Europe is incredible in that it is small but incredibly diverse. Home to 44 countries (according to the U.N.) and mostly open borders, it is just waiting to be explored by locals and tourists from other parts of the world alike. For us Europeans, what better way is there to escape the humdrum everyday life than to pop across the border and check on our neighbors?
Germany borders as many countries as there are states in Austria: nine. One of them are the Netherlands. Living in Berlin, it seems rather far away, but as a matter of fact, only about 650 kilometers of road separate the German from the Dutch capital. So I decided to pop over for a weekend.
I left Berlin on Friday evening by Flixbus, which took me by way of Bremen and several smaller cities to Amsterdam Sloterdijk station, where I arrived in the morning after around 11 hours on the road.
October isn’t the best time for travel in Central Europe and especially not Amsterdam, but a little rain won’t do me any harm.
After meeting up with my friends, I headed into town. I had been in Amsterdam around five times prior to this so we didn’t spend too much time sightseeing. Here are some impressions of what I did see, despite the bad weather hurrying us along:
In the evening, we took the train from Amsterdam to Den Haag, where my friends live, and where I would stay for the night. The train ride is not very long – no train distance in the Netherlands is very long. The country is only about 250 km long and 150 km wide.
The next day, the weather was considerably better. We grasped the opportunity and, in true Dutch fashion, took bikes to go to the dunes at the beach. Artificially created, they are part of the elaborate efforts by the Netherlands to protect their country against the forces of the sea and the winter storms that batter the coast with wind speeds up to 200 km/h for half the year. They do make for a very nice area to spend free time, catch some fresh air and even have ice cream on such a mild October day.
After two days in the Netherlands, it was time to leave again. On Sunday evening, I boarded the FlixBus from Den Haag which would take me directly all the way back to Berlin, all the way back across northern Germany. I arrived home in the early morning of my birthday – but didn’t have enough time even to go home: I went directly from the bus station to school.
This only goes to prove that it is in fact possible – and very worth it – to travel around Europe in just one weekend’s time, even without booking flights.