I am in love with Holland. Everything is green, the cheese melts in your mouth. Everyone bikes. Dressage is everywhere. Two girls at my hotel rode dressage, and one’s family were breeders. The tickets sold out to the horse show. Can you imagine that! Sold out seating weeks before a young horse show? I swear this place is perfect. In fact, I was in the market buying thumb size blackberries, rolls and cheese for a picnic and a 6’7’’ guy behind me and I struck up a conversation. I said something about how tall the men were in Holland and how I normally don’t feel so short. He said that, it was recently announced on the news that the average height of Dutch men has increased 20 cm the last 10 years and they are now the average tallest men in the world. I mean what more could you ask for? I can wear heels and not feel like a stork.
So I love Holland, and I became kind of officially Dutch because I bought a used bike. It even has a granny metal basket on front, reflectors and a bell! That way when I need to run up to the market or I want to take a train on my day off I can pedal to town or the train station.
While I was here I went to the World Breeding Dressage Championships for Young Horses in Ermelo, I just finished an article for California Riding Magazine about it, be sure to look for it. It was an amazing experience and made me want to get a facility and start breeding horses. On Monday after the show I headed early to Cologne, Germany to the federal administration office to work on my paperwork to stay in Germany. After an entire day of government offices I did have a little time to visit a German friend. He lives in Cologne and met me at our hotel to take me around the sights. The Cologne cathedral is amazing. Mom said when she came backpacking at my age here, she walked up the over 1000 steps to the top, I didn’t feel compelled to so instead I sat on the balcony of the hotel and just looked at it!
It was an early night at the hotel. I partly wanted an early night because the Excelsior hotel has the greatest shower ever. I had to arm wrestle mom to get to use it first. My environmentalist heart felt guilty for the 20 minute shower, but it was heavenly. The floor had geothermal heating as well so my toes were even warm after. We had three balconies that opened onto the square. Our room actually had a little foyer with a door bell. Can you imagine, a doorbell in a hotel room? I mean what is that point in that?
It was up before six am to head to Voerde in time to help feed the horses and start my next adventure. I was nervous but didn’t want to show it which tends to make me quiet. I had been to Voerde before but now looking through the eyes of someone living here for months verses visiting it felt different. Now Voerde is part of my story. My time here will, like all my adventures, become part of who I become. My time here will change me.
I have been here a few weeks now and I am blissfully happy. I am riding lots of horses. It has been cold and rainy so that makes you miss home a bit but for some reason (and don’t get me wrong on this) people just can’t replace horses for me.