From Amsterdam to Zandvoort:

Airports, Van Goghs, Love and the Sea.

March 17, 2019

Zandvoort, beachwalk, twilight hour at the sea
Beautiful beach moods in Zandvoort
It's 3 a.m. The bright moon is shining annoyingly-romantically right in my face. I nervously check on "FlightAware" to find out where exactly my boyfriend's airplane is. Still in the middle of the Atlantic, of course. Like 5 minutes ago and 10 minutes ago and 15 minutes ago. People do crazy things when they have butterflies in their heads. I take a butter biscuit and lie back down again.
An hour and a half later, the alarm goes off. My eyes are burning like fire and my right foot fells numb. Whatever. I jump into the kitchen with a wide smile and spill half a gallon of water while trying to make tea. Three helium balloons are floating silently above my packed suitcase. Ready to surprise the most fabulous man in the world at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. This feeling is overwhelming me in such a way that I spontaneously open the window and shout "AMSTERDAM!" into the neighborhood. Now everyone knows! Then I shut it again, laugh silly and feel like I'm 15 and on the way to my first date.
For two weeks we will travel together through Europe. We'd been waiting for this for over two months. Amsterdam, Zandvoort, Brussels, Copenhagen and Germany. Here we go with part one of the story about infinity. Between airport-amok, stormy seas, adventure and lots of love.

Total loss of control at Schiphol

Old Town of Amsterdam, architecture Netherlands
The beautiful old town of Amsterdam
I have more than an hour left until my boyfriend's airplane lands. And only 13 minutes to go to the airport. Brilliant! I drive across the Dutch Interstate at 75 mph while I try to divide a tiny pill with one hand because I always have to take it at exactly the same time of a day. I briefly look in the rear-view mirror, but I can't see anything anyway because of the bunch of balloons. I feel unbeatable and like everything works out perfectly and as planned.
Until my old and update-less GPS suddenly decides that it doesn't know any road around the entire airport. I get a little sweaty and promptly miss the right exit. And just because it's so funny, I miss the next one as well. I end up somewhere in the middle of nowhere, where not even a sign to the airport can be seen. Damn it. I lost 25 minutes. And I still have no clue where I am. I turn off the heater in the car and try to turn around to get back. It works. I soon can even spot some huge airplanes. Before I miss the right exit again by looking at the GPS. "Are you fucking kidding me?" I snap at the navigation device, which only shows me that I am on a green meadow and that it tries to recalculate the route every two seconds.

How to not find a huge international Airport

Fun in Amsterdam, lonelyradlover
Hanging from trees in Amsterdam

I stop again and try Google Maps on my phone now. The results are only impressing me slightly. Meanwhile, I've already wasted 45 minutes, I am drenched in sweat and see my balloon-surprise flying to hell. At some point I pass my starting point again, where I messed it up at the very first time. I am speeding over a forbidden road mark and suddenly find myself in the area of a huge airport site. Then I waste another 15 minutes by trying to find the right parking garage. It's now 9:18. My boyfriend arrives at 9:20. How can you drive around an international airport for an entire hour without finding it? I decide to discuss that later. The answer is probably that I'm just stupid.

My nerves are ice-skating while I slam the car door shut, grab the balloons and start to run. I shout "Sorry!" in a breathless voice about 135 times while I'm kicking away complete strangers.


Finally, I'm there. "Flight from Chicago O'Hare, Arrivals Hall 3" the monitors inform me. I am just about able to follow the big THREE on the signs. My clothes are sticking to my body, my hair looks like shite and my face burns. That's exactly what I wanted to look now!

Then I almost wait 30 minutes. Because the plane spontaneously landed at Hall 1.

But when we finally find each other, suddenly anything doesn't matter. "I smell like a beaver," I say after three years of just hugging each other. He looks at me, grins, and says, "love you."

The Silence of the Lights of Amsterdam

Boat ride Amsterdam, Netherlands, Roadtrip Europe
Amsterdam boat cruise at night

In the evening my state of mind has normalized in a way that we can stumble across Amsterdam at the same stage of confusion - me with an airport, and he with a jet lag. We spontaneously decide to take a boat trip. For me, this city with its picturesque canals and historic bridges has always had the charm of a northern Venice.


We catch the twilight hour between sunset and night when the boat leaves. On the water, the facades of the crooked houses glitter in broken forms. The curtainless windows let our curious glances wander into designer apartments, cozy reading rooms and brightly lit kitchens. The ship glides almost silently under bridges whose arches are decorated with warm light bulbs. After so many weeks of anticipation and planning, I suddenly feel a great inner peace. After talking for about nine hours, we finally keep our mouths shut and remain silent. Just as you can be silent with only very few people in the world.

A little Art Escalation with Van Gogh

Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, Rembrandts 2019
All the Rembrandts at Rijksmuseum

In the coming days we are exploring the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum. We escalate a bit by seeing all the original paintings. Then we wander around all those fantastic masterpieces for several hours by discussing shadows, colors and compositions. 

