I left Portugal yesterday for the Netherlands - because of the way flights worked, though, I had to fly back through London Gatwick, which was cheap enough with Easy Jet.
Everything went fine, I got to Gatwick and had a couple hours to kill. Then little things started going wrong. First, the shuttle between terminals was down, so they crammed people onto busses. Fine. The flight to Amsterdam was fine, but when it landed there was another plane still at our gate that had to be de-iced, so we sat for a while waiting for that. We finally got a new gate, and I got passed customs and immigration fine. Then the train to Utrecht was delayed 10 minutes, and I couldn't quite figure out what number I had to dial to call Natalie - my phone has a British SIM card but abroad it connects through whatever lines are there. Then apparently international rates ate up my credit, because suddenly I was down to like, 2 pounds of credit. I got on the train, and then when it got to Utrecht we ended up sitting outside the station for like 45 minutes because the tracks were broken or something ridiculous. Maybe they were frozen over? Then when I got inside the station it was crazy crowded and I STILL couldn't figure out my phone so this sweet security guard let me use his and I decided it was easier to just take a taxi to Natalie's rather than the bus and her having to come meet me, etc. So I grabbed a taxi, and we're driving fine, and THEN HE HIT ANOTHER CAR. So then I sat around waiting for them to exchange information and stuff. Luckily the taxi was on a distance meter and not time.
So then I get to Natalie's place but my phone is now dead, and apparently when roaming TalkMobile charges for incoming calls, too, so Nat couldn't even call me. Finally I just asked someone walking around if I could use his phone, and I found Natalie, and everything was good again. (Nat is a friend I made when I was living in Holland in 8th grade, and we've kept in touch) It was so great to catch up!
Today she had an exam, and my cousin had other things to do so I went out into Utrecht for 2 and a half hours with Natalie's bike. I sat in a park (where a flock of ducks almost killed me), biked around, went to all my favorite stores (H&M, C&C, HEMA, Blokker, and, of course, the supermarket Albert Heijn.) I found a little cheese stand at a market and bought a hunk of gouda to take back to campus and a smaller, sundried tomato infused round of cheese for the friends I'll be staying with for a few days in London. And I bought my favorite ham and cheese croissants at the store, as well as stroopwafels and these delish cookies I forgot about that have a coffee flavored cripsy shell on the bottom. Yum.
Tomorrow I spend the day with my cousin and aunt - unless my cousin's baby decides to just pop out! And then in evening I'll come back to Natalie's - she and her friends are having an end of term Christmas party that she's invited me too, which I think will be really fun.
We'll see what I do Friday. My flight leaves from Schiphol at 9:30pm, which means I want to be there around 7:30, and I may stick around a while and then take the train to Amsterdam and walk around for a few hours before getting back on and ending my journey at the airport. And then I spend a few days in London with friends, and then I will finally be home after almost 3 full months of bopping around Europe and seeing 5 countries, if we count the Vatican.
What a life.