So, I’m working on arranging an internship for next year, chilling a bit in my room and staring endlessly at my screen. All of a sudden, Caro asks: “Hey, would you like to go on a surprise holiday for like 3 days? Or maybe go camping in the woods of Breda?” As random as can be. I honestly had no money to spare on a surprise holiday abroad, but camping sounded like fun. So why the hell not!
I always wanted to go camping. Not on this special made camping place with showers, a restaurant and a pool, but in actual woods. I was just under the impression, that you’re not allowed to do so in the Netherlands. However, in some places you are allowed to, so it seems. So we picked a date, made a plan not to plan a thing, and the next Sunday we found ourselves cycling to the woods packed like donkeys. We might have underestimated the trip a bit though. After an hour and a half or so of cycling, we arrived at the woods. It was extremely remarkable how of our entire trip only the last 10 meters were on a rough road: just grass and sand. Up until then, there was either asphalt, gravel, or even tiles, while, for at least an hour of our trip, we were surrounded by woods and pure nature. Well, less pure as it might seem, I guess. Welcome to the Netherlands, where even forest roads are made comfortable. We didn’t complain once though. We were only thankful we didn’t have to cycle through bumpy roads and dusty plains. We could just lean back and enjoy the feeling of freedom and distance of the city and all the roaring life. (Later on we found out, we weren’t that far away at all, but not being able to hear a car or see anything other than vegetation helps a lot.)
The first day was pretty much over when we arrived. It was already starting to get dark. We quickly set up our tent and had dinner. We had made pasta beforehand at Caro’s place, which we were incredibly grateful for after the trip. It coincidently also was delicious, so win-win. We played some cards, talked, and mostly just enjoyed the fact of being outside instead of sitting in front of a laptop all day. After a few hours, we called it a day and went to sleep.
The next day I got woken up early by the sun. However, I thought fuck it, and went back to sleep. It was almost noon by the time we got up. The sun was so hot at that point, that our tent was like an oven. We got out as fast as we could. Apart from the heat, the first thing I noticed was, how our bodies had changed during the night: we were covered in red bumps. Caro had been terrorized by mosquitos – even though we sprayed the entire tent with anti-stuff. Those intruders might have left me alone (ignoring only two bites), but my arms and legs were covered in big, red circles. I even had them at the bottom of my feet, while I had been wearing socks all day and all night. Later on I found out they were spider bites. How delightful. Luckily I had a small first-aid kit with me, including all kind of creams to reduce itchiness. It all didn’t bother us for too long.
We spent the rest of the day walking around, going off trail as much as we could, and finding a nest of the cutest bunch we had ever seen. We even came across a camping site with a playground. Of course two 20-year-olds – well, one almost – had to go kid around for a bit. The same goes for when we found a lake with just THE most perfect climbing tree. Do you really expect us to not climb in it? I myself have a minor fear of heights though, so even though I love to climb high, my heart jumps up to my throat when it’s time to get back down. I was lucky Caro has no fear whatsoever. She would have happily stayed in that tree for a while. Thank god she didn’t and we got to the water. It was so relaxing to be there. Your feet simply dangling in the water, the sun warming your face while a small breeze cools you down. Looking at blue skies – BLUE SKIES PEOPLE, in the freaking Netherlands that’s a rare site that needs to be cherished – and fluffy clouds talking about crazy stuff you might see in them. And nodding in agreement with what you hear, even though I have no idea how your so-called dog looks more like a unicorn-rabbit to me.
After chilling for quite a while, we decided to walk back. This again was a peaceful experience, but then… I had hip hop practice in the evening, so we made the plan to cycle back to the city together, and cycle back after practice. Well, let’s just say time management isn’t our strongest quality. We thought the trip to the city would be faster than the day before, because this time we didn’t need to carry any heavy stuff. It wasn’t really. It also didn’t help, that Caro’s seat – of a bike that wasn’t even hers – decided not to stay in place anymore. It kept on bending down to the back of her bike, which made her journey most uncomfortable. Again, thank god the roads were all smooth, or her butt would have died out by the time we reached our destination.
Along the way, we also accidently pointed out the wrong direction to an elderly couple… I my defence, I first said the cycling point 61 was behind us, but the man didn’t believe me. I described the crossroad, on which he replied “Ah yes, that’s 7 I suppose”. Well, I guess you’re right then? Going the complete other way, we 10 minutes later passed cycling point 7… I suppose they found out about the mistake when they got the crossroad and they’re now both safe and sound. Let’s keep it at that.
By the time we got back to the city, it was already past 7pm, while practice started at 8. We raced over to Caro’s home, so she could shower and we could fill our empty bottles with fresh water. Next we raced over to mine, where I got changed as fast as I could, and we continued to race to the dancing school. Of course I got there a bit late, tired already. Of course it all of a sudden was a more intensive practice than usual, and even though I loved it, I also almost died. And of course Caro just sat on a chair looking and chilling, ‘cause she would rather take a breath than join a class she’s not used to when she as well was tired as f. When the class was over, we rushed over to my place again for me to take a shower and collect our stuff.
We planned to get back to our tent as soon as possible, but we were way to hungry for that. So what did we do in the middle of our still so-called camping trip? We ordered tacos. I even had a discount, so hey, couldn’t be better. It was a great dinner we both enjoyed with all of a hearts. It did take some time though, as by the time we started our journey back to the woods, it was already passed 10pm. While we were cycling through the middle of the woods, it had gotten pitch black outside. Without streetlights – I mean, kinda smooth roads is one thing, but having streetlights in a forest would really be too much – we couldn’t see a thing. Also, being the smart people we are, we left all our three flashlights in our tent. We only had the lights of our bikes accompanied by the ones of our phones to guide us. It worked out quite well, to be honest. I did sense that Caro was getting scared at some point. Also because she literally told me so. I wasn’t really, but I had no idea how to make her feel more at ease. So I started singing. I felt like an idiot, but hey, singing is what I do whenever I feel bad or whatever, so it made sense. Apparently it actually helped, so I guess that’s a good thing to know haha
We made it back to our tent at midnight. Well, a bit past midnight even. Great risk management and all. We had wanted to make a camp fire and cook dinner there, but as you might expect we didn’t do that. We just had some drinks, ate some snacks, I ate half-cooked pasta, ‘cause it’s me and I don’t count snacks as food. Half-cooked pasta I do consider proper food. Hmm, maybe the word “proper” is in this case highly overrated. But hey, we had a lot of fun.
The next day, we made our campfire anyways and had fully cooked pasta for dinner. We were both so proud! Not only did we manage to make our own campfire (mostly thanks to the pyromaniac Caro), but the tripod was working great and the pan didn’t fall down once! That’s what I call a success.
That mostly concludes our camping trip. It was so much fun and incredibly relaxing! Maybe apart from that Monday evening/night… But like Caro said: it really feels like you’re on holiday, even though we were pretty much in the same city. Not coming across a lot of people and just getting away from your busy lives and responsibilities for a while, that’s also how a holiday feels to me. We’re planning on doing this again next year, but then forcing more people to come with us. If you feel like joining, let me know! The more, the merrier. It also helps if someone would have a car. Just saying.
– Katrin –