Bikes, Dutch Countryside and Shirtless Boys

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You might think it’s strange that the highlight of my 17 day Europe trip was cycling through the Dutch countryside. Don’t get me wrong, every single day of my trip was amazing, it’s just that sometimes there’s one part of your trip that stands out the most.  The part that gave you that moment of “Wow! I’m actually here right now”.  Mine just happened to be while riding a bicycle – but of course it had to have it’s “aww crap” moments, because nothing in this life is perfect.

For starters, we arrived to the bike rental meet-up place where our guide was waiting for us with our bikes all lined up.  We all hurried for one, and everyone seemed to find themselves a bike that was just right for them.  Except me…because if you know me personally, you know I’m pretty damn short! 5 feet to be exact. On some bikes, I couldn’t even get on without almost falling over with them. On others, my feet wouldn’t even touch the ground.  Of course, our sweet guide had to go find me a new one, probably way the hell in the back of their bike stack to the “rarely-used-bikes-for-short-people” section. This is how self conscious I was – I made up my mind that this section ACTUALLY existed.  He finally came back with my bike, which of course had to look completely different from the rest.  Everyone else’s looked like nice black-cruiser-bikes with a little basket, while mine looked short, neon green, and mountain bike-y.  But never judge a book by its cover because let me tell you, this bike was all sorts of magic.  It was so smooth and so comfortable; during the 2 plus hours riding it, my butt only started hurting the last 10 minutes.

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We started riding off and hopped on the fairy with our bikes in order to cross over to the other side of the city.  We got off, started riding, and our journey began.  I don’t even remember exactly how we ended up getting to the countryside really, I just remember seeing apartment buildings and roads one minute, then suddenly we we were seeing a few windmills, admiring the loads of pasture and hearing birds chirping everywhere. I couldn’t even believe how beautiful it was, there were tons of brooks, there were people on their little boats fishing on the waterways, it was peaceful; a complete change of scenery from the hectic life in the city of Amsterdam.   The skies were a bit cloudy, maybe all white actually, but it wasn’t cold nor was it raining. The occasional gentle breeze would hit our faces and blow our hair back just enough to make us close our eyes for a second and take it all in.  These are the moments I remember most. I proceeded to take my phone out of my pocket, trying hard not to fall over while doing it, then the photo-taking began.  It was difficult…now I know I need to buy a go-pro because I just about ate shit like 25 times. At one point, I almost rode into the little creek and felt as if I were heading straight to my death.  Thankfully I caught myself before that happened and all was good.  Here’s a photo that I featured on my Crappy Selfies in Europe blogpost:

(I almost fell over after this one)

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Things were different for one of the boys in the group though.  He took out his camera and I’m not sure exactly how it happened, but we were riding across a tiny little bridge right above a very narrow creek (or whatever it was), when he suddenly dropped his digital camera!  It went straight in the water! We all stopped and were waiting to see what was happening.  He jumped right in, reaching his arm in the water to try to feel for his camera. No way was he going to put his face in there, that water was green and disgusting.  He felt around a bit more and finally found it, being smart enough to take out his memory card right away in order to salvage all his pictures! (He had been traveling around Europe waaay before he even met up with our group, so it would’ve been pretty shitty to lose all of his photos.) I’m not sure if his shirt came off before or after he went in the water, all I remember is him riding toward us wet and shirtless.  I think us girls weren’t too worried about his camera, we were just kind of mesmerized; those abs were definitely meant to be seen!  Ryan, if you’re reading this now, I’m sorry! I’m not a pervert, I swear I wasn’t the only one that thought this!

Anyway, we took a break right across from what I believe was a soccer field and ate the sandwiches and snacks that the bike guide had provided for us.  It might have been the long bike ride, but damn that turkey sandwich tasted like pure heaven!  We began our ride back to the city and I found everything mesmerizing, we passed by cute little houses with goats and cows (+a few other animals), a few of the people even waved hello to us! I just wanted to ask them to take me in as their own because I was seriously falling in love with that side of town!

Towards the end of our little journey, the guide and some of our group members were really ahead of us, so we started riding faster to try to catch up.  All of a sudden another one of the boys in our group stopped and started looking for something. He had dropped his camera lens cover somewhere around the bushes.  We couldn’t find anything.  We also couldn’t see the rest of the group and they were probably worried that they couldn’t see us either. With my short legs and my small bike, I volunteered to be the messenger.  I left and hurried with my bike; I practically flew there, totally getting ahead of myself and feeling like Lance Armstrong (minus the steroids).  They were of course all looking back on the side of the road and waiting for me to catch up to tell them what had happened.  I did (out of breath and feeling like that heavenly sandwich might make it’s way up and out of my body) and we only waited about 3 minutes until everyone else showed up behind us.  Steve had found his camera lens cap! Yay!

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Considering the fact that I had my phone out the entire time, attempting to take pictures and videos, I have to say I’m proud of myself for not dropping it or even worse, eating shit!  I picture myself falling into to the river, and let me tell you, my abs (or shall I say non-abs) are not meant to be seen. I still thank the travel gods for not letting anything embarrassing happen to me on my trip! But I also thank them for making these little moments so vivid in my mind in order to retell them.

P.S. If you ever  find yourself in Amsterdam, take a bike tour through the countryside!  You won’t regret it! Also, take a go-pro, you’ll want to capture some memories without the fear of dropping your camera or falling.

Love Always,

The Wanderluster

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