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."
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.
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.
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."
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 soon 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.