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During my travels newspaper columns were published weekly in the Dutch daily newspaper
Dutch newspaper Spits

This project has been supported by these great and warmhearted companies:
Netherlands: Paping Buitensport, ODLO, IPtower.nl, AVRO Dutch Broadcasting Org., Travelcare, TunaFish, Book A Tour, StadsRadio Rotterdam; UK: Lazystudent, KissFM, The Sunday Times, The Guardian; Isle of Man: SteamPacket/SeaCat; Ireland: BikeTheBurren; Belgium: Le Temps Perdu, Majer & PartnersAustria: OhmTV.com; Norway: Scanrail Pass, Hurtigruten, Best Western HotelsSouth Africa: eTravel, British Airways Comair, CapeTalk, BazBus Spain: Inter Rail, Train company Renfe; Australia: Channel 9 Television, Bridgeclimb, Harbourjet, SeaFM Central Coast, Moonshadow Cruises, Australian Zoo, Fraser Island Excursions, Hamilton Island Resort, FantaSea Cruises, Greyhound/McCafferty's Express Coaches, Aussie Overlanders, TravelAbout.com.au, Travelworld, Unlimited Internet, Kangaroo Island SeaLink, Acacia Apartments; Malaysia: Aircoast; Canada: VIA rail, Cedar Springs Lodge, BCTV/GlobalTV, St. George Hotel, VICKI GABEREAU talkshow, Ziptrek Ecotours, Whitler Blackcomb Ski Resort, Summit Ski & Snowboard Rental, High Mountain BrewHouse, Cougar Mountain Snowmobiling, Whistler Question Newspaper, Snowshoe Inn, First Air, Nunanet.com, Canadian North Accommodations by the Sea, DRL Coachlines Newfoundland, The National Post and Air North.


Reports

Saturday, 5 May 2001
--> Rotterdam (NL)

On my 5th day of this so-called world trip I got moved from Jasper's place in The Hague City to the fine port of the Netherlands: the city of Rotterdam, staying with Patricia! This old friend of mine took me out to the Rotterdam style of celebrating Liberation day, met another old friend Marieke and went to the city fair all together.
Waking up at Jasper's place wasn't really easy. We spent too much time behind the web before sleeping (and the drinking I think) before we finally doozed away...

But when I got waked by Suzanne and Jasper, they were already up. Jasper had planned to make breakfast at the beachrestaurant where he also had to work this afternoon. So I quickly took a nice shower (and shaved myself again after a three-days-old sandpaper skin) and drunk some coffee at their 'bar'.

After taking some trams we got to the beach again and Jasper dissappeared into the kitchen as soon as we got there. Suzanne and I sat at the warm fireplace talking about all kinds of things, while we waited for our delicious breakfast: toasted filled sandwich a la Jasper!

At around 11 o'clock my next hostess came by to pick me up. She, her name is Patricia, found it too much of a fuss to let me hitchhike that little piece to Rotterdam. After drinking another cappucinno with her too I had to say goodbye to Jasper and Suzanne and loaded Patricia's car.

I have know Patricia from a long time. We go back from our high school and when I failed my last year, she took a year off working and travelling through Australia and New Zealand. We both started at journalism school in Zwolle the next year; even in the same class. She went for specialism in Communications, while I started a study in Printed Press Journalism.

With her graduating on Communications and me doing all different kinds of things next to my study we kind of lost our contact. With this project we got to meet each other again since a long time.

After arriving at the 14th floor appartment in the Northeast of Rotterdam we took the metro/tramcar to the Central Station of Rotterdam where we met Marieke.

I also know Marieke from journalism school as she was one year below mine and we've had our good and bad times as just studymates. During her study she found her lover in Australia and stayed there for a while. Next to this she does a lot of TV work in the Netherlands also. Also for me it was a long time ago.

From the Central Station we walked to the center of Rotterdam, passing my summerjob-spot from 1995 where I worked at the Snackcar of John Schipper & Zoon. The lady, who was my boss then, still worked there once a week and on this day she said she did remember me vaguely. When I told my name she remembered it again: I had to quit working because I went to study journalism in Zwolle, some 70 miles away from Rotterdam. Of course we had to try their old fashion way made french fries... Delicious!

From there we went to the square where live bands would perform in celebration of the Dutch Liberation day, but the band were to unknown and didn't sound really like our kind of taste... On the same square there was a little high-cultural market, selling all kinds of unknown food and useful souvenirs.

A little bit dissappointed by this (we all knew that the party in Zwolle was bigger than this little thingy in Rotterdam) so we decided to sit down on the terrace of the theatercafé Plan C at the old harbour of Rotterdam.

While waiting over almost 30 minutes to get served by the waitress we ordered fresh drinks and picked up old memories from the past. About what we know what happened with old classmates (some are already married!) and weird situations from our high school until our journalism faculty. Really nice!

From the terrace we later walked a bit to the place where the annual Queensday (April 30) Cityfair was. When we got there, Patricia was anxious to get in this big thing called The Sound Machine, a big thing where you spin around, up and down and sometimes upside down, very fast.
I wisely ignored the invitation to join while Marieke and Patricia got a ticket and got inside of it.

Some little ten minutes later I was laughing the most when I saw them step out of it, Marieke with a big smile and Patricia almost looking purple and disorganised from the inside... That's way I didn't want to go inside it. I knew from before it could do some great damage to my morning breakfast, haha!

After this Patricia needed some time to get back together again and we saunterd over the fair. It wasn't really busy and it also was the last day, which made us see everything very fast and we didn't do anything again.

After taking the metro/tramcar back to Patricia's place, we all did some shopping for dinner and crashed on the couch at home.

Patricia lives together with her older sister Alexandra, while being between jobs. Well, she is currently looking for something new in the fields of the marketing.
Alexandra made some nice enjoyable spaghetti and we had some white wine with it. And by the way: I helped doing the dishes afterwards!

Because there was nothing on television, we decided to watch the video of I Love Trouble with Julia Roberts and that old Nick Nolte playing competitive journalists. For me there where to many longlasting romantic strings in it; it was hard to keep up (awake)...

The Gift
Because Patricia picked me up at Jasper's restaurant, they handed over the Gift personally. Patricia looked pretty amazed at the Frisian Flag which she received and she had no real idea what to pass over to the person where I'd stay the next night... But after telling her what I already about him, she came with the right idea!

But the packing of it started after I had a good sleep in her own bedroom, while Patricia slept with her sister in one bed. How nice!