Once you travel around – cycling to the Keukenhof, driving to Heemstede, in the train to Groningen and Utrecht v.v. – you do start to notice that there is an awful lot of water around. It’s everywhere. And it’s really high, too, or more precisely, you are really low (the west is largely below sea level). It is something you tend to forget at the south coast of England, with just the odd river every several miles. The Netherlands truly are a water country – and I love that :-).
You buy Dutch cheese – and you get, as a present, this:
After landing on Gatwick on the way back, my eye caught the address label on the bag of the girl sat next to me on the plane. As happens, words that are favoured by your brain jump out: Brighton. A second look revealed a familiar address: in the area right next to where I live.
You don’t meet people living that close to you every day, so I approached her, and quickly detected a distinct Dutch accent. She turned out to be a math student at the same university where I work (Sussex, not Brighton), but by this time I wasn’t very surprised anymore. When finally she turned out to be from another town close to Leiden – me from Katwijk, she from Alphen – it just reinforced my firm beliefs that coincidences don’t exist and it’s a small small world…
Of course us humans have no business interfering with such workings of fortune, so we exchanged addresses, email nor telephone numbers – and I think I have forgotten her name, too.