Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Ode to Wassenaar

I know, I know, it's way too soon for another post. But today was pretty scenic, and I figured the end of our stay in Wassenaar was worthy of its own little entry. 
So here it is. Our biking tour of the town of Wassenaar, Holland.

 Yes, a windmill. Because we're in Holland. Long overdue for a picture, no?
Also, I think he's managing to bite his nails even while biking.

 I adore graveyards.

 I also enjoy the beach.

View of Den Haag.

 Just a lil eye candy.

 Our favorite horse, Bjorn. And Derek's final ride.

"Do something regal"

And look at my big man, doing all kinds of manly horse things! Pulling on reins and whatnot.

Today was the perfect way to end our stay here. Have I said that already? Because I didn't mean it until now. 
Man, I'm so lighthearted when I write this thing.

LDN, NL, fire fire fire

So, I am in shambles. To illustrate this point aptly, I will begin with this picture. 
I look: tired. 
To further prove this statement, as well as show the little brain capacity I am being allowed right now: I cannot recall what train this is, or where I am going on it. Victoria Station? England? Yes. Going to Chiswick? England. A train. In England. And I am tired. Look at my backpack. That's not even a backpack, it's a monster. 

I've also just returned from a 14 mile bike ride--just so you know, not like I'm bragging--with little food beforehand and I'm feeling a little woozy writing this. Alas, I have been working on catching the bloggy up for a couple days now, and I feel like I'm my most 'real' after working myself up physically to that point where I start talking really loudly in between slipping into dazed, blank, lapses of silences. 
Upon rereading that paragraph, I fear this entry may be very poorly written. Ugh sigh.
Anywho, this is an Oyster card. You use it for travel. In London. England, you ask? Yes.

This is Piccadilly Circus. There are no elephants.

This is me. I am standing in front of a monument. A monument erected for those who have died. For what particular 'those' I cannot recall. But enscribed, you can read, "The Glorious Dead." And that is something that I like.

Who knows what this giant contraption is...
London Eye. Double decker bus. I never got to ride on the double deck, because my monstrosity of a backpack caused me to be such an awkward, lumbering mass that it's a wonder I could fit through the door. Sometimes I didn't so easily. But it's a nice picture, no? Symbolic of the fast pace of the wild, big city. Illuminating.

Oh, David.
Also, it smells like urine in those booths. In every, single booth. All of them.
I will do all sorts of things if I think that a nice looking picture will come out of it. All. Sorts.

This is Buckingham Palace. We didn't exactly mean to show up in the dead of night, and we did mean to come back in the daytime in an attempt to harass some royal guardsmen. We never harassed those guards, we never returned. But look at me on their fountain!


This was one particularly beautiful morning, waking up in our first couchsurfing residence. It was a very expensive looking apartment. Two bedrooms. So we got our own comfortable bed, balcony, key access to come and go as pleased, TV, wifi, etc. 
Luxurious. Chiswick Town.

So another morning, we decide, why don't we go take a peak at yonder Tower of London. Only to find, lo and behold, that we had stepped out directly onto the route of the Men's Olympic Marathon route and that the runners should be by in just about fifteen minutes. UM WHAT. We had certainly not expected to be seeing any Olympic events while in London, I, who modestly like to consider myself a "runner," have always been especially "inspired" by the marathoners, and this, the highlight of our London days, miraculously just floated into my lap like as if by some sort of magic Olympian fairy dust.


The gentlemen in green underneath the showers had the unfortunate experience of running into (almost literally) a rather enthusiastic spectator, who was too busy with his camera to realize he was leaning directly into the poor man's path. Oh wait, that was me? Yes. I was inches away from the man's face.

So that was incredible. We stopped in at a pub around the corner after the action was over, just to turn over to watching the televised version and buy some overpriced beer. Sort of a surreal moment was watching the race on the TV and coming to the conclusion, "Oh wait, they're looping back around," walking back out of the pub, and seeing the runners again. So strange. I am in history. I am on televised history. From television to real life in my eyeballs. It is happening around me. Just great.

Eventually we made it to the Tower of London.

Anne Boleyn, and a bunch of other people, were murdered here.

This is the Tower Bridge. It is much more extravagant than the London Bridge.
How bout that guy's pants?
How bout my shirt? Oh wait, it's actually melty hot in London.

Aaaaand, tired.

Another highlight of London, the house of Amy Winehouse. There were of course memorials outside, Derek and I each wrote a little note to her ghosty, and walked back through Camden. 

St. Paul's Cathedral

On the London Bridge. We actually just got into some sort of disagreement before this picture was taken. Not willing to fake it for the nice Mexican man taking the picture for us. The Thames is really beautiful. Check out the rings way in the back there. La la la.

TATE MODERN. SO good. Simple Associations by Tino Sehgal.

Ferry to Holland. Bye bye UK! Thanks for trying to destroy my WWII knife on exiting your country.

I call this one: Moody Lesbian with Wine for Two.

We arrive at Amsterdam Centraal Station.

I Amsterdam Indeed.

Coffee shop daze. 
I love this picture of Derek.

If you can see that I appear to be very unhappy in the middle frame, it would be because captured here is the moment after I came to fully understand the unpleasant effects of the Dutch Fire Needle. 

Queen's Palace. Dam Square.

After leaving Amsterdam, we showed up in the town of Wassenaar for our first work exchange we'd arranged. Our host, graciously invited us to some sweet, small town music show for a local festival they had going on. She happened to know one of the guys in the band--old flame--who performed some Rolling Stones and Journey covers, ya know, classic Dutch pieces.

Here I am with another workawayer at our farm, Angelique. She's a crazy Dutch with a tattered past. 

Sleeping quarters.

Sunset and Suraiya.

Suraiya and Robin.

Rena. She's 28 in horse years. Equivalent to about 80. She creaks when she walks.

As it turns out, this may be the love of my life. This is Koba.

Look at Mel and his crazy cartoon face.

 This is BB. She is about 12 years old and has lost all of her teeth except two gremlin looking fangs. We too, are in love.

Amsterdam was nice. But I find that I'd really rather not spend my time in cities. The architecture and people-watching are probably my favorite things about being there, but other than that I find I'd just rather surround myself with wilderness and animals. Which has worked very well being in Wassenaar on the farm. Once Derek and I reached Den Haag yesterday on our bike ride, I just didn't have any patience for it. I wouldn't classify myself as the most competent of bike riders, and the combination of trying to bicycle in such a hectic city, with so many other bikers, along with lack of food, sleep, and a busy work schedule...I just wanted to leave very soon after entering the city. 
It's nothing personal to Den Haag, and I must make myself continue going to those populous, touristy attractive places because those are the epicenters of the culture. That's where I can see the most activity and experience the widest variety of people, blah blah blah. 

As I think my pictures show, the best friends I've made thus far are all animals. So what.

Today is our last full day on the farm. Wednesday we return to Amsterdam to spend a couple more days...I don't know...smoking weed. On Saturday, we will catch a flight to Malta. Which was also a little unexpected, we were just looking for cheap flights out of here. The next fixed point on our itinerary is Paris for Derek's birthday, which we should be arriving in around the 13th of September. Both of us, I believe, are ready to move onto the next location. The farm has been good to us, but the work is beginning to grow tedious, I'm getting bored, Derek's getting irritated, we go on now. So to fill the time in between now and Paris, we will go to Malta. I need sun and beaches. 

Until then.