Read the story of Paris, Italy, & Germany here:
Finally we are in our last destination of our Europe Journey; NETHERLAND!!!
I always want to visit Netherland in my life because I feel that there must be a lot of connection between us & them due to the colonizations that they did in Indonesia for 2.5 centuries. I believe many culture & habit that we have, some of them are coming from Netherland. Thats why, I always wanna see the country by myself. And here I am, arrive in Schipol International Airport in Netherland from Berlin.
1st thing that I wanna do is.. checking Danone Office! What? The office is in the airport? YES. In Schipol, they have WTC building that some companies rent the office there and Danone is one of them. Me & Ahmad trying to find WTC and we are so excited once we finally get it.. but unfortunately, its Saturday, they are close :(
Danone Place Schiphol from Outside Window
After exploring Schipol that quite big, we buy a train ticket from Schipol to Amsterdam 3.90 Euro. One funny thing; here if we buy ticket from the machine it will be cheaper that buy from the counter ticket from the staff. So, if you have coin & exact money to buy ticket, I suggest you to not lining in the operational staff to buy ticket but buy it in the machine.
Starting the morning by exploring Amsterdam directly! From Amsterdam Centraal Station, we walk through and found many trem (train in the street), many people, many bikes, many shops! One word for Amsterdam in my 1st sight: CROWDED! I feel like in Jakarta, I feel like seeing the future of Jakarta with a lot of people passing by, together with trem-bikes-car on the road, trying to spare the street. Many times, I almost hit by the bikes that drive so fast. Remind me of motorcycle in Jakarta.
We walk to the canals, avenue to avenue, and because this is the tourism area, we found a lot of people! We finally decide to eat in Thailand Restaurant. In the end, we found out that this restaurant is one of the best Thai food in the city. We order tomyam mushroom, fried rice, and spring roll. Yumm! At first, we want to eat Indonesian food but the restaurant that we saw already close.
From this place, we walk until we find Dam Square, Royal Palace, and Nieuwe Kerk. We also pass Red Light District that famous with the marijuana & woman :D A lot of tourist visit this place, we saw a lot of woman behind the glass door offer their body for tourist.
We took a trem to go to that famous “I AMSTERDAM” statue near Museumplein where we can find Anne Frank museum as well. As predicted, a lot of people are here to just taking picture with this statue. It takes sometime for us to find space to take photo :D
After that we take a trem again to just go around Amsterdam and we saw the street with all Indonesia island on it e.g Javastraat, Maluccastraat, Sumatra, etc. I feel the connection! One thing that I realize and pretty sure we have connection as well is how friendly people in Amsterdam, they are very helpful. Even without asking for help, when they see we look confuse, sometime they ask us if we need help. The people there also sometime just pass the street even though the light is red (sign to stop), I enjoy this moment when I feel like in Jakarta but with different kind of people.
We ended up also in a garden called “Vondelpark”. We are so shock when we see the garden full of people! Is this a market or what?! In the end, we finally now that today is the 1st day where the sun rises after long rain in previous days. OH thats why a lot of people going out today!
In the evening, our train from Amsterdam-Harleem (the city next to Amsterdam) take us to Haarlem for only 20 minutes journey and we take a bus from Haarlem station to the 1st bus stop in Oranjestraat. When we get down, a hug welcome us! From our lovely host that I found from Couchsurfing named “Anne”. Anne then bring us to her warm home! :)
Me : “Whats the connection of this city and Harlem Shake?”
Anne: “Hahaha. No connection at all. It just similar name with Harlem in US. But this Haarlem is using two A.”
Me : “Ooh thats why they pronounced it a bit long in the word “Haar” before they say “Lem”
Thats the beginning of our productive yet fun conversation in her warm home after we eat lasagna and now enjoying a cup of tea. Anne stay with Auke, her partner and Anne now in 6 month pregnancy. She is a doctor in general hospital.
Anne: “You know what, I try to stop hosting lately because I want to focus on my pregnancy. But you know why I cannot refuse you?”
Me: “Umm. Why so?”
Anne: “Its because you guys are Indonesian! My grandpa used to be a minister in Solo back then in colonizations & I used to get many help from Couchsurfer in Indonesia when I did my travel to Indonesia for 1 month. I just cannot say no to you guys..”
Me & Ahmad laughs. See, another connection that we feel in Holland! And we should thank of this connection! That night, our first time meeting with Anne & Auke, just feel like we already know each other for years. In fact, only couple hours ago. Both of us are stranger to them and they let us get in to their home, eat their food, drink their tea, take shower in their bathroom, use the computer, and finally, sleep in their unique room in the attic! This is what I love about Couchsurfing and how beautiful is it. :)
This is HAARLEM in the evening :)
3) Keukenhof & Leiden
I love the feeling when you wake up in different country, not in your own room/bed, and somebody speaking in different language with you. This is one of my favorite yet strange moment of traveling! :))
Taking shower in Anne bathroom remind me of taking shower in Cathy’s bathroom (my host family in Canada when I was in Canada World Youth program) because the style is so similar. Haha sounds silly but it really make me wanna live aboard again.
Anne said that we can eat&drink everything from the fridge so I make my morning toast with milk and drink orange juice afterwards. This moment of breakfast, also remind me of having breakfast in Cathy’s home. Ah, another program sick just coming up! Wake up, Dini!
