We should have learnt from the first day (of my parents visit) when our search for a nature reserve led to us becoming lost in Amsterdam. However, both my parents are nature lovers so we tried out luck again on the second day. This time we were in search of ‘The Dr. Costerus Botanical Gardens’ in Hilversum and it did not take long for us to get lost again.
The map we had picked up from the tourist board (just a few moments before) was not very useful. It had no road names; in fact a lot of the roads were not even on it. The road signs were even less helpful largely due to the fact that there were none. So we ended up walking around the area, trying to find it. The confused looks on our faces must have shown because a very kind Dutch lady stopped as she was cycling by and asked if we needed help. She was able to tell us exactly were it was and it came as no surprise that we had walked straight past it. Not only was it down a small alleyway but the huge sign that stood over the entrance to ‘Dr. Costerus’ Botanical Gardens’ was also heavily over grown with some of Dr. Costerus’ ivy.
Although the name suggested it could have been a magical land of candy trees and chocolate grass (Willa Wonka’s Factory) or a creepy garden of freakish mutant plants and animals (The Island of Dr. Moreau) it turned out to be just someone’s back garden. We spent just five minutes looking around after half an hour of trying to find it.
The rest of the day was spent showing my parents the new house and town I now live in. They had visited the old house but I had never really had them over as guests before. I cooked dinner as they watched TV. It was kind of strange but also fun having the role reversal. The cat was very happy with the situation as well. As far as she was concerned it meant more people to pay attention to her. My parents both loved the new place and the playful cat.
We spent the third day (today) browsing through the stalls at the Black Market. No, my parents were not shopping for deadly weapons, non-rationed meat or illegally harvested body parts. Although the name suggests otherwise the Black Market in Beverwijk is a normal legal market. I heard so much Dutch music while we were there that it might have actually improved my Dutch language skills but I’ll probably have to do everything in song.
We spent the evening at an Australian themed bar in Amsterdam. They serve kangaroo burgers which are almost as big as my head. I am still digesting mine at the moment and might feel hungry again sometime in 2008.
I’m not sure what we are doing tomorrow yet but hopefully it will not involve getting lost somewhere.