Happy Sunday! I finally have photos, stories and time. So today I am sending you my first postcard from Netherlands. I have been here now almost two weeks, and I have to say I feel happier than in a long time. It feels like home. And already so many amazing moments have passed, I have met amazing people and found amazing places. Yeas, it is amazing, if you already did not get that point, haha! But now, let me share some of those amazing things with you. Ok, and few not so amzing things also, as it is life after all.
PEOPLE. One night at 2am while walking home with a friend, we decided to pass the crossroad from the middle, as there was no traffic at all. While we were walking a young boy drove with his bike to our direction. As soon as he saw us in the middle of the road he stopped and shouted to us that hey girls, you are middle of the road. Please be careful. And that boy did not continue his ride until we were safe on the other side. Who does that?!
In my local supermarket, every time in the checkout the lady ask you “Did you find everything?”. And this kind of super polite customer service happens basically everywhere here.
FOOD. I am a foodie, and absolutely love fresh, organic and healthy foods. For me it feels like paradise here, because I can find everything I use in kitchen with lower prices than in Finland, and the range of products is much better. Yesterday I went to a supermarket, which only sells organic products and does not over charge for it. Eating healthy has never been this easy for me!
But what about the Dutch food? Well..like what`s going on with that? The only few things I have understood so far are amazing stroopwafels and all the good (and cheap) beer. Hahah, I know!
WEATHER. The weather had been amazing from the day I arrived here. First week almost every day +35 and this week somewhere between +20 and +25 every day. I have been able to use sandals, t-shirts and favorite dresses in September without feeling cold. Crazy!
BIKES. Well, everyone knows Netherlands is the promised land of biking. But who would have known how hard it is to find a bike here? This is a country of 18 million bikes, and it really took days to find the perfect match. Well, of course if you want to buy a nice new bike, or pay over price for something that once was a bike (you should see some of the used bikes they try to sell you with 100€) then it is easy. But to find a nice bike with nice price, not a easy task. Luckily in the end I did find a perfect bike for me (Thank`s for the tip R), and now I am riding the streets every day like the Dutch do. Lean legs 2017 here I come!
BIKES vol. 2. As so many people are using bikes, there is some nice solutions to make it more smooth. In the center there are free bike “garages” where you can leave your bike. It is so nice as then you never have to be afraid someone stole your bike, while you went to take care your errands. The only thing I am afraid is to loose that small paper they give to you, so that they know you pick the right bike. Wanna bet how long it takes before I end up loosing that one?
Another things is how amazingly they have arranged cycle paths everywhere. They have even colored all the bike paths with red, so you absolutely cannot miss it. And hey, also own traffic lights for bikers.
CULTURE. If you love culture, this is your place! We have been here less than two weeks and there has been already so many events and festivals that I stopped to count. And every time I go to the center, I see a new poster telling me that another amazing event will happen soon. The city is full of life and you will find always people sitting outside, enjoying and being social. I just love that! There is also many interesting museums and sights, so you certainly don`t have to sit home and wonder what to do.
And yeas, there are also parties, parties and well, parties. Thursday is the official party day, alcohol is ridiculously cheap and you can party until early morning.
DAMN MONEY. If a lot things are amazing, there is actually one thing which is less amazing. In Finland I basically never use cash, I just use card to pay everything everywhere. But here it is not that easy. Somehow many places accept only local cards, or MasterCard. Which is crazy, as Visa is card known around the world. And of course we all have Visa with us. So now we have been learning to use cash again.
PRICEY INTERNET. Honestly, I still cannot understand the internet prices here for your phone. In Finland with 20€ a month I get unlimited 4G internet. Here the best they could give me was a prepaid sim which gives me 1GB a month with 10€. Hmm…how is that possible? The unlimited was 90€ a month, hahah! Camoon people, don`t you use internet here? Social media updates anyone? So that is also a reason why I am not posting example more snaps, as it would eat all my internet in one night. Sad I know!
FUNNY DETAIL. If people in Finland love privacy, the Dutch people seem to be the total opposite. Many houses are surprisingly low and many times you enter to the house straight from the street. As the houses are low also the windows are in the street lever. I have never accidentally seen so many people eating, watching TV or doing something else in their homes, as I have seen here. It seems that the people just don`t care. Of course there are many houses where people have installed “sticker” to the window, so you cannot see straight inside, but definitely most windows are without the cover. Confusing I would say!
THE LANGUAGE. The moment I knew I will be moving to Netherlands, I decided I want to learn Dutch. Little I knew on that moment. The language is insane! Like you can understand a lot when you read something, but the moment people starts to speak, it is just sounding like they are sick. Sorry, but it is true. This language is insanely difficult. But I have to say I am super impressed how many people here speak so good English. So I can survive, just need A LOT time to actually learn the language.
COFFEE. If I loved the coffee culture in Italy, well here it is even more perfect for me. Why is that? Well first of all I can find the MOST AMAZING soy milk cafe latte with less than 3€. And secondly 99% of the cafe places look so cool that you get never tired of watching all the amazing details. But maybe the best part is, that I have found a place, where the cute owner grinds coffee beans for me, so I can have super good and super fresh espresso every morning at home also.
SAFETY. I feel absolutely safe in this city, and in this country. But when it comes to traffic safety, there is this one detail I just cannot handle. Where is all the helmets? I have literally seen like one person wearing a helmet while driving a scooter or motorcycle. I was told that if you drive under 30 km/h you basically don`t have to wear the helmet, but camoon why?!?! And the bikers, well they use even less helmets than people with motorcycles. It is crazy!
ARCHITECTURE. Breda combines amazingly old and new when it comes to architecture. Next to each other then can be one building which looks 100 years old, and then next to it there is something super modern. And the best part is that they all fit together perfectly. I love all the details and how every single house presents people living in it. The only thing in common seems to be taking care of your garden, and cutting all the bushes into perfect geometrical shapes.
CITY CHICKEN. Yes, you see correct – I am talking about city chickens. This is probably the most funny thing I have seen so far. In Helsinki we have city rabbits, which somehow for me makes sense. But to have instead city chickens, what the hell?!? Hahha, it is beyond funny!
DETAILS. I love creative solutions, unique design and beautiful details. In Breda I can see that many companies have used a lot time and effort to those small details. Everywhere you look you can see interesting concepts. Imagine book store in a old theater? Or place selling only organic, hand made fries? And a restaurant where every furniture is also in sale? Just to give few examples.
SHOPPING. In Finland I feel you find the same shops from every city, and many times they are not anymore around the city, but centralized to huge shopping centers. Here it is totally the opposite. You find amazing small shops around the city, and many of them are independent stores, offering unique products. I could do shopping all day every day, just need to win in the lotto first. Or move here permanently so then I don`t have to think how to get everything back to Finland.
Tot de volgende keer!