I finally made it to Holland
Trip Start Jan 03, 2010
84Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
My first lag of the journey from Ravensburg to Köln went well. I was taken with four others for a drive about 5 hours away. We made a few stops on the way where we sat outside the car melting in the sun...stretching from the uncomfortable seating arrangements of me on the middle back seat. It gave me a full on view of the speedometer which continued to go up. I like to go fast but wow. I had some conversations with God...
Arriving Köln I wasn't too eager to explore, just drop off Blue and take a walk by the water. Take a walk to the cathedral
I was on time to my pre-arranged place for pickup from a "Mr. Amia" near the Köln train station. I was told to be punctual. Five others and myself packed into a van after shaking Mr. Amias hand. Before he turned the key to start the van he turned to me from the drivers seat asking me something in German. I found out he was asking where I needed to be dropped off... Where I needed to be dropped off? Really. Was he joking? He spent the previous night on the phone with my friend (because I couldn't communicate) arranging a drop-off point for me since I wasn't going the full way through to Amsterdam like the rest of the car load. The misunderstandings started. It was happening again.
Good thing one of the young guys sitting near me in the van offered to be the interpreter.
"He wants to know where to take you."
"He wants to know the name of the fuel station."
"He's not sure he can take you there."
"He said he can..."
"He said he cant."
"We passed the exit, he's not turning back...its not on the way."
"Why did your friend tell him the wrong place...its not on the way."
In between all of this I contemplated opening the door and having a jump
He did. He must have thought in the 2 hours of driving I learned German because he explained to me in Deutch where we were and where we came from on the map he was holding in front of me. Hmm. Not working. I again, kindly suggested to simply call my friend who could then speak to Mr. Amia and figure out where little Shana was in the world. One of the other passengers suggested after the phonecall which I of course could not understand, to get the address from the fuel station and alert to my friend; the directions given were apparently vague.
Gas stations have addresses? I guess so. Someone has to deliver the fuel. And candy bars. I asked the employee behind the counter for the address inside and was given a stamped address on the back of a receipt. I was in business. I purchased a coffee and stood at the counter in the gas station with Blue beside me where I would wait to be picked up.
Aike is a friend I met while on Fraser Island in Australia. I was with Gina at the time. Gina...a not so happy camper at that point as she was dealing with terrible ear pain from diving. Aike was our saviour
Her husband Peter and their two adorable daughers came in the pouring rain to pick me up at the gas station. We arrived their beautiful home in Deventer and I knew it was a place I could take a deep breath...and relax. The days ahead were wonderful...full of celebration. Not just because I was there. Ha.
Aike and Peter's good friends were getting married. I was fortunate to have been part of the celebration over the course of a few days. I was able to meet many of their friends and family who were all so welcoming and much fun. Attending a Dutch wedding was something I didn't expect to do but am glad I did. I was able to witness the bride dressed beautifully before the ceremony and the couple drive away in a Blue Beetle.
There were a group of people, and myself, who took a ferry across the river...a very short ride, maybe 4 minutes long... Within a minute of the ferry ride...the rain came. It poured. It hailed. The wind picked up. Dresses soaking wet, hair misheveled, people yelling... Ok. So it wasn't the Titanic but it was crazy. Everyone moved to one side of the boat to avoid the unavoidable rain sweeping inside. Some with umbrellas to shield the rain, others with nothing.
We eventually stepped off the boat and while dodging large puddles in the street, made it to a temporary shelter. A few of the women who came down from their apartments offered us towells as we waited for the rain to cease. It didn't really stop. Brief periods of lighter rain would come, and then it would start again. I felt so terrible for the bride...and the others dressed so nicely...now with wet dresses and shoes
We made it to the place where the two would get married. It was a building with beautiful, large rooms, lovely decorated with wonderful colors. I stood in the back of the room. I was the photographer. The 'unknown' photographer girl taking pictures of people I didn't know. I enjoyed it however. Water continued dripping on my toes from the right half of my dress which was soaken throughout the ceremony...but who really cared.
I had a kitchen to use throughout the week which was great for me...and 'sort of' for them! I made my usual Paula Dean Lemon Bars which I know dream about at night, along with sushi. Second time around now. It turned out fairly well. And then...the despised Strawberry Cake. It deserves capital letters! What a task that was.
It was Noor's Birthday, Aike and Peter's daughter...she was turning six years old. Aike showed me the adorable hamster cake she purchased and I 'made the mistake' (kidding Aike) of offering to make a cake. I thought it would be a fairly easy task...Noor liked strawberries, I had a Paula Dean recipe, Paula Dean doesn't fail me...I could do this.
Baking in other countries is a challenge. They use the metric system so everything has to be converted and adjusted. Ingredients have to be changed, altered, sometimes deleted. When I went shopping for Lemon Bar ingredients I purchased salt when I thought it was sugar, rising flour when I thought it was white flour, and sugar when I thought it was powdered sugar. Aike needed to go to the store with me this time around...no screwing up this time Shana. Although I always find a way...which I of course did.
What was supposed to take about 45 minutes if I remember correctly took overall 3 hours or so to fully complete the making of the STRAWBERRY CAKE
Anyway, now that I wrote four paragraphs on a cake, I'll finish up. Deventer was a great time for me. I was able to have some great girl-time with Aike at the spa...for the whole day, which was amazing. Absolutely amazing. I was also able to take a motorcycle ride with Peter for a few hours. We saw some of the most amazing scenery..well at least I think so. Fields of cows and sheep, horses and donkeys, geese and goats. Everywhere I looked it was gorgeous. Windmills in the near and far distance, bridges over small canas and rivers...it was so amazing. One of the best rides I've had.
I am once again amazed and humbled by the people I have met on my travels. People who I initially meet for a very short time, and become wonderful friends in the end. Thank you Aike and Peter for having me in your home and treating me like a friend you've had for years...