The last couple of weeks of my 374-day trip have sped by. The play-it-by-ear motto of my travels so far has gone out the window. For my final stint in Europe, every train was booked, dinner dates set up, and hours of arrival confirmed with friends weeks in advance.

My trip is no longer about sightseeing. It has morphed into a slow transition period of a sort of normalcy where my tan fades, I meet up with friends I already know and evade the touristy.

I didn’t see anything in The Hague except for the tower of treats for high tea. Rotterdam, for me, is a train station and an Indonesian restaurant. Days were spent cycling on pristine bike paths.

I didn’t even take a photo of the windmills we passed.

DSC08490

Picnic along the bike path with Yvonne (first met in New Zealand, then Bali, and now at her place in The Netherlands). This was before I ran my bike into a pole and fell over with a big clang.

DSC08509

The king and queen, Rotterdam.

DSC08498

Doing nothing after a day at the beach in The Netherlands.

Yvonne drove me to the Amsterdam airport on the Thursday night, and my old friend Gerry was waiting for me with pizza and ice cream in Edinburgh.

Bad timing, being a theatre-person, what with the Festival (with a capital F) starting next week. But I was relieved- it can be an overwhelming place to be, Edinburgh in August. So I was glad to meet Gerry’s family and play with train sets, watch TV, walk in the forest, and go to the pub. And not worry about the obligations I’d have to see show after show (if you are in Edinburgh for the festival, please go see Die Roten Punkte and Oh My Irma)

We went strawberry-picking (which also involves go-carts and trampolines!). It was sunny and 27 degrees. In Scotland.  Every single day I was there.

DSC08566

Scottish strawberries may be huge, but they’re sweet and delicious.

My weekend in Edinburgh went by in a flash and by Sunday night I was already in Sheffield to see Elena, a friend from elementary school.

Sheffield feels like England with its quick-changing weather, brick houses, and lovely gardens. Sheffield has nice pubs and cafes and parks. It also has a paternoster (the largest in the world). Riding a paternoster around wasn’t quite the thrill of the swing in New Zealand, but it came close.

DSC08576

Flower in a park, Sheffield.

DSC08578

The paternoster.

Huge thanks to Yvonne, Gerry and Emma, and Elena and Matt for your generous hospitality and for distracting me from the fact that the travels are ending (for now) very very soon.

Advertisements