When you travel slowly, as you do on a bike, you can notice the little changes.
Sailing for two months from the Caribbean to England, the temperature of the air and water decline ever so gradually, day by day, a natural change that is unnoticable except in hindsight.
Approaching the border of a different country, one can detect shifts of dialect in the simple words of neighbors, like a bleeding language buffer on either side of the invisible line – especially in Belgium, where both Dutch and French are official languages of the state.
Geography follows this gentle course as well. (more…)
We didn’t leave right away, of course.
A couple more days at the squat in Leiden…. working the security-barricade door at a huge techno party; “Whaddya mean everyone has to have invitations? Nobody has an invitation!”…. an impromptu scavenger hunt, conceived on a whim, with our legs dangling over the canal: one broken inner tube, some cat hair, and a poster with Dutch written on it; one white flower, a high-pitched noise, and one shoestring; all found within 45 minutes on the brisk Spring streets of Leiden…. a speech, requested by our host after a Wednesday night eetcafe, about my trip and my philosophies…. one final, quiet dinner with Sandor – an oldschool squatter with the use of only one arm(still rides his bike – coaster brake – still rolls spliffs no problem and still cooks vegan gourmet deliciousness)…. some city sights we didn’t discover till our last day…. aah Leiden – one of the gems of Holland.
When Lily came to Casa Robino, I was breaking in my new Dutch army-surplus boots and thinking about hitting the road soon; but that all changed in a flurry of excited heartbeats. I quickly found myself under an intensifying joyous magic spell; with a huge grin that wouldn’t leave my face, a sponanteous kiss on the dancefloor, and a potent infusion of soul-feeding, life-embracing energy, it was clear that our paths lay together.
Life began to sparkle and shine like never before.
My first day at “Casa Robino,” I asked where the bathroom was. Simple question, I thought; it should have a simple answer.
“Just open all the doors – you’ll find it,” was the simple reply.
I stood saying goodbye on the windblasted deck, as the engines sluggishly turned over and began to push us out to sea. The railing vibrated gently as the gulf between the ship and the dock became wider. I was leaving a piece of myself behind; cutting off and pushing away. Committing another sad sayonara.
A dull melancholy sank itself upon me, as the lighthouse slipped farther and farther away. I’ve always loved Ireland, but never really knew anything about it. Now I’ve got a reason to love it, and it wasn’t easy leaving.