I may never have kids ...

Trip Start Jun 21, 2008
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25
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Trip End Aug 03, 2008


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Flag of Netherlands  ,
Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Ate the included breakfast with Rolf - pretty decent, with deli-style roast beef that was actually a bit underdone, and quite juicy.  The coffee was decent, there was Nutella and some fresh fruit.  I skipped the yogurt, though I should probably try and have some more dairy in my diet.
 
Today's plan was to head to the beach in De Koog, but it's probably not the best day because of the clouds.  Because of the spotty bus schedule on the island, I had 30  minutes to kill, so I used the expensive internet at the hostel.  The Stayokay chain really gouges for the internet - perhaps 5 Euros per hour is acceptable at a place like this because there aren't many options, but they still would charge that even if there was a place down the street for 2 Euros per hour. 
 
I walked into the centre of Den Burg to catch the bus - I had mis-read the schedule yesterday, so it turned out that I had another 30 minutes to kill; just enough time to pick up some food.
 
Feeling flush with cash after leaving ultra-expensive Scandinavia, I was no longer compelled to buy the cheapest items.  Instead, I bought the SECOND-cheapest litre of juice!  Mango/orange juice - nothing special. 
 
I popped into a local bakery chain and grabbed some pies - the spinach/feta pie had a terrible pasty crust that was more like bread, and the filling was quite bland.  The second pie was a chicken ragout, a mushy sauce/paste that was actually pretty good, though the pastry was tough.  The sesame seeds sprinkled on the exterior were a nice touch, however.
 
Den Burg was pretty lively today - there are some neat little shops, but I didn't have time to browse if I was going to catch the bus to De Koog.  I didn't bother with a camera today because if I wouldn't be able to look after it if I went into the water.  The bad thing about traveling solo - there's no one to look after the valuables!
 
De Koog is a typical touristy beach team, but I didn't mind - it's a Dutch island so I don't mind encountering tons of Dutch tourists.  It's not like Spain's beach resorts on the southern coast, where it's a surreal feeling to be trapped in a crowd of pasty-white people from the UK.  I'd much rather be trapped in a crowd of beautiful bronzed senoritas when I'm in Spain!
 
There were tons of stalls selling the typical tourist junk souvenirs, and the café-lined streets were filled with people and buskers.  I'm sure this place would be much more fun than Den Burg at night, but there is no hostel here in De Koog, so I was limited by accommodations. 
 
I noticed a great money-making idea - this one stand was selling souvenir tiles, that you purchased and coloured yourself.  This was quite popular with the kids, as you could imagine - a souvenir, AND it kept kids occupied for quite some time.  I bet the parents loved it. 
 
Grabbed a stroop waffle, a typical Dutch snack - a sickly sweet waffle made by squeezing some syrup into a the batter before closing the waffle iron.  Kind of gross, actually. 
 
I asked the guy for some directions to the beach, since the location of the town didn't really provide any indication of which way to go.  "Walk until you find the beach, it's an island!"  Uhh ... ok ... and if I happened to pick the wrong direction and ended up having to walk 5 km across the island to get to the beach on the other side?
 
The beach was too cold!  Cloudy and windy, I only dipped myself ankle-deep into the surf.  There were a few crazy people that still swam.  This particular beach flies a blue flag, which indicates that it has the highest level of cleanliness according to international rankings.  Sadly, they took down the flag as soon as I stepped in ...
 
As I stood in the water, I noticed a sea gull pecking at the plastic bag that contained my things and had to chase it away.  It's actually a pretty decent beach, fairly large, with OK sand - but the weather was terrible for the beach.  I hung out and read my book for a while. 
 
It wasn't that pleasant, with the winding whipping all around - everyone else had brought their own wind shields and didn't have to deal with this problem.  As I left the beach, I realized that you could actually rent the shields - oh well!
 
I wandered around De Koog, and noticed a stall selling undies.  I always bring ratty, old clothing on these trips so that I can discard them if I find something better.  It's become a bit of a tradition for me to discard my ripped old undies in Europe, and exchange them for new ones - kind of like the backpacker "Circle of Life"! 
 
Is this my legacy?  The only evidence of my ever having set foot on this continent are the tattered old tighty-whities that I've left behind?  I ended up picking up 3 pairs of stretch ones for 7 Euros - they only had two sizes, S/M and L/XL.  The vendor told me that they stretched enough, so the S/M should be alright - I hope so ...
 
Came across a kick-ass deli selling all types of roasted meats - ribs, chicken wings, roasts ... too bad it was way too early for dinner.  I saw a vendor selling Vietnamese spring rolls and couldn't resist - they didn't have any fish sauce, only plum sauce, and they were filled mostly with minced veggies.  Not the like the ones at home, they were still very crisp and tasted decent.      
 
Back to De Koog for a shower and dinner - the new undies felt quite tight at first, but felt quite comfortable later on.  I had seen the tasty-looking (and cheap) dinner buffet on offer at the hostel last night, and wanted to try it tonight, but it was already sold out. 
 
I considered going back for last night's salty, but tasty ribs, but decided to try the Eetcafe de Steenerplaats for some pancakes, instead.  I chuckled as I ate, because the table next door featured the birthday celebration of a young boy, and he was overly excited when they brought him a sundae featuring sparklers, and that was served in a "Finding Nemo" cup.  After, it was a quiet night back at the hostel - a little reading, then off to bed. 

Man, those tight undies might be comfortable during the day, but when you're trying to sleep in a hot room, they're deadly.  I kept waking up in the middle of the night, fearful that wearing those undies today would mean I could never have kids!  I shoud've gone for the L/XL ones!!!
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