Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Afternoon in Sittard

Nothing was open today in our area due to it being All Saints' Day. We're in the state of Nordrhein-Westfalen where this public holiday is widely observed. We heard the pealing of church bells and saw many people visiting graveyards, tending to their loved ones' burial sites. All of the villages were very quiet and the mood was reverent.

We thought this would be a good time to go back to the Netherlands and search for bikes. We were slightly worried that shops on the Dutch side would also be closed. We realized this was not the case when we entered our trusty parking garage and saw that it was full.

We quickly abandoned our quest for bikes when we arrived at the square in Sittard. The sun was shining and the atmosphere was bustling so we found a cafe and ordered drinks. Belgian beer is quickly becoming my favorite, and I thoroughly enjoyed a La Chouffe. We relaxed for a couple hours and marveled at how nice it was to be drinking beer at an outdoor cafe in the middle of a Tuesday.

View from our seats at the cafe.

We took a walk after lunch and ended up at a chic boutique. The owner of the shop was very kind. When she realized we were American, she was excited to show my husband her stock of Levi jeans. I think he broke her heart when he told her those were not anything like the type we buy in America. 

She was eager to practice her English with us. She wanted to know where we were from and how we ended up here. It was so nice to be able to have a lengthy conversation with a stranger. She gave us lots of helpful suggestions for things to do and we're excited to follow her advice. We thanked her and felt like we made a new friend. After purchasing some small gifts for our families, we made our way back to the car.

I feel as if I'm talking a lot about bathroom situations but, let's face it, we all have to go every couple of hours. It's only natural for funny things to happen during an activity that occurs so frequently. So far I have noticed a lack of public restrooms. We generally go into a restaurant or cafe, purchase something, and then use the facilities. This time we decided to go to a coffee shop. My husband ordered while I searched for the restroom. I was faced with two doors, obviously for two genders. I couldn't decide which door was meant for me so I just chose the first one since I didn't see a urinal. Of course I later found out from my husband that this was the men's restroom, but thankfully no one else came in so I was saved from that embarrassment.

I've previously mentioned all of the bicyclists, especially in the Netherlands. Before crossing the street to the garage, I looked both directions for any cars and then stepped off the sidewalk. Suddenly my husband yelled, "Waaaaaaaaait!!!!!!!!" I looked back over my shoulder at him and felt a sudden rush of wind blow my hair. I looked to my right and saw a woman on a bike quickly fading away.
"You walked right into her! She almost hit you!" he exclaimed.
"Well, I didn't realize I was walking into her path," I said defensively.
"You need to be more careful! These people are going so fast! It's like walking out in front of a car!"

 guess he's right. She was moving at a very high speed. It wouldn't have been pretty if she had side-swiped me. 

Despite my brush with danger, we made it safely to the car and arrived home without further incident. 

I have taken quite a long time to write this entry because I'm actually supposed to be studying for my driving test tomorrow. Though we're very good friends, I'm not sure I'll tell you if I fail. Wish me luck!


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