Strolling in Europe
After spending a very long time in planning, I spent around ten days (December 12–21) to go to Europe for the first time in my life and the longest trip I have ever had outside Thailand and Canada.
Initially, I planned to go to Europe in 2014. However, lots of circumstances, including making a long trip in Japan, prevent me from going to Europe.
There were so much trouble that the plan kept swinging between go and no-go territories. I was also very close to change the plan to visit my family in Bangkok and perhaps hanging out with buddies in Tokyo or Osaka.
Nevertheless, in 2015, I thought I should go to Europe this year while my buddy was still there and before I became very busy (in term of travelling) in 2016.
I spent the first few days the South Holland region. To my surprise, I never thought that I would love Delft and Dordrecht where the Dutch heritage are very strong yet there were not many foreigners travelling to. Dutch people were very nice to the point that the bakery shop owner apparently would give me cookies for free. However as the owner could not speak English and I could not speak any dialects of Dutch language, I ended up paying it like a good citizen.
The friendliness of Dutch people is well beyond my expectation.
Starting from the passport control, I’ve never seen an immigration officer joking with three hot ladies before or joking about the weather in Bangkok.
Wherever I went, lots of people seems to be happy and very considerate about others, even homeless people.
Before the trip, countless people told me to be aware of thief. So, when I arrived, I stayed on the normal alert like what I usually do in Bangkok where I grew up.
However, walking in Paris was like a bad joke in some areas. Paris was in the high alert after the simultaneous terrorist attack in Paris a couple weeks before my journey to Europe. So, the visible presence of armed military personnel was everywhere.
Even so, in some areas, there were a lot of elements on the streets that made me instinctively feel insecure, e.g., suspicious persons, scammers, etc.
While the Dutch architecture appears to be “normal”, the Parisian one seems to be the work of someone on drug. They are very beautiful yet carefully crafted.
Sadly, I did not have suitable lenses to capture the beauties of the city.
Even though lots of people told me that the Summer is the best time to visit Palais De Versailles and Parc De Versailles, the Autumn or Winter is also not that bad.
With the grooming sky and the falling leaves, Versailles in the Winter illustrates the sadness and loneliness of the long history of whoever used to occupy the palace and the park.
The Three St. Andrew’s Crosses
In my last leg of the trip, my friend and I went to Amsterdam, the city whose coat of arms contains three St. Andrew’s Crosses (appearing like XXX).
While my time in Amsterdam was very short, especially I spent my more quality time on two big museums and less time on the street, comparing some other big cities with long history, Amsterdam still maintains what it is and what it has been since the 13th century. The essence of heritage is very visible and true to itself.
The End of the Trip
Unlike the trips to US, I enjoyed the time in Netherlands and France. The new environment and culture is definitely refreshing and makes me feel that there are lots of stuff on this planet that I should go to experience myself.
The Next Trip?
So, Year 2016 is actually a busy year for me. There are at least two trips, three countries, about 5 cities to go. One of them happens to be the place I have never been before. On that note, I cannot wait to that time.
The trip would not be possible without my buddy who helped me planning and guiding me around and was very patient with my unscheduled stops for video/photography. He also sometimes helped me taking photos and videos too.
All photographs are copyrighted by Juti Noppornpitak.