Taking the train ride again after 6 years and getting off at Purmerend station, felt like I have done this only last week still. We were met at the train station by my previous host father almost like I have never left. We drove home along the road I used to cycle. At the house, we met the boys, who of course weren't the little boys they used to be. They were taller and older, but for me that was the biggest change coming back to the Beemster. For the rest, it felt like coming home. When my host mother came home a little later as well, it felt like I have only seen her the week before.
It was amazing being back in this beautiful little part of the world. Among the green meadows where the sheep are grazing, the ponies watching over us, the dog waiting for the football to be kicked, the rooster waking everyone up in the morning, and of course most of all, being back with these wonderful people whom I spent such an important part of my life with.
Friday night was mostly spent in the garden, until dinner. Chatting over beers and catching up, playing a bit of football with the boys.
Saturday we left early for the wedding, which was a wonderful affair and the main reason we are on this spectacular trip. With a very happy couple, spending time with old friends and meeting some new ones. A boat ride on the Amsterdam canals, scrumptious dinner, and dancing into the last part of the night. It was a night to remember, and I will leave the honour of picture posting to the bride & groom.
On Sunday we slept nice & late, and eventually got two bicycles ready for a nice, long trip through the countryside. In total, we cycled an estimated 25 km, or 4 hours, along the fields and through little towns. Had gelato in De Rijp-Graft and ate our sandwiches on the dyke, while looking out at a windmill standing guard over the water. In the afternoon I was fetched by my old neighbour and friend, who took me to see her new house where she lives with her boyfriend, whom I still know from before. A bit later we also went to see her parents, who were after all my neighbours for 3,5 years. More time was spent in the garden after that, where the boys' grandmother joined us for dinner.
In the morning we still had another cycle to catch the sunrise on the windmill. The sun definitely takes its time to arrive here, in comparison to back home!
After breakfast, it was already time to say goodbye and catch our next train. All in all a very successful couple of days in the countryside between going from one buzzing city to the next. This time we headed quite a bit further south to Ghent in Belgium!