Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Gouda, Cologne

Hey y'all!
sorry for the irratic blog posts. sometimes it's hard to find a good internet cafe. Anyway, after an awesome time in Amsterdam (We ended Amsterdam with a trip to the Van Gogh Museum, which, although very pricey, was well worth it. It was fascinating to see his paintings change throughout his life, he was only an artist for 10years!) After Van Gogh, we headed to the The Hague, or as the locals call it, Den Haaaaaaccckkaahakkah. We arrived at the central train station and the weather was still awesome (75 degrees and sunny). Our hostel was on the beach so we were excited about enjoying the awesome weather. However, as our tram approached the coast (less than three miles away), the weather turned cold and foggy. Shit. Anyway, our experience in the Hague was primarily defined by the terrible weather and the the Guntheresque (you may know what i mean) beach bar at which we lounged by propane fires while drinking exotic cocktails. Our hostel was actually pretty cool and might have been fun during the 9 days out of the year when the North Sea is actually warm enough to enjoy. We also tried to do laundry in the Hague. Disaster. I won't go into the full details but let's just say that Becca and I came face to face with the European passion for inefficiency and inconvenience. Whatever. The hostel itself was pretty cool and could have been a lot of fun if we weren't dead tired and the weather wasn't terrible. We later went to an Italian restaurant (I know, minus Rick points) where we ate really good food and heard god awful italiany karaoke. The next morning, we tried to see some of Den Haaaagckckaakckc, but we were eager to get to the Dutch countryside, so we took an early train to Gouda (of Gouda cheese fame) where we had reserved a room at a B&B. Gouda was absolutely amazing. We really wanted to take a bike ride that afternoon, but all the bikes from the train station were already taken so we just decided to explore the town a bit. The church was gorgeous (despite the fact that the church bitch made us pay to enter while all the Dutch people got in free) and the canals were quite picturesque. After an awesome lunch and a few hours of roaming, we returned to the sunny central square to grab dinner. On the way, we ran into a group of people taking pictures from some guy suspended above the crowd in a crane. Turns out they were taking pictures for the annual cheese festival (called Say Cheese Gouda!) so Becca and I tried to blend right in. Luckily, we sort of look Dutch so we actually did a pretty good job. Hopefully we didn't poison the Dutch cheese festival with our American influence. Either way, it was fun. Dinner was dank and we got a good night's sleep at our B&B.
The next morning, we left our B&B early so we could make ít to the train station early enough to pick up our reserved bikes. The weather was absolutely incredible and our bike ride through the Dutch countryside would have been a nauseating cliche if it weren't so incredibly beautiful and authentic. Flowers, windmills, pastures...what more could you want? We did more than thirty miles in a couple hours (a fairly quick pace) yet we were still getting smoked by old Dutch ladies wearing their Sunday dresses. Show offs....
After the bike ride, we took a train back to Amsterdam so we could catch our train to Hamburg (and the next day, Denmark). However, the late train and terrible weather in Denmark caused us to take a train to Cologne instead (with the intention of doing Munich/Vienna/Prague on our way to Berlin). Cologne was a lot of fun. We lucked out again and hit the city during the one day out of the year when they hold their local wine festival (Cologne is on the Rhine and is very famous for its Rieslings) so Becca and I took a page out of the Rick Steves handbook and joined in, German drinking songs and all. But mostly we wanted to sleep. Easier said than done. Our hostel smelled like asparagus piss and the Cologne cathedral started ringing its bells at about 5 am. Understandable, since it was Whit Monday or Pentacost or some other extravagant Catholic bullshit, but that didn't make it any less annoying. Thank god for Martin Luther. Sooooo....we caught our train out of Cologne to Munich. Munich was incredible (maybe our favorite city so far) but we'll have more on that later. For now, our internet time is about to expire here at the Wombat in Vienna and we're eager to go to bed. We'll let you know about our most recent adventures (mostly involving beer gardens) when we get the chance. Until then...Auf Wiedersehen!

Much love,
Jay and Becca

1 comment:

  1. I just laughed so hard I shot tomato and goat cheese (both local and organic, of course--this IS Chapel Hill) out my nose! Soooo wish I was there!!! Bill Bryson once wrote that an amusing way to entertain yourself with a Dutch person is to ask them to pronounce "Van Gogh"...