I've been to Amsterdam twice before, so I know that sometimes a small street orchestra plays in the passageway of the Rijksmuseum building. And since my boyfriend not only has a certain passion for Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash, but also likes classical music, we make a detour there.

It is awfully cold and windy, but incredibly atmospheric. Apart from that, we have a slightly different opinion about what "awfully cold" is.  The typical Rocky Mountain inhabitant is only laughing about the end of my comfort zone at plus 50F. As long as there is no significant minus before the temperature number, they still put on a t-shirt. Or something like that.


On the last day in Amsterdam we finally find out - in a highly scientific experiment - that it would probably not be a good idea to smoke pot in Yellowstone. I forgot about the reason why. But it was funny.

Hiking in the rain in Zuid Kennemerland

National Park of Zuid Kennemerland, National Parks Netherlands, lonelyroadlover
Fairytale trees in the National Park of Zuid Kennemerland

What I've always wanted to do: Going to the North Sea in autumn or winter and surrender myself to a wild storm of brute waves, pricking sand and mighty clouds. No irony. Like the weather was listening to my desire, it is pouring like hell on our way to Zandvoort. We glance at each other on the parking lot of the Zuid Kennemerland National Park. Then we say "Who cares!" at the same time, dig out our rain jackets (in which I look like Kermit the Frog) and hike for three hours through fragrant, dark green pine forests and sandy dunes. Along winding fairytale trees, moss-covered meadows and paths covered with broken shells. The cold rainwater runs over our faces and hands. No matter how many exciting cities we will see - in our hearts we are nature lovers. Free, adventurous, curious and a little mad. Or as my boyfriend always says, "Sarah, you are a total nutcase. And that's why I love you."

Barefoot through the storm and a swing at the beach

Barefoot in the North Sea, North Sea wintertime, travelblog
Wading into the North Sea at 35F
In Zandvoort the wooden boards of the beach stalls almost crash into our faces. We fight our way through the sandstorm into a cozy café with sea view at wind force 50 million. Where we order a gallon of hot chocolate. Then we almost burn our fingers while we play around with the candle. I get the feeling that the restaurant people are always quite happy when we leave again. Most of the time we ask explicitly for the cheapest wine, then spill it, mysteriously shoot food over the table and laugh quite a lot and quite loudly. Besides, we're probably the romantic couple that every single wants to shoot on Valentine's Day.
The next day the sky rips open and the brown-white spray of the sea shines in the sunlight like in the spotlight of a natural stage. I've never seen the North Sea so stirred up. We run down the beach like little children. Then I throw away my shoes for a mysterious reason and walk barefoot into the ice-cold water. "Wait, I'll take a picture!" my boyfriend yells through the thundering hurricane. Then he is busy with his phone to find the perfect angle while I start to get paralyzed from the knees down.
On the way back we find two swings on the beach. Although we probably weigh only about 250 pounds together, we somehow manage to pull the swing-frame halfway out of its bracing. "Let's better get out of here!" I yell in a quiet diplomatic voice.

"Let's throw the wine against the wall!"

Zandvoort beach, landscapes of the Netherlands
The beautiful seaside of Zandvoord, Netherlands

Then we buy a bottle of wine with a cork - without having a corkscrew. We are about to wrap the bottle with a towel and slam it against the room wall in the hotel. "If things go wrong, let's just say the room was looking like that before," my boyfriend explains as I look skeptical.
"Or we could say it's blood," I wisely suggest.
Then we think that over again and simply go and buy a second bottle without a cork.

"Do we have glasses?" I ask seriously. We take a look around the Spartan room. Then we laugh. As if! We got nothing. Nothing and yet everything. I look at the bottle like a guru and then into the blue-gray eyes of my boyfriend with their magical golden speckles that remind me of the Hot Springs in the West Thumb Geyser Basin in Yellowstone. "We are total nutcases, aren't we?" I say quietly and filled with peace and happiness.


In the second part of the travel report you will read what we experienced on the following days of our Europa Road Trip in Brussels, Copenhagen and Germany.  Probably it's about storm, wine, chaos, Brussels, Copenhagen and romance.

Kommentare: 2
  • #2

    lonelyroadlover (Sonntag, 17 März 2019 14:24)

    Hey Mathilda!
    Thank you SO MUCH for your kind comment. I wrote that piece of text on the evening I came back from Amsterdam where I dropped him off for his flight home. I was totally mixed up and filled with awesome memories and deep love as well as a terrible emptiness. I am SO glad that you seemed to be able to read everything the way I was feeling it. We ARE weird. In a positive way. I never was with someone as special as he is. Part 2 is already in the making.
    Lots of hugs,

  • #1

    Mathilda (Sonntag, 17 März 2019 12:35)

    Oh, Sarah, the way you write about your love. It's honest and weird (in a good way). You both go so well together. Looking forward to the second part of your story.

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