What Makes a Scenery Special?
“Wait”, I stopped walking and turned to my former boss. “Let me take a picture of the beach.”
Are you sure you want to?, my prudent, overthinking self asked.
I pulled out my disposable Fujifilm film camera from my bag, the only one I had for my trip, which only had 27 shots. I stress the word “only” because I was going to visit four beautiful European cities in the next fourteen days — and I thought about the million picturesque scenes that might be more deserving of a place in my finite film roll. This was just day one.
I had just landed at Schiphol Airport two hours ago. It was already mid-afternoon, so there was no time to shower or change my clothes. What do you wear to the beach when it’s 18 degrees anyway?
So, embarrassingly, this is how I reunited with my former boss after four years: with awkward, flat, oil-shiny hair, travel-shot eyes, and wearing the same clothes I’d been wearing the last 24 hours.
The whole thing was a last-minute plan. He could pick me up at the airport, he said, and then we’d go straight to the beach.
The beach! In the Netherlands! And I wouldn’t have to worry about finding my way around (or, should I say, getting lost?) on my own just yet!
It turns out that he was living in the nearby city of Haarlem. Coincidentally, I added Haarlem to my Amsterdam wish list after this video suggested it for a day trip. “It’s like Amsterdam got shrunk into a more manageable, cuter version of itself!” It looked like such a lovely place, but I thought it was a long shot for me to be able to squeeze in a day out of town.
And yet, there I was, chatting with my boss in his car with German hip hop playing in the background, taking in the lovely sights and streets of Haarlem.
Then it felt as if the stars really aligned for me when he told me, a Formula 1 fan, that the Zandvoort race circuit was right across the beach. I got there and looked around the hilly terrain, imagining the fervor of the orange army cheering for dutchman Max Verstappen. For the first time in my life, I heard the zoom of real race cars (they weren’t Formula 1 cars, still, it was so surreal!)