In this latest series, I will be going through all the countries I’ve travelled to on my mission to visit every single country in the world. In this article, we will be covering country #49: Netherlands. If you haven’t gotten a chance already, read this story first to find out why I’m trying to visit all 193 UN-recognized countries.
During my time in the Netherlands, I would be visiting three groups of friends who I met while backpacking in other countries. Dutch people by far are the friendliest travellers I’ve met. Being able to visit them in their homeland was also a treat as I got to see what their life was like in their home cities.
VIDEO – Country #49: Netherlands
Blog post on the Netherlands
- The Netherlands – 3 Cities, 3 Friends, 3 Generations Part 1: Rotterdam
- My Complete Italy, San Marino, and The Netherlands Spending Breakdown
- The Netherlands – 3 Cities, 3 Friends, 3 Generations Part 2: Amsterdam
- The Netherlands – 3 Cities, 3 Friends, 3 Generations Part 3: Eindhoven
After getting off the train station in Rotterdam, my friend Ronald greeted me just outside. I met Ronald, his wife Mikea and their son while travelling in South Africa and we did the Great White Shark cage diving together.
Ronald decided to show me around a little bit in the city centre of Rotterdam and we also grabbed a bite to eat.
One shocking thing that happened was while we were eating, something in the restaurant blew up. I thought it was a terrorist attack at first. But luckily, it was some gas on a stove that blew up and no one was harmed.
After the exciting introduction to the Netherlands, Ronald and I picked up his wife Mikea from work. I told them I would cook some Filipino food (Sinigang) for them and off we went to buy some ingredients.
I’m happy to report they enjoyed it and ate most of it in one sitting.
The next day, Ronald and Mikea took me to Kinderdijk and laughed at how they’ve never been here before. They said only Asian tourists go there but they were happy to show me around.
After checking out the windmills, we ate some local Dutch food. This included some Dutch pancakes, some cheeseballs, and eggs. It was freaking delicious.
After lunch, the couple took me the Port of Rotterdam to take a ship that cruised around the port’s canal.
They told me stories about their workplace and what it’s like to live in Rotterdam. Afterwards, we called it a day and just relaxed in their home.
Museum in Rotterdam
On my last full day in the Rotterdam, Ronald took me to a local museum near the foreign embassies. To save money on tickets, he used his wife’s pass sneak us in for free. He joked with me to pretend I’m a blonde woman while we entered the museum.
Ronald then told me he’s never been here before and I need to visit more often so he can actually see his own country. I totally get what he means. I’ve lived in Canada my whole life and I’ve never see Niagra Falls.
Beach at the Hague
Our next stop is the beach in a place called the Hague. It was freaking cold here which confused me since it’s in the middle of Summer when I visited them.
Apparently, some beach volleyball tournament was happening here. I thought that was pretty cool because you’d assume beach volleyball only happens in tropical countries. I do see the advantage the Dutch would have since they are so tall.
Our last stop in the Hague is a local seafood restaurant. Ronald got me to try eating raw fish. He and his wife started laughing at my facial expression when clearly I didn’t like it.
This was my last day in Rotterdam. Ronald was kind enough to drop me off at the train station the next morning as I made my way to Amsterdam, my next destination.
In Amsterdam, I would be visiting another couple who I met while travelling in South Africa. Their names are Asti and Mathjis and they are also around the world backpackers like I am. As a matter of fact, they met while backpacking in Thailand and started dating since then. Mathjis is actually half Dutch and half Australian while Asti originally came from Austria but moved in with Mathjis after they both completed their respective round the world trip.
I was happy to greet Asti who was just ready to head off to work. Just like my friends in Rotterdam, I told them I would cook them Asian food in the evening when they get home from work.
Amsterdam city walking tour
After dropping off my stuff at their place, I headed to Amsterdam city centre to join a city walking tour.
I was pleasantly surprised at how good this city walking tour was. Normally, I hate city walking tours but this was a good one. Mainly because I really learned a lot about the history of Amsterdam and the funny stories behind it.
Our tour guide was really good and told us some ironic stories of clergymen hooking up with prostitutes in this city. If you didn’t know already, prostitution is completely legal in the Netherlands. The city is also famous for decriminalizing marijuana which a lot of tourists partake in when travelling to this country. I never cared for weed, alcohol, or any of that kind of stuff so to me, those benefits don’t appeal to me whatsoever.
After a long day, I returned back to Asti and Mathjis apartment where I made some Asian food for them and caught up for the rest of the evening.
The next day, I took the train to Eindhoven to visit another friend who I met while backpacking in Malaysia. Her name is Manon and my girlfriend and I met her in a hostel in Masada backpackers during our time in Kota Kinabalu. She’s a really young backpacker on her first solo trip and was feeling apprehensive in Malaysia. We decided to invite her to hang out with us during our time in Malaysia and she’s been our friend since then.
So when I arrived in Eindhoven, Manon picked me up from the train station and laughed and said it was weird to see me in the Netherlands.
The first stop Manon took me to is this cathedral which apparently is the big touristy spot to see in this city. Afterward, she took me to this place that looks to be an international outdoor food court of some sort. We ate some yummy food there and caught up after not seeing each other for eight months.
After eating, Manon took me to her family’s home and introduced me to her sister and dog.
We enjoyed playing cards and eating chips which is pretty much what life is like in Canada.
Before long, I took the train back to Amsterdam to stay one more night with Asti and Mathjis before leaving to go to my next destination.
I loved my time in the Netherlands and really it’s because I got a chance to visit my friends who live there. I invited them to come to visit me in Canada. They told me they would visit me in Canada when they’re old because it’s such an easy tourist destination to visit.
As you can tell, the real beauty of long term travel is the people you meet and the people you stay in touch with. I hope to see them again one day and hopefully, I can show them around in Vancouver Canada next time around.
My next destination after the Netherlands is Germany which is my country #50.