The walk from the train station was super easy-- only about 3 minutes-- and the Ed's place was really nice. It wasn't really Ed's apartment because he wasn't living there currently, but he used to live there and is moving back in August.
Three of his friends currently live there, but two of them were out of town for work so we had a few nice beds to sleep in! Very convenient... We hung out at the house for a while and heard about the rest of Ed's trip.
After we left them in Ljubljana, they continued through Serbia and Bulgaria to Istanbul. Much different than what we continued on to, which was a very relaxing villa in Italy. Sounded pretty great though!
After catching up, the four of us headed out to explore Rotterdam. Ed was a very good tour guide-- he took us to the pier past a ton of neat statues then along a few bridges to a good view of the skyline.
There are only a few cities in Europe that have a good skyline: Warsaw, Frankfurt, Madrid, London, and Rotterdam! And we've been to all 5! Anyway, we really enjoyed the creative bridges and all of the bizarre statues along the sidewalks. Clearly Rotterdam is very into modern art.
Ed took us to a really cool cluster of apartments that were shaped like adjacent cubes. They seemed totally impossible to live in, but apparently people stay in them as timeshares and things of that nature, so very few people actually tolerate them long-term. I can't even fathom what it would be like-- all your stuff would slide around!
We met up with one of Ed's friends (Sebastian) and headed back to the apartment. By this point it was pretty late, so we got dressed really fast and went to a bar that Ed's group of friends spend a fair amount of time at.
It was a really nice bar-- they played a mix of American and Dutch popular music, as well as American oldies. Only downside is that EVERYONE smoked like a chimney, so we had a big of trouble with our contacts. No big deal, just takes getting used to.
A bunch of Ed's other friends met us at the bar as well. Every single Dutch person we've met has been fabulous. Literally, every single one. All the other travelers, Ed's friends, waiters, bartenders, everyone. It's amazing-- we want to bring them all back to the US with us.
After the bar, we all went to a club across the street to dance around. Like I mentioned before, most Europeans seem to think it is totally normal to party until the sun comes up, so we got home around 6 AM.
Needless to say, we were pretty exhausted and went right to sleep. Very fun though! The Dutch clubs play MUCH better music than the clubs in America. Virtually no rap... horray!
We were struggling pretty hard the next morning after getting less than 4 hours of sleep, so we got a slow start. We made breakfast then went to Kinderdijk, which are a bunch of old windmills right by where Ed grew up.
The weather was pretty terrible so we didn't get too many good pictures, but the windmills were very impressive. They were massive and there were a ton of them-- apparently people live in them as well! I can't even imagine living in a place that is visited by so many tourists. It was pretty cold and raining/misting consistently, and there were still a ton of people there!
There was a little cafe next to the windmills and we were pretty cold and wet, so we stopped in for a little snack. One of the waitresses was Ed's friend from childhood, so it was nice to go see her.
After our meal, we headed to Ed's sister's house to pick up an air mattress for us to sleep on. Ed's friends got home from their little trip on Saturday, so Ed very kindly got us extra bedding so we would be more comfortable. We hung out and got to know Ed's sister and her husband for a while, then hopped back in the car and drove back to Rotterdam.
Once in Rotterdam, we stopped by the grocery store to pick up food for dinner and headed back to the apartment. Ed's two friends had returned from their trip (Ivo and Michiel), so we got to know them while Ed made us dinner!
It was delicious-- pasta with tomato sauce and vegetables. Ivo and Michiel, like all of Ed's other friends, were pretty great. We went back to the same bar for drinks that night and met up with some of the same people and some news ones. Then back out to another club and home late-- not as late as the night before, only 3 AM this time. It would be exhausting to be Dutch, although I would be much taller.
On Sunday (6-26), we slept in nice and late before heading to Den Haag for a music festival called Parkpop. It was totally gigantic and completely free-- there were over 250,000 people there! The weather improved dramatically, almost to the point of it being too hot! We dressed expecting cold rain again, so we had on about 10 times as much clothing as all the Dutch. We met a few more nice friends of Ed's and sat around on a blanket for hours, enjoying the sun, music, and people-watching.
My camera had a small accident: it had been completely fine the night before and had not sustained any attention/abuse, but it must have gotten knocked in just the right way for the UV cover to shatter. Not very surprising, seeing as Adrienne's UV cover shattered when her camera barely bumped against the rim of the overhead compartment in the flight from the US. We assumed she just had an extra-fragile UV cover, but apparently they are just fragile in general. So the conclusion is: the UV cover protects your lens while you are actively taking pictures, but has the strong potential of shattering and exposing your camera lens to shards/dust particles of glass.
Not sure which is worse... but thankfully my camera made it through unscathed. Goodbye, UV cover! You were nice to have while you lasted.
Anyway, the music festival was a very nice opportunity to enjoy some tunes and take advantage of the nice weather. We headed back to Rotterdam in the evening and said goodbye to Ed. It was very sad to leave him because we've all gotten to know one another so well on this trip! Too bad Holland and Colorado are so very far apart and that it is so hard to travel on a budget in the United States. Oh well, someday we will see each other again! We trudged back to the train station and got on the train to Brugge. At least this train had air conditioning! We will post again soon about Brugge-- sorry we are so massively behind. Tot straks!
We arrived in Rotterdam in the evening (Friday, 6-24) and met up with my friend Ed at the train station! I met Ed (and his friend, Richard) at a hostel in Budapest, then we travelled with them through Croatia and Slovenia. Now we are having a rendezvous in Holland!