Anne have to leave the home before us and yeah we leave the home after her! Can you imagine, a stranger in your home – having breakfast – browsing map on the internet – drink your milk – and you are not even in your home? How could you trust this person? :D That is Couchsurfing! That is how strong & beautiful the relationship in Couchsurfing that make people believe in you in a second.
SHIT HAPPEN. I left my wallet in the home & once we go out from the home, we cannot open the door again. Its locked automatically. HA! So here we go, walking to Anne’s workplace (in a hospital), taking the key – going back to Anne’s home to take the wallet – then going back to her hospital again to give the key back. Lesson learned: Re-check everything is already in your bag before you left the home hehe.
Our first destination: KEUKENHOF! Taking only 1 time bus and walk for around 2.5 km until we finally see this flower garden. So beautiful :)) This place is so touristic. Many buses with tourist all over the world came here to see this big & beautiful garden. If we come 3 weeks later from now, maybe we can see the full blooming flowers of Keukenhof big garden :)
If you happen to come to Netherland & you love to see the garden & flowers, you definitely have to see Keukenhof! May-June is the best timing for Keukenhof visit when the flowers blooming.
After Keukenhof, we taking a bus to Leiden. Leiden is the city after Keukenhof. What a perfect trip from Harleem – Keukenhof – Leiden. We arrive in Leiden Centraal station & we directly found a place to eat near the station because its lunch time! Ahmad have a lecture from UNPAD that study in Leiden University, thus we wait for him to take us to a short tour in Leiden.
When he finally come with his wife, he take us to a short tour to Leiden downtown. Sightseeing to Leiden University, see the library which has the biggest literacy & archive about Indonesia (yes, this is happen because when Netherland colonized us, they write everything about Indonesia & they bring it back to Netherland). We also visit the old windmill, the hometown of Rembrandt , one of the great painter from Leiden. He explain to us anything about Leiden even though in a very short time but I think its a very efficient short trip to Leiden :) My impression: I like how Leiden is really a good environment for study & the city is so nice, its not crowded like Amsterdam, the people are friendly & warm, the city is so classic especially the fact that it has a lot of poetry that people paint in Leiden’s wall (isn’t that cooooool?). That’s why many people want to go to Leiden to study. Many Indonesians study in Leiden University as well.
We met Ahmad lecture’s family before we left Leiden. We met his wife that is now studying in Leicester, UK. So they are both study in Europe & every 2 weeks, the husband visit Leicester to meet the wife & his 3 kids. That is so cool, I always want to do it once I have a family. I imagine me & my husband taking school aboard & we living our family aboard, spending life sometime in Europe / US before we come back to Indonesia. Hehehe. The family treat us with Herring Fish!!!! A very famous & original fish from Netherland! My impression: I LOVE HERRING!!! Ahmad hate it & struggling to eat it while I enjoy it so much. Hmmm when I write this, I imagine myself chewing a herring fish haha!
Ahmad’s lecture treat our train from Leiden – Amsterdam! Thats the kind of him :) We leave Leiden after the lecture said, “You have to come back here soon to continue your study! In Leiden or any part of Europe!” We said AMIN very loud after his saying that sentence :D
Why we come back to Amsterdam? Because we want to buy Souvenirs! Haha. We take 3 hours in Amsterdam to enjoy the city before we left Netherland tomorrow. Pancake become our last food in Amsterdam before we left the city to come back to Haarlem.
RED LIGHT District, Amsterdam in the afternoon + Our Pancake!
Its around 7pm in the night but still so bright when we arrive in Haarlem. We come back to Anne home with the warm greeting from Anne. She suggest us to go out & see Haarlem now before the dawn. So, me & Ahmad taking our own short tour to Haarlem with the Lonely Planet book that Anne has (this book really help us during the journey today as well). We saw the old windmill thats not working anymore (that is now become a museum!), we saw the downtown where the shops are, we saw the church that become one of UNESCO Heritage, and one thing that excite us.. the bridge that can separate with the very cool technology when the big boat passing the under bridge!
After a very tired yet FUN trip with a lot of walk today, we ended up cooking Indomie that we buy from Amsterdam this evening HAHA! Anne make a hot tea for both of us & we spend the last night in her living room with a very warm conversation & discussion about many things like religion, pregnancy in Indonesia & Netherlands, colonizations, traveling, career, life, faith, love, marriage, food, etc. This is a type of host that I really like; the host who really love making conversation with their traveler :)
In the morning, we left Anne house after a warm hug & goodbye. We left a mug & the cute doll inside that we got from a shop in Amsterdam yesterday for Anne’s baby. Hoping that it will be a reminder of our short visit to Anne’s lovely home :)
We are heading to Amsterdam Centraal from Haarlem by bus to take the train. Where you going again, Dini? Going home. Yes. We going back to Paris to catch our flight from Paris to Indonesia. Meeting with those 5 kiddos, the Winner of Danone Young Social Entrepreneur, again after we separated in Rome.
One of the reason why we choose to take a train from Amsterdam – Paris is because we want to see the cities between Amsterdam & Paris especially for me, I wanna see Brussels if I am lucky!
Our Train is comiiing! :)
Seeing Brussels a bit from my train! :)
Finally, almost the end of my Europe Journey! I will write one more post about Europe Journey to complete the Episode of Europe :) The last post will be the very last hours in Paris when we come back before we go to the airport to catch our flight to Indonesia! Also, I will give you the link to the video of LOST IN PARIS made by talented UNPAD students; Riyan & Sheffa :)
See more photos here: