Sunday, November 17, 2013

Noordwijk, Netherlands: The almost daddy-daughter day trip

Running on Noordwijk Beach in the Netherlands last weekend, with friends from around the world

How did last weekend's impossibly fun day trip to Noordwijk turn out differently than planned? There were a couple of last minute changes:

  1. I swapped out a friend visit in Amsterdam for a one night stay in the coastal town of Noordwijk, the Netherlands.  Why?  Because...
  2. ...This trip was intended to be a daddy-daughter weekend away.  But at the last minute, the decision was made to keep our precious two year daughter old at home.
Lena would've loved her quality bonding time with Daddy in the Netherlands, and her hard working Mommy surely deserved a relaxing bachelorette weekend at home. And on the heels of my brief friend-visiting spree in northern Italy last month (link), I was anxious to squeeze in one more overseas family outing before our baby's January due date.

Sadly, Mommy was concerned that Lena may have still been recovering from a cold. So less than three hours prior to departure, Lena was removed from my flight listing.   Kathy requested that I reshape our travel plans for the Netherlands into to a solo day trip.

Even with these two last minute changes, the trip played out like a dream.

The bus from Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport to Noordwijk took about 1 1/2 hours (2 hours for the return trip to Amsterdam the next morning) to reach the coast.

The peaceful views of the Netherlands' misty countryside made my transition from a cushy 8 1/2 hours in Delta's Business Elite cabin to a public bus that much smoother.

My early morning arrival at the Flying Pig Beach Hostel gave me a chance to rest up before heading out for the day. Bianca from northern Ireland at the reception desk generously invited me to join the community for breakfast, making up in advance for my 5:45 a.m. checkout time that would send me away hungry the next morning.

I explored the town of Noordwijk for a while before heading back to the Flying Pig to round up some people.  A brisk beach run was the cure for my airplane/bus ride blues. Ishai and I assembled a crew of the willing and able from our hostel.  Israeli mountaineer Ishai, Brit Sophia (training for a marathon!), and Americans Christine, David and I all hit Noordwijk Beach to stretch out our legs.

It wasn't all sunshine and sand, of course. A couple miles or so in, a light drizzle escalated into a hail storm. We turned around, but not in time to spare our faces from a stinging microdermabrasion of ice pellets. We splintered apart into pairs running all directions, yet somehow hilariously got back to the hostel doorstep at the same time.


Here's a first: That night, we stayed in. When checking into any hostel, my customary shtick is to drag my fellow backpackers/accomplices out of their beds, couches, hammocks, etc. to join me for a rambunctious night out on the town.

No need. The Flying Pig is already a popular hangout for Noordwijk's locals. And our beach hostel had all the right ingredients for a memorable night: a fun party atmosphere, music for dancing, comfortable places to chill, and the perfect mix of people.

Our night at the Flying Pig beach hostel begins!

As always, it was my mates who made the night so unforgettable. The night flew by for our gang of five fearless beach runners plus Stu, Mariah, Rick, Jacques, Keelie, Kat, Michael, Bianca, Vanessa, and everyone else who drew us in for the laughs, stories, surprisingly deep discussions, and ridiculous drama.  I wouldn't have traded a minute with those friends for the extra hour or so I could've spent sleeping.

My night continued straight on until dawn. It was cringe-worthy to wake up Sophia (and Kat!) at 5:45 a.m. to get my passport back, but the rest of my return trip went off with a hitch.  Fading quickly, I was out like a light as soon as I boarded the early morning bus to Amsterdam.

It seemed as though I didn't finally wake up until my plane prepared to land at PDX 13 hours later.

Waking up to the familiar views of two of my favorite climbs, Mount St. Helens and Mount Adams

Back in Portland I helped a friend in Italy fly back to the U.S. with one of my buddy passes, hooked up with a compadre here in Beaverton, and then hurried home to Lena and Kathy, the love of my life.  I walked into the house to find my baby girl in good health.

Lena, I'm glad that you're feeling better now. I still owe you a daddy-daughter trip.

Better start packing!

Coming up on Garth's Blog...

Recent family surfing weekends at the Oregon Coast!

And then...

Lena's 1st international trip to Madrid, Spain!!


Unknown said...

Yup...this blog post was obviously written by my fun-loving, extroverted son! The post is an action-packed description, which no doubt mirrored the actual experience. I enjoyed reading about it! Looks like Lena will have to wait awhile before she can go overseas to join in her daddy's dance moves with his international friends. Maybe Grandma should start shopping for some dancing shoes for Lena!

Garth Hamilton said...

Believe it or not, my one night stay in Noordwijk was more about the chill and less about the crazy. Like I wrote, this wasn't my typical trip. We had our wild moments, for sure. But getting to know those amazing peeps at the Flying Pig was what made this day/night so special.

I predict Lena will be ready to get her dance grooves on sooner than we realize. She takes after Daddy in so many ways... and having energy to spare is just one of them!