Saturday, May 05, 2012

More friends revisited

Back in Munich again, I only stayed another day, just long enough to organize heading to my next destination. Saying goodbye to Ena I got another rideshare from Munich, this time to Duisburg. Duisburg is one of a group of cities all crammed together near the Dutch border and is only 15 minutes away from Dusseldorf and Essen. It was part of the old industrial and steel belt of western Germany though that mostly shut down now.
I stayed in Duisburg 2 nights to visit my friend Banu. I'd met her 5 years before as part of the Turkish couchsurfers I'd hung out with in Ankara. We'd not met each other since but in that 5 years she'd married a German guy and settled down in Duisburg. I know a lot of people complain about Facebook and Couchsurfing as websites and programs now, but if not for those I really wouldn't've been able to keep in contact with friends like Banu over the years. So I'll continue to use them for the foreseeable future.
We mostly just hung out at home chatting and catching up because the weather in Duisburg was not cooperating with us. All I saw of the city was whatever was along the way during our walks between the train stations and her home. It was a nice visit though and once again felt really good to catch up with old friends.

From Duisburg I caught another rideshare to Amsterdam where mom and Savannah picked me up. That definitely felt like a home coming though I can't say that Holland feels like home to me the way it does to them. I'd come back to Holland faster than I really needed to because 2 days later my friend Marcus flew in from Winnipeg. We'd lived in the same hostel in Brisbane for a few months 1 ½ years ago and he was just starting his European trip with a couple days in Holland.
He stayed with us for 2 nights and I found myself for the first time taking on the role of guide over here. The weather mostly cooperated with us and we were able to bike around Alkmaar (both of us rusty looking on our bikes). His presence was also finally the excuse I needed to get Mom and Savannah to drive us around to see the tulip fields, nearby coast and the famous windmill museum. I like the bright rainbow effect of the flowers in the fields.

Biking in Alkmaar.

At the windmill museum.

We are such tourists!

Tulips near Alkmaar.

The next day Marcus and I took the train down to Amsterdam to have a look. We did lots of walking around everywhere as I tried to show him whatever I know of the city. It was another good day. The morning after that he had to continue his trip and left for Brussels. Once again, very cool to see another friend after so long.





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