Photo: my birthday party. This is not the final decor of the living room.

We’ve now officially moved out of Amsterdam. The place where we now live, Almere, is a small-ish suburban-ish town-ish – I’m going to tell everyone it’s a village, because I like the idea of living in the countryside more than in the suburbs. It most probably isn’t because “Town-ish people” wouldn’t make a very catchy blog post title. Most probably.

 

Thursday, Oct 3

A day of two very important events: my 42nd birthday (and as we know 42 is the answer to life, the universe, and everything) and the house keys being passed from Old Vumman to us.

The Old Vumman proved not to be all that old and not half as weird as we expected her to be. She was actually quite nice and a bit talkative. The proceedings began with her wishing me a happy birthday and handing us a pot of chrysanthemums (which in Poland are a funeral flower). This was the last bit I really understood before she launched full-speed into explanations of something. Husby listened and I sort of let the word-flood wash over me, until I caught something that kept repeating. Cliquot. Cliquot. Cliquot. What can she possibly mean, I wondered, then she briefly slowed down just enough for me to understand that it had to do with rubbish. Did the rubbish collectors expect only top quality drinks handed to them as… uh… tips…? Later Husby explained to me that she was actually saying “clicco”, because the rubbish bins, when they’re being dragged to the pick-up spot, make a click-click-click sound… Ah. Obviously.

Continue reading

My greatest wish is to live in a log cabin in the middle of nowhere. As of right now, we live in an apartment near the centre of Amsterdam. Every now and then I need an escape, and this time we went to a holiday island – Terschelling.

The Netherlands is a small country with more people than necessary space, and that’s before the tourists descend. It’s also a flat country. Literally. It has no mountains (although a friend of mine once had a really large zit and it got officially registered as Holland’s tallest peak at 2.3 mm). Amsterdam is obviously the worst place for a lover of nature, space, and silence. The holiday islands are exactly what they say they are – 99% of their income comes from tourism. Luckily, we went a week after the school holidays ended, which made me the youngest person around with the exception of people who live and work on Terschelling. Nobody blasted loud music. I only had to pick up other people’s litter once. It was rather fabulous…

 

Saturday

It turns out that the change from living near the centre of Amsterdam to this place is brutal. I am not used to silence. Actual, near-complete silence, interrupted only by the sounds of rain and hail, birds’ mating call, and one rather insistent duck attempting to join us inside. We don’t let the duck in. My head is super-confused. I’ve been ready to go to sleep from about 7pm (when it was still completely light outside), because the only times when I experience actual silence are when I go to bed with earplugs in.

Continue reading

I used to be a big town boy when it came to holidays. London, Berlin, Amsterdam were my favourite destinations. In the last years, however, things dramatically changed. My idea of a great holiday is being in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by trees and animals, spending evenings sitting by a bonfire ideally somewhere near the water.

Except… terms and conditions apply…

Nature Boy taking photos with his smartphone.

This is Arnarstapi, one of the most incredible places I’d ever been to. I loved it. Everything about it. The screams of birds, the basalt columns, the fury of the waves, the smell of the air, even the drizzle. The feeling of being alone with nature, being a small part of it and nothing more than that. Not checking my messages, emails, not getting phone calls (not that I do phonecalls). Unfortunately, there was a catch. When we decided we were cold and wet enough, we went to a lovely cafe and had the most delicious apple pie with caramel. Then we drove back home, warm thanks to the airco. Once we arrived, we took off our coats and leathers as the modern geothermic heating system allowed us to be as warm as we wanted to be. Of course, I had to share pictures and stories with everyone on social media. What good is being in nature if everyone doesn’t know?!

Continue reading