Monday, July 19, 2010

May 13th: Adventure Trekkers

I...could probably write a novel about this 36 hour camping extravaganza but, for the purpose of this blog I will summarize it with one humorous anecdote.

Matthias and I can make magic happen if we are both on our game at the same time. Coordinating this takes significant effort from both parties and a load of patience. It is, however, absolutely worth it. After failing to camp on my third to last day in the Netherlands, we refused to fail again. So as mentioned in May 12th, we hit the computer and I wrote ALL of the important times and prices in my sketchbook. We reserved our campsite, destination: VLIELAND (check out the Dutsch Frisian Islands online and you'll want to go too...)

8:17 train to Centraal
8:42 train to Den Helder
9:56 arrive in Den Helder
10:30 ferry to Texel
11:00 arrive on Texel, rent bikes ride 20.4 km to De Cocksdorp
14:30-15:00 arrive in De Cocksdorp
??? Ferry to Oost Vlieland, walk to campsite

Since we both had gear to carry on our backs, I made only one request. Statement, rather. We are not running to catch ANYTHING. We go in enough time to walk.

With nearly everything packed and ready to go the next morning, we hustled it out the door and powerwalked to Muidepoort, bleary eyed and off to a decent start. We even made the rest of our connections with only a few sweaty moments before the first ferry! Upon our arrival on Texel, however, Matthias made an expert suggestion. Let's take the bus to De Cocksdorp. Done. We cruised gently through the grassy knolls of Texel watching sheep and quaint housing pass quietly by. It was nice to sit instead of bike as we had originally planned.

Cool! So it was like, 11:15 and we were already in De Cocksdorp, jumpoff point to the island we were camping on. You will notice on my plan that there are question marks instead of a time. This is because Matthias called several times and could not get ahold of anyone related to this ferry. We figured it would be no big deal. High season is approaching. So we waltzed into this little house of a ferry station and announced that we would like to go to Vlieland, please. The woman behind the desk looked at us incredulously.

Dutch Lady: "Today?"
Caitlin or Matthias: "Um....yes please. (conveying panic through peripheral vision) Our camping reservation is this evening."
Dutch Lady: "Oh. Okay. Then at 5 o'clock you get on the little boat to the beach here and then you take the adventure trekker half an hour to the village in the middle then you rent bikes or walk where you need to go"
Caitlin or Matthias: "We can't....go any earlier?"
Dutch Lady: "No, you go today, you go at 5 o'clock."
Caitlin or Matthias: "It's....not possible to go to the main town, Oost Vlieland directly with the ferry? (The map had shown us a dotted line right there)"
Dutch Lady: "WHAT DO YOU WANT?"
Caitlin or Matthias: (turn to each other, wide eyed) "....two....adults for the adventure trekker at 5 o'clock please. Thank you."

Hahahaha, so she fortunately let us leave some of our gear under a bench there and we were off to kill about five hours in De Cocksdorp. Which actually wasn't so bad. We ate our lunch. We drank our beers on the beach. We realized all Dutch children are blonde. ALL OF THEM. We walked through the village. We chatted with a Dutch guy in German. We ate Patatjes and drank sodas. We postulated about the Adventure Trekker. We looked at souvenirs. We drank hot cocoa and flipped through fashion magazines. We arrived anxiously at the ferry station well before 5 o'clock, but were kindly tolerated and allowed to board.

Turns out we were the only ones headed to Vlieland. Everyone else was on their way back. AWESOME. So we had the ferry to ourselves AND the entire Adventure Trekker. Which turned out to be a ginormous desert beast of a vehicle driven by a seemingly omniscient Dutch man. He even drove us right to the dunes where we could simply disembark into our campsite! No bike renting/middle village debacles. And considering it was nearly 6:30 by the time we arrived, we were grateful.

Vlieland is beautiful. The pictures barely begin to describe what an idyllic place it was. The entire campground was filled healthy, happy Dutch families playing together in the waning northern light. There were miles of unoccupied white sand beach bordered by a navy, brooding sea. It wasn't even that cold. So we pretended that all of the other days we had been planning on camping, it must have been terrible weather. Hurricanes. Floods. Tigers were eating people. So we had to come for only one night instead.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Man of the Future

I had many theories about this photograph upon reception, including: aliens have arrived, chosen Berlin as their dropoff point and Germans must wield weaponry shirtless to prove their prowess in battle. Or at least defend the more helplessly lounging folk in the fountain with rigor. Elaborately photoshopped hoax also crossed my mind, I have no recollection of this Neptune fountain anywhere near the iconic TV tower. Turns out, it's just my fiancé in a tiny scarf, demonstrating against the man on a hot day with a squirtgun. The simplest explanation is always the winner, isn't it?

Monday, July 5, 2010


Pretty much the only thing I wanted to do when I woke up today was bake an American flag made entirely of mini cupcakes. So I called Shola. We made it happen. It was a big hit at the BBQ. 'Merica!
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