During my time in the Netherlands, I hung out primarily with the other international students. Anyone who studies abroad can tell you, it’s not always easy to make friends with the locals, especially if they would rather speak their own language instead of interact. As the group of 30 or so Geosciences students I knew got closer throughout the semester, we tried to do as many fun things on the weekends as possible.
At the beginning of June, my friend Harriet announced that she wanted to go camping, and that she would book a campsite somewhere in Holland for as many people as were interested. We ended up being a 24-strong group, and when the time came we all packed up and got on the train to Den Helder, across the country.
I expected a normal campsite that you might find in a small forest or something in a national park in the US. I’d certainly seen and heard of others going on those trips in the Netherlands. What I did not know was that after we got off the train at Den Helder, we had to take a ferry to our true destination—the Isle of Texel, one of the northern islands of the Netherlands. We were going camping on an island, and to the beach no less!
Very few people knew what to expect, so when we arrived Thursday night we were blown away walking to the campsite, tucked right behind the dunes against the shore. It rained hard that evening, and we thought the weekend would be a shambles. Friday through Sunday turned out to be perfect, sunny days. I had packed woefully inadequately for the sand and sun, but despite turning into a lobster by the end of the weekend and losing my glasses swimming in the North Sea, that weekend ranks in the top five of all time. Unexpected sojourns to a beautiful beachside campout: highly recommended.