On Thursday we awoke to a thick layer of snow that had settled outside across everything. I had hoped that Seeg would feel good enough to go out, but he didn't, so I didn't manage to get any pictures of the snow that day. We did end up going out, though, much to my disappointement. Seeg's father took us to the bank so that Seeg could pick up his new bank card, but because the snow was so pretty, he drove us around the more residential parts of the city, and eventually out to a park. I was gutted because I didn't bring my camera. The snow was virtually untouched, there was a half frozen lake, the sky was clear and the sunlight was beautiful. I was gutted. Still, I did enjoy to walk in it (though I was careful, because we found out on Monday from the little snow that settled here and there that my boots let in the water) because I figured it was probably the only snow I'd see this year.
Later that day we had dinner with Seeg's cousin and his cousin's wife - very nice people who, like everyone else, spoke good English, and I could follow the conversation.
Which brings us to Friday. Seeg still didn't feel like going out, but he kindly agreed because it was the last day, afterall, and I wanted to get some presents and have a last look about. But more snow had fallen that night, and small flakes continued to fall all day. It was so beautiful. I brought my camera with me for sure, found some chocolatey gifts, and had a wonderful time. We met with Arthur again that afternoon, and the three of us went to Sonsbeek Park at about 3:30pm. There were lots of children going down slopes on sleds, and it looked like good fun. There were dogs jumping around and having a wonderful time, and I got some wonderful pictures of the park in the snow - certainly a sight that I may not see again for a while, even if I did go back to The Netherlands at the same time every year for five years straight.
But there was one thing no one thought to tell me - and for the life of me I don't know how Seeg could have forgotten - and that was that there were deer there. Now, the two of them mentioned the deer when we were just around the corner from where they'd supposedly be. Seeg said, given the snow, they wouldn't be out. I understood completely. I was expecting it to be like Berkeley's Deer Parks, where they're free to roam and are quite skittish, with plenty of room to hide. I was quite wrong. They had a big enclosure, but it wasn't even surrounded by fencenet, it was just an iron fence. They were Fallow Deer, and there must have been about 20-30 of them, and one of them was a stag with big antlers, and to top it off, not only where they out, but they were right alongside the metal fence, and they were not even remotely skittish. I was just over an arm's length away from the stag. I got the best pictures I could because it was about 4:15pm when we got to them, and the light was failing, but I've done my best with increasing the light on GIMP. I've loved deer for years, long before they became popular, and seeing those deer, all of a sudden, in the snow and in such a nice place, completely made up for the fact that we hadn't been out much that week.
We came home on Saturday, with an early flight at around 9:45am. We were up at 4, which was painful, but, for me, waking up and pulling myself out of bed is the hardest part of travelling. Once I'm up, everything is much smoother. The flight back wasn't as pleasant as the flight there, but the weather was clearer and there was only about (literally) 2 seconds of light turbulance near the end. While this time I was prepared for the sudden boost of speed as we went up the runway, I wasn't ready for the turning in the sky. But I made the best of it that I could. I wanted to get a picture of the white fields of The Netherlands from the sky on our way back, but Amsterdam is close to the coast, and while when we had flown in we had gone over quite a bit of land, this time we just went straight towards the sea. We hadn't even finished climbing before we were over the water, so I well and truly missed out on that. I had a hot chocolate on the plane, which I regretted during the last 15 minutes of the flight while my stomach started to turn, but once my feet were on the ground, I felt better. I wouldn't say that I hate flying, but I also wouldn't say it's something I'm excited about doing again.
Still, we are back now, Christmas is just 2 weeks away, I have a few monster orders to catch up on which I received while I was away, and because my dad put a few shelves up in our bedroom while we were away, I am not completely confused as to where I am, because I'm struggling to recognise what has been my bedroom for my entire life. I had a nap this evening because I was so tired and I woke up so flipping confused that I felt ill. Not good!
|A lake in the town|
The Netherlands is a nice place to go. I do think that if you go to a foreign country, you should make some effort to learn the language, but the vast majority of people in NL speak English well enough anyway, so if you're looking to go abroad without the need to learn a new language, The Netherlands is a great place. Of course, if you're hoping to learn Dutch while you're there, you'll have a hard time. As soon as anyone notices your accent they will start speaking English, but it's not uncommon for tourists to ask Dutch people to please speak Dutch. I didn't, of course, because I don't know a word of it, and I felt like a nuisance a lot - anyone who came to visit spoke mostly only in English, which I appreciated so much, but I felt like I was limiting conversation for some people who weren't as well-versed, but I know better than to be offended when they did begin speaking Dutch amongst themselves for a few minutes. I had Seeg deal with most shop keepers, but on Friday he made me order the chocolate I wanted, and it was a little awkward for me to order my food when we went out to eat that night, too, but Seeg made me do that myself too. But both of the people I dealt with spoke good enough English that there were no problems.
All in all, I had a wonderful time, the deer were the highlight of the trip, and the chocolate of La Place was the best spent money :D Finally had some macaroons, too (I don't like them, it seems), but I'm bloody glad to be home.
I hope everyone else had a lovely first week of December! Got your decorations up yet? I'm hoping to get mine up when I get my delivery from Paperchase!
More pictures will come in a seperate post!