Visiting the Dutchland

A few days before Christmas, I once again escaped the confines of my little village and ventured out to explore the big, wide world. Well, okay, actually I went to another small village in the Netherlands. Anyway, at least I traveled again! I was only there for a few days, so I didn’t have that much time to travel around, but I did manage to squeeze in some nice things!

For one, I went on my first ever hunting trip on Saturday, which mostly consisted of just walking around in the mud, so my Doc Marten’s did come in handy. However, there were also a bunch of cute (hunting) doggies and free food, so all in all quite alright.

On Sunday, things were a little bit more to my taste again, when we went to the Dickens Festijn in Deventer!

Every year, around 150,000 people from all over Europe travel to Deventer to see the world of Charles Dickens’ and Victorian England come to life again. Beggars and urchins roam the streets as well as wealthy ladies and tophat-clad gentlemen, every few feet there’s stall selling Christmas punch, roasted chestnuts or pea soup, and several choirs scattered around the city transport you right back in time and space into the world of Ebenezer Scrooge and Oliver Twist. An absolute must-visit for anyone who loves whimsical historical fairs in general or Victorian England specifically!

Monday was already my last full day in the Netherlands, and we decided to visit Amsterdam. You absolutely must visit the Bijenkorf if you love window shopping, but I personally loved the Magna Plaza even more. It’s a lot smaller, housed in an late 19th century Neo-Gothic/Neo-Renaissance style building, and especially during Christmas it was quite impressive, with a giant, floating Christmas tree in the center of the great hall. One of the shops there (not sure if it’s permanent or temporary) was the Elephant Parade workshop with a small exhibition area next to it. The Elephant Parade is a charity organization raising funds for the conservation and protection of elephants. Artists and celebrities are invited to create elephant designs, which are then sold to raise money. There is also a touring exhibition of several dozen 1.5 meter tall elephant sculptures currently in Bangkok. At the Amsterdam workshop, you can either buy one of the smaller elephant sculptures, create your own right there, or buy an “artbox” as a present for someone else to become a part of the Elephant Parade movement.

Other than that, we were mostly just strolling around the city, trying to find the 9 Straatjes (mostly succeeded), trying to find a place to eat that wasn’t overpriced or overcrowded (definitely succeeded there with our lunch at De Saloon), and for the first time in my life I visited a Lululemon store and regretted that I’ll have to fly to India again soon, otherwise I definitely would own a brand new Yoga mat right now. On a side note, I’ve been weighing the pro’s and con’s of living on a houseboat in Amsterdam. Pro’s: very fashionable, con’s: unaffordable, approximately 12-36 drunk people jumping on your roof every night (own estimation). Anyway, there are other places in the Netherlands were you can live in a houseboat as well, and some day I will do so, stay there for a few months or so while writing my second novel (the first one will be written while I live and work at Shakespeare & Co. in Paris, which is also a thing that will definitely happen at some point in my life I am sure of it).

Anyway, here are some pictures I took in Amsterdam, I hope to be back soon with some more details about my next job in India!

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