I’m very lucky for the way everything sort of fell in place for me when I was planning on moving to Europe. I’ve been dating my boyfriend(Nathan) for the past year and a half. We meet at university in Chicago, but he was born and raised in The Netherlands. When I was planning this year as an au pair, I didn’t really plan to come here because of him, but it’s been especially nice having him here. It’s nice to have someone to show me fun places and to do fun things together (sometimes bringing his dog along as well😄). Lately, during the weeks I stay with my host family and on the weekends I go to visit him about 40 minutes away. This has provided me the perfect opportunity to see more of the Netherlands than just the town I live in.
I never knew how much nature was actually here in the Netherlands! The Netherlands is known for being one of the densest countries in Europe, so in my head, I had kind of imagined it to be village after village with not much else. I’d gotten that very wrong. There are many large nature preserves and forests, not just in the countryside, but also close to larger cities like Amsterdam.
My first weekend here we went to Amsterdamse Bos, a large forest preserve about 10 kilometers from the city center. It was quiet, full of different walking and biking paths, small lakes, and plenty of fresh air. There were also tons of dogs, all of their leashes, exploring the woods. It seemed like we were far far away from any sort of town or city. It’s nice to see how much the Dutch value nature.
On the weekends we take the dog on walks here, and it is so nice to see so many people out and about early on a Sunday morning. It can get pretty cold here in the morning, so there’s often a thin fog as it begins to warm. This combined with the soft, morning light makes for some amazing pictures!
I am absolutely in love with Raffa(Nathan’s dog). Honestly, he’s easily one of the greatest dogs I’ve ever met. I knew we were going to be great friends even before I met him. He’s just so cute! He’s so playful and full of so much energy, when we take him on walks he runs through the forests on a search for the greatest stick. On the weekends I go stay with Nathan…but the real reason may just be to see Raffa ;).
Autumn has definitely arrived in the Netherlands, there may be a lack of PSL and pumpkin patches here, but I look forward to exploring more of Holland’s nature as the colors begin to change. This weekend I’m off to Munich for Oktoberfest! Let’s see if I can make it back…