17 November 2008

Holland (and Germany) post India

After 15 hours, two in flight meals and a movie I land again in Amsterdam Shiphol Airport. Hurray – I am happy that I brought my fleece pullover along. It is 5 degrees Celsius (Fahrenheit = you freeze) and what the pilot calls light rainfall (it is pouring).
I make it to the hotel in the city center and collapse on the double bed. In the past two months I had two afternoons off. Now is the time to sleep.
The next day debriefing and medical screening and a decent dinner. Then I pick up my beloved bicycle again that has waited for me in the office basement. We hug and cuddle and kiss and re-inflate its tyres and load it with all my stuff and off we go direction Utrecht and then Germany. Very fast I notice that the light clothes that I am wearing aren't really what I need in this kind of weather. Well, it wasn't really my plan either to still be in Holland in November. I should be in Italy by now! All my winter stuff is in Norway at my brother's...

Ah, stuff it – I'll do fine. I buy a fleece shawl and leave. The first night I regret not buying more warm clothes – I just returned from 30 degrees Celsius in India! I do freeze and sleep very little. The second night it rains and my clothes and the tent get wet. So I freeze some more, brrrrrrrrrr.

Then after three days I readjust to the climate and the cold weather becomes more bearable. I cycle past Arnhem and then cross the border to Germany in Bocholt. When I stop at the first organic shop to buy some real crusty German whole wheat bread and creamy full fat butter a girl starts talking to me. I am surprised (after all I haven't showered for 5 days and I look and smell it). If I travel far? I normally answer „Morocco“ because then people nod and smile and turn around and leave me alone. Instead, when you tell them you cycle around the world they always ask more questions, one of them being „Why are you doing that?“ I then want to shake them and ask back: „Why do you go to work every f..king day and later watch TV and eat processed, parboiled food when you could do so many other things with your little life?!“ But back to the girl. She says that her boyfriend Nils and she (Caro) just decided to quit their jobs. They each ordered a bicycle and are about to book a flight to Alaska because they want to cycle around the world. And, by the way, if I would need a place to stay, why don't I stay in their flat and we can chat over dinner...
Said – done. Just three hours ago I had found 2 kilograms of Porchini (Steinpilze) right next to the cycle path near the Dutch-German border. Look at that monster-mushroom; almost the size of my head! And not a single worm or maggot in it! With mashed potatoes, sautéed carrots and some wine and onions in the sauce this will make a fantastic dinner for three!

The next day I continue direction Kassel where I plan to visit some very special people. The weather turns rainy again and I prepare for cold and wet nights… and beautiful mornings with dew on the grass and fog caught up between the trees in the distance.

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