fried potato and salad. People here choose to live a simple life, which most people in my life could not even contemplate.

    This bought me back to the conversation I had with this Chinese founder at the AI luncheon at AFF. He was after making money, complicated food (seafood and meat that mixed with lots of saucers), cashless payment, logistics for ECommerce to help people buy more things they don't need online. His friend criticised how backwards is Europe where you can see conductors on the train and the billboard was those old mechanic board. The conversation followed by the MIT professor's presentation on how robot will transform our lives. I do not like any of this at all! This may be an age thing, but the older I get, the more I want to live a simple and caring life. We should enjoy life and love people we spend time with. Why do we want to live in a complicated society advancing yet being fear of being taken over by robots? All is vain.

    Back to the dinner. We preyed before and after dinner. I could see how a tradition is being carried down generations in Europe and how important is Christian faith in European's life. I like the stories from the Old Testament. Most answers to my puzzles could be answered from within. However, I would never read the New Testament as I found it to be idolised by worshipping a man of priest at most.

    I stayed at Niels' little granny flat not far from his parents' place. Good on him to move out and have a space of his own. We started watching House of Card and I could not last for 10min before passing out on the sofa. I had a good sleep of 7hr on a simple sofa :)
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  • Day2

    The day of the Storm

    January 18, 2018 in the Netherlands ⋅ ⛅ 3 °C

    Feeling blessed to be able to travel to Europe for 4 days - loving the experience although Ling flight

    Dutch does not glue to their phones

    I woke up at 6am. Outside, the wind was blowing wildly. I thought this was just another typical Dutch morning! Little did I know this was one of the worst storm in northern Europe in the past 10 years! Since I could not sleep, I left early to explore Amsterdam. Gee, the weather was not too cold but the wind was strong. I could see the water in the canal flowing unusually fast - water in canals do not normally flow at all. As I walked around, I could see people getting off their bikes and pushing up a small bridge. I thought to myself, "They are weak." Later I found out the wind was blowing at 70km/hr! Luckily I did not take up Niels offer to see the storm from the seaside.

    I spent half of the day in Rij Museum. My favourite is still the Medieval and Renaissance period. I am still fascinated by how religion dominated people's everyday life back in those days (and even today!). Another interesting period is the little ice age around the 14th to 19th Century. A small collection depict the lives during that period and how the Dutch made the most out of the frozen canal. I have also learnt some history Dutch lessons about William the Orange, the forming / breaking of the Netherlands. The museum is no British museum nor the Louvre museum, but I have learnt more about the Dutch story and history from a different lense.

    After the museum, I was walking around trying to get some food. Dutch food is pretty simple: fries, baked potato, sausage or bread. I loved the cafes though; every corners is filled with coffee shop serving good coffee and mouth watering bakery. I sat in a cafe with a cup of coffee and a croissant, planning my way back to the boat. We were supposed to be in Harlem from 5pm and it would take an hour to get there. As I started finding my way back and was looking forward to sitting inside a warm tram to get back, I realised there was no public transport! I had to walk in the rain for an hour to get back, jumping over fallen down bicycles and scooters.

    When we settled in a brewery in Centrum Amsterdam due to no one could make it to Harlem, we shared our stories on this unusual stormy day. Ariel went to Leiden to buy antique postcards and could not make his way back till 11pm! He definitely has a good story to share when he gets back home.

    I did not last very long this second evening, and went to back at 10pm. The noise of Americans could not even disturb my sound sleep.
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  • Day1

    Weesp - the Wedding

    January 17, 2018 in the Netherlands ⋅ ⛅ 5 °C

    CX landed nice and early into Schipol airport. By the time I reached Weeps, it was just daybreak and I could barely make out of the roads and canals. I dragged along the giant suitcase around town for a while, trying to figure out where we were supposed to meet. In the end, I came back to the cafe where the breakfast would be held and met a couple of Leiman's fellow Americans.

    The signing of paperwork at the Town Hall was relatively short and uneventful. We walked back to the cafe where Denise's friend started to arrive. The tiny cafe was cozy and quint. The venue was nicely decorated with Dutch, American and Israeli flags. Simple traditional Dutch breakfast of cheese and bread were served to the guests. OMG, Dutch knows how to make great coffee!

    My drag leg wasn't too bad due to I had a solid 5hr sleep on the plane with extra leg rooms! After the breakfast, I walked around the tranquil town for about 1.5hr, embracing the sun, rain and hail.

    I ran into Adam at the train station and we got back to the party tall ship together. Wasted no time, I went out for a walk. I went random directions, I took turns whenever I saw interesting things. No matter how many time I have been in Amsterdam, this city still presents dazzling beauties at every corner.

    The evening was a dinner at an Indonesian restaurant with guests from the morning. Niels showed up after the dinner. It was very nice for him to come given that he had a flu the day before and was too sick to attend the wedding. I felt blessed to see him again.

    So as the day ends, two of my fellow kibbutz friends are married.
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