Almost two weeks ago my friend Max, from Canada, messaged me, “Samara, I’m coming over to Europe for a month!”. Five weeks travelling with a fellow Canadian around Europe? I think yes. Timing has definitely been on my side, so I basically would have been resisting destiny if I didn’t jump on the Euro Trip train; Max arrived only days after I had finished my job, and is staying just long enough for me to find another job before my sister’s wedding in August.
After his first few days in Paris he joined me in Brussels. I was already there visiting my friend, Manu, so it was the perfect place to meet, being one stop from Amsterdam which was our next destination. I had spent time in Brussels before but this time I really learned to appreciate the city and especially the people in it. Manu and I were fully loaded with our backpacks one evening while waiting for a friend, chilling on a cement patch in front of a small corner shop. We had one man come and dance for us, another was so kind as to let us use his phone and minutes after a woman walking by, thinking we were stranded travellers, offered us a place to sleep. I love people.
Max and I met our Peruvian Couchsurfing host in the evening, who lived pretty close to the city center. We didn’t do much in Brussels but our day spent soaking up the rays in Grand Place was exactly what we both needed. We were surrounded by other vitamin D lovers and even had one man give us our cell phone to listen to music while he went to buy something. Now there’s someone with faith in humanity. Good on ya, stranger.
We caught a ride from Brussels to Amsterdam that evening, arriving at midnight at another Couchsurfer’s place. This time we are about a 45-minute walk from the city center but we have our own set of keys to the apartment and the view makes the trek back and forth worth it. We are on the sixth floor of a glass apartement building, right on the canal, catching a view of the entire city.
We spent much of the day dodging the rain and wind, ducking in and out of cafés, super markets and coffee shops, trying to take in as much of the local perspective as possible. I absolutely love Amsterdam so even just walking the streets and appreciating the glistening canals is a dream, not to mention the house boats and swans.
Our next steps? To go where the wind takes us, meet strangers, speak different languages and get lost in old cities. We may also try to do some street acts. Ideas, anyone?
“When we get out of the glass bottle of our ego and when we escape like the squirrels in the cage of our personality and get into the forest again, we shall shiver with cold and fright. But things will happen to us so that we don’t know ourselves. Cool, unlying life will rush in.” – D. H. Lawrence