In Amsterdam, sitting at the Museumplein at 3 am, a group of people show up with instruments and this happened.
I was sitting blissfully high in Amsterdam’s Dam Square watching the sun set as someone blew bubbles and tourists walked by. This older transient dude came and sat next to me, we smoked some weed, traded travel stories, he asked to play my ukulele and turns out he was an awesome ukulele player.
Only a couple of days before my flight back to Montreal from Brussels, and lots of weed left to smoke before the flight and nowhere to go after various plans fell thru. The days in the Netherlands were feeling heavy on my shoulders, I realized the party had to end at some point, it can’t be the weekend everyday. A friend of a friend contacted me on Facebook and told me I could stay at their place in Maastricht. Not wanting to be late, I payed for the train.
My host were two Canadians from New Brunswick who graciously made me supper and pancakes and gave me a key to their apartment. Maastricht is very different from the rest of the Netherlands. International students make the city pretty much Anglophone, the canals are replaced with the Maas River, and the architecture is much more of the medieval brown of Walloon.
I stayed for one night, walked around the small city blissfully high, walked along the old medieval city walls, went out for a few beers and spoke some Canadian French with my hosts. Highway construction, and lack of gas stations made it impossible to hitch out to Liège. I crossed another hitch hiker. She was from Prague, and cleary high as hell on acid or something. We had a beer together on the side of the high way on ramp before she suddenly had some kind of change of heart and ran off into the bushes never to be seen again. I walked back into town and payed for the train.
Liège is just across the border in Belgium, is another student city, and the number of fixed gear bikes almost outnumbered the number of Dutch cruiser bikes. The city sits in a valley cut by the Maas River, the core has tall apartment buildings, with medieval cobblestone streets at their feet, and a citadel overlooking it all. I stayed at a nice hostel, but was unable to socialize, so I walked from park to park, burning up the last of my weed, playing ukulele for a rabbit, wandering into churches, and taking photos of nature.
As happens with every end of trip, I found myself somewhere remote, this time up top surrounded by the citadel walls, reflecting upon my trip, tearing up, and stoked on life. I had one final Belgian beer and some Belgian fries and payed for the last train to Brussels airport.
I had been convinced to try and hitch hike from Amsterdam to Prague to see Jena and Bec by the last person who picked me up. I set off at 8am, but couldn’t get a ride at all out of Amsterdam heading anywhere to Germany so I flew a sign for Utrecht, which is only about a half hour drive. I went with the intention to keep on hitching out the next day, but ended up staying.
I got a ride quickly, and got to Utrecht in the evening. I went to see Sonic Youth singer’s new project Chelsea Light Moving and had the shroom truffles I had left over from Amsterdam. I was still very high after the show, and wandered around the canal parks, the narrow cobble stone streets filled with roses, the endless hidden parks, and then made my way back to the hostel. The hostel was pretty dodgey, but had some really fun people and free food all day long.
The second night I went to a punk show at a local radical type venue/restaurent/bar with two fun Americans and a bro-ey guy from Calgary who tagged along even after I said pretty explicitly he probably wouldn’t fit the crowd. The two Americans seem to find his kind entertaining to have around, I wasn’t so stoked but he insisted on coming. We got fairly tipsy and went back to the hostel.
The next day was Roze Zaterdag, the yearly Dutch Gay Pride Festival held in a different city each year. Myself and my two American buddies, Lauren and Megan walked around the city then went to the electronic music stage to have a truffle induced hallucinigenic dance off. Calgary-bro tagged along again, not on shrooms. Lauren and Megan felt the need to soak in their truffles high in the park, I had too much energy for such a thing so we parted ways.
I ran into some Austrialians at the electronic stage who I’d been spending the entire time at the hostel smoking weed with, and later saw Calgary-bro in the crowd, he had made some Dutch friends, and as the festival came to a close, we jumped in a cab with them, having no idea were they would take us. The truffles were still running thru my veins, I hadn’t eaten anything so as to not limit the truffle high, and was feeling slightly delirious.
We ended up somewhere in a suburban looking area, at an after hours club in the basement of an apartment complex. We danced some more, and hung out on the couches until the early hours of the morning and the sun started to peak over the horizon, we left Calgary-bro behind as he was nowhere to be found.
The next morning I saw that Calgary-bro made it back and was asleep in his hostel bed. I said farewell to all the lovely people at the hostel and grabbed a train to Maastrict.
Lots of walking had to happen, but I made it to Texel Island from Amsterdam after two hitched rides, a ferry, and a bus. Summer had not yet decided to settle upon the Dutch island, a cold wind was coming in from the North Sea and a light rain was falling. Nowhere to sleep, no real plans, I had only found out about Texel Island when looking up surf spots in Holland.
De Koog is the small beach side town on Texel Island with a few dozen restaurants and bars. I walked around on the beach, scouting for some shelter. THundreds of beach sheds form a line down beach so people can lock up their beach gear. Shed number 15 had its door wide open, and some very welcoming beach chairs inside, perfect spot to spend the night!
The next day I walked to the surf school, rented a board and wetsuit, and hit some one meter waves as my toes went numb. I had to cut the surf time short due to the insanely expensive surf rental and explored the Dunes of Texel National Park with a couple of joints and my ukulele.
There are a lot of rabbits in the dunes, and after seeing all the rotting rabbit corpses realized that something was killing them. Walking back from surfing I saw a young rabbit, weak, immobile right on the side of the path, its eyes swollen and bleeding. It seemed to have been run over by a bicycle. I couldn’t stand just walking away, I pulled out my rather dull knife, and with tears streaming down my face killed the poor thing. It was one of the most morbid things I’ve ever seen or done, and the image still loops in my brain. After some research, found out that the rabbits were dieing of myxomatosis, a human made disease for rabbit population control.
I left the scene feeling really shitty and on top of that, someone had found my stash of dumpstered chips, apples and cheese I hid in the forest for the day, and went off with it. I decided against taking the mushroom truffles I had brought along for a hallucinogenic night on the beach, and instead dumpstered some more food, watched the sunset over the ocean, played ukulele, and then drank beer in beach shed number 15.
I woke up in the middle of the night, the waves crashing onto the beach, and a few seconds later the door to the beach shed opened and a flash light blinded me. I wasn’t able to see the person, and after a few seconds, the door closed and my intruder walked away. I got up and looked outside, and saw the dark figure down the row of beach sheds suddenly popped into one of the shed and shut the door behind them.
I didn’t have much of a reason to stay longer, so the next day I got the bus and ferry back to the mainland and hitched a ride back to Amsterdam from a very eccentric military guy whose car interior was fuzzy zebra and had some great hitch hiking stories.
When I got back to Amsterdam I spent the night over at Michele and Sarah’s place, we went out for drinks with her school mates and had a lovely jam session until the Indica set in and we fell asleep.