The thing that you can't help but love and admire about Europe is how close everything is. In the US I would never be able to say I was in four different countries in three days but here in Europe I just did it.
I started off in Germany (obviously) and drove three hours to Nieuwvelt in the Netherlands. To get there we drove through Belgium but I'm not counting that since we didn't stop. My host family and I and our family friends were renting a beach house on the coast for four days. I took about 100 beach pictures so prepare yourself for those. I loved the beach because it reminded me of the Oregon coast. We were supposed to have sun but ended up having fog every day (sound familiar?). We took walks on the beach bundled up in scarves and coats even though it was almost below freezing. I loved every minute of it. Okay maybe not every minute because I lost feeling in my fingers a few times.
Daily icy beach walks weren't the only thing we did in these four days. We also took a day trip to Brugge, Belgium. QUESTION TIME: Why can't names of places be the same in all languages? It would make life so much simpler. Brugge is called Bruges in English so now you American folk can understand because obviously your mouths are unable to say Brugge... Alright now back on track, Brugge was incredible. I've visited a lot of cities in the four months I've been in Europe and this is absolutely in the top three. It was so beautiful especially decorated for Christmas. Now for another stream of photos.
Belgium is a really interesting place because about half of the country speaks Dutch and the other half French. How that border was distinguished and how well it works I could not tell you. It's not like French and Dutch are very similar languages. I heard Dutch for the first time on this trip and man is that a weird sounding language. Another "first" of this trip was discovering the authentic magic of Belgian waffles. I didn't know you could die and be reborn again after a single bite of something but you can. Needless to say it was mindbogglingly (<-- that word looks really weird right? Is it real or did I make it up?) delicious and I will be going back for more.
The next day we took one more trip to the beach hoping for sun and got lucky. For 5 minutes. After successfully collecting some shells and getting water in my shoe it was time to head home. I was back home for a whole two hours before hopping back into the car with a new suitcase off to Düsseldorf hbf to catch a train to my bestest friend and sister, Lena. Which leads to my next adventure (which will be blogged about soon) and next country. Austria! A week of skiing in a place that has weird sounding German and lots of mountains.
To be continued...