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Nothing happens by chance.

Right on the morning of my leaving I witnessed a discussion in the salon I dye my eyebrows.

One of the ladies working there was saying to a colleague that she could visit Germany anytime, and even stay indefinitely there; she has a cousin who retired there and has invited her to keep her company. The lady also said she doesn’t have any business there, and that she wouldn’t go no matter what. I resisted the need to talk to her for the moment, but when we were alone, I suggested she should go. I told her it’s good to see new people and places, especially since she’s faced with such an opportunity. I told her that it’s good to get out of our routine, take a break, we can’t possibly live beautifully just by commuting to work and back, every day.

That’s how the Romanian woman does it. The lady looked like she was relieved, like she had understood what I wanted to say, and she looked more open to life now.

Speaking of travel, some people go to India to find themselves, I had to go to Belgium and Holland to better understand life and myself.

The reason I went on this journey was Michel Lucas’ photography workshop, in Belgium. You can read all about my experiences there in this article.

And here I was, on a Thursday, two weeks ago, on a plane from Bucharest to Brussels. I stayed the night there and after breakfast I left. My first contact with Belgium was through the sweet and flavourful scent of gaufres, a traditional dessert, that hit me as soon as I stepped in the Brussels-North railway station.

This is Brussels, as seen from my hotel room in the Luxembourg area.

The next morning I took a train to Hoge Venen, where the workshop took place. They didn’t know what Hoge Venen was there, because they speak mainly French. They call it Hautes Fagnes, so I didn’t get anything by asking about Hoge Venen. But with a bit of luck and and a map in my pocket, I managed to get to the small and pittoresque town of Eupen, after spending two hours on the train.

I crossed the town right through its main road, pulling my heavy luggage behind me; a big trolley and a fully packed backpack. My happiness, on the other hand, was big. I was there, in Belgium, and soon in Hoge Venen, it was fantastic, and all those feelings were numbing me against the weight I was carrying.I went across town to find the tourist information office, because I needed to ask directions to the bus station. Turns out, it was close to the railway station from whichI had been carrying my heavy luggage from.I took the bus to Sourbrodt, a small touristic village where all of us from the photography workshop were staying.

Once in Sourbrodt, I found myself in another sort of impass. I didn’t know how to get from the station to the guesthouse. And I didn’t have signal on my phone either. I decided to approach a man who was refilling at a gas station near by and asked himwhere could I get a taxi cab. He told me there were no taxis in the village. Of course. Finally, seeing that I had less than 2 kilometers to my destination, the gentleman offered to give me a ride.

What a relief! That’s how I arrived, like a princess, to the guesthouse.

I met the rest of the group and spent a very interesting night in their company. They spoke to me in English, and in Dutch amongst them. Overall, the evening was amusing. The workshop went smoothly, and even though there was another outing scheduled for Sunday afternoon, I left Sourbrodt for Holland, on a new adventure.

I chose public transportation to get myself to Hoge Veluwe too, where I was to spend the last four days. By bus back to Eupen, then by train to Maastricht, Holland. It was easier for me to change transport, since I knew the centre of Eupen like the back of my hand now. From Maastricht I took another train to Utrecht, following religiously the direction I had gotten from my dear fellow workshop attendees.

Utrecht, from the train

 

I was in a hurry to catch the train from Utrecht to Ede-Wageningen, so I didn’t have time to buy a ticket. I had heard that you could buy one from the controller, on the train.
Just to be sure, I asked a young man sitting close to me and he told me that such a thing wasn’t possible in Holland. He joked, saying that maybe there won’t be a controller passing by. I talked with a women close to my mother’s age as well. She and the man spoke perfect English; he told me he had a degree in the English language. He also added that he visited Romania as a volunteer for an orphanage, and that he likes Bucharest.

I was lucky, after all. A lady controller passed by and only said hi. I had gotten away with it. Once we got to Ede-Wageningen, I noticed that my trolley had broken, it was missing a wheel. The student helped me out and carried it for me to the bus station, where I managed to catch a bus to my final destination, Hoenderloo.

Ede-Wageningen, and the only mill I saw my entire stay in Holland

I had celebrated too early when I got on my bus. I realised I didn’t know where I needed to get off. The driver offered to help; in fluent English. He called the reception desk at my hotel and asked the receptionist to order a taxi for the station he was going to drop me off to. It was late and already dark when I arrived at the station, and my hotel was in the middle of nowhere, 7 kilometers from Hoenderloo.

Do you think this adventure of mine was by chance? Not at all. It seems that someone above took care of me until I arrived at my destination.

I will tell you in a future article about what I have grown to understand in my four days in Holland.

Until then, you can see here the photos I took in the Hoge Veluwe National Park, and you can read the story of my visit.

Hoenderloo as I was leaving

Thanks to my adventurous journey, I had the chance to talk to people of all colours and shapes. It has been a wonderful experience for me, a continuous challenge, and I felt myself lost a couple of times. Everything considered, it was fantastic, and I found myself, I succeeded by myself, I’m proud. I used my English and my German, and I noticed that languages spoken in Holland sound a lot like German. I even managed to understand the main idea of a book without translating it! How everything comes together… no limits!
Then, I saw wonderful places, both in the wild and in picturesque villages and towns. I had the privilege of visiting two interesting countries, and I can tick them off from my list.

I crossed their borders so freely, as I crossed the frontiers of my soul.

I understood that life is so mysterious and it needs to be discovered, to cross over your comfort lines. It’s only when you leave the the daily routine, losing yourself to the experience and meeting new people, seeing new places, only then you go beyond your limits and earn a deeper understanding of life. A global understanding, that can grow the horizons of your knowledge.

You will understand that there are no limits, aside from the ones impose on ourselves, mentally. The world is so big, but, at the same time, so close, and available and open. Let’s be curious and wanting for more knowledge, because knowing the world, we can know ourselves. We don’t need to travel to foreign lands, but to be open to new experiences, new people, because only this way our false beliefs and self-imposed limits are shaken; we got those limits through education, starting from early childhood, sadly

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