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Nederland

Around the World

11 June 2017

Day #11 – Rotterdam, Netherlands. I left Boston on a rainy Monday evening. It was a good send off from the few people I know in that city.

Since it was a night flight to Oslo, the intention was to sleep, but rarely does that ever happen for me on a plane. I arrived in Oslo, Norway at 10:15 am local time, made it through immigration without too much difficulty. The Immigration official looked at me funny when I told her I was flying one-way, but after she thumbed through the pages of my passport another stamp was added to my collection.

Markthal

Rotterdam, Nederlands

I don’t recommend spending a nine-hour layover anywhere, but if I had to pick an airport, Oslo would be at the top of the list. I was originally going to take a train into the city for the day and meet up with a Couch Surfing host. Didn’t see any harm in hoping to have a coffee and stroll the city’s parks, but as the time arrived, it seems I was either forgotten or stood up. This led to a reexamination of finances, after which I decided a $40 round-trip train ticket to the city was too much to spend for a six-hour sight-seeing tour.

I hunkered down for the extended stay and replayed images of The Terminal in my head until 18:35 rolled around and I was on my way to Amsterdam. It was only while flying into Amsterdam that this trip became a solidified adventure. Every now and then I have a distinct feeling and question what it is I’ve been planning to do for the last few months, and then I realize I’m already on my way and there’s no turning back from here.

Wouter met me at the airport that evening. It was good to see another Camino brother again. We rode the train to Utrecht and spent the night joking around and reminiscing about that long and beautiful walk through Spain. Thankfully I’ve made a good number of friends across this continent and Wouter was the first planned stop on the list. I didn’t even try to make plans with anyone else until I touched down over here. Then, despite my weariness, I reached out to a few different people and the calendar finally colored itself in with confirmations from friends I haven’t seen for almost two years.

Back in Boston, Jay introduced me to a friend of his, Anne, who was leaving for the Netherlands only a day before me. As hoped, we did reconnect once I arrived in Utrecht and I spent the night at their place in village of Ermelo. The simple delights of food and friends go a long way on a trip like this. We arrived at the house to find her husband Jan busy preparing a multi-course dinner for us. I’ll let you judge from the pictures to determine the measure of it’s deliciousness.

After another night in Utrecht, Wouter and I made our way to Rotterdam for a weekend visit with his mother. I stayed here with him and Jay about 18 months ago. I’ll be here in Rotterdam until Monday and I’ll spend one more night in Utrecht before taking a train to Cologne, Germany on Tuesday. I’m still navigating some really comfortable terrain at the moment. I’ve got friends in all these places so far, all of which I’ve made while walking the Camino those many months ago. But the time is coming when I’ll be walking off on my own. For now, I’m enjoying the quiet, comfortable moments shared with friends I’ve been parted from for too long.

Lage Bergsche Bos

Rotterdam, Nederland

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