Series: The Lowlands
I remember the day as if it was yesterday. The Day when I decided to become a triathlete. It was an early November Friday noon and I was on a soon-to-become regular training with Janine in a swimming pool in Amsterdam Oost. Finishing the session being full of endorphins I made a sudden decision: Let’s tri-race! (Actually the decision sounded more like Let’s complete a HalfIronMan in 2014! which turned up to be a rather brave decision.)
I have not been following cyclocross this season very much. I got absorbed by triathlon and instead of watching cycloX world cup races, I became an eager consumer of videos about swimming and tri-transition techniques. I realized that the 2014 World Championship takes place in the Netherlands just a few days before the actual racing weekend. When I discovered that the double world X champion Zdeněk Štybar is also going to compete, I did not hesitate a second and went to get myself a ticket for the Sunday’s Men Elite Race.
My race bike was standing still in my room when the summer got already over its peak this year. And I realized that not taking the rocket out would be a mortal sin. But since I had a significant lack of sport motivation by that time I knew I wouldn’t break the wall of laziness just on my own. Therefore I started looking for a cycling group that would take my ass out on bike. And I found one: Cyclodammers. When I joined the group at the beginning of August, I had no clue what will this juncture develop in just a few months later.
Actually, there IS the city of Delft... A city of the Netherlands, located in the province of South Holland roughly between the cities of Den Haag and Rotterdam. However, the description mentioned above tends to be more apt. Since when you arrive to the center of Delft, you got the feeling as being in a fairy tale. You feel as getting centuries back somehow expecting Johannes Vermeer or Antoni van Leeuwenhoek coming out of the small houses any moment later.
Every year on 30th April, the whole Netherlands is plunged into a orange sea; it is a day of celebration of Queen's birthday (Koninginnedag). Well, Queen Beatrix was actually born on 31st of January, but the celebrations are rescheduled on purpose to increase the possibility of nice wheater. The last day of April is therefore a unique opportunity to have a proper fun in the streets for otherwise decent Dutch people.
What you can read about Keukenhof when you visit the official website is, that it is „the most beautiful open spring garden in the world.“ It is open through mid-March to mid-May. This year the timing of the blossoming is shifted due to an unusually long winter. We started to plan our visit to Keukenhof in the middle of March and by that time we had no idea then on 20th April the tulips will not be ready yet.
The movie Alois Nebel, based on the graphic novel by Jaroslav Rudiš and Jaromír 99, became the Winner of the Grand Prix HAFF feature films in 2012 on the Holland Animation Film Festival in Utrecht. A year later, the authors returned to the festival: Jaroslav Rudiš was about to read a short story about Alois Nebel and Jaromir 99 came with his band Priessnitz to perform a live concert show.
If someone had told me couple of months ago that I would have been skiing with Dutch guys in Swiss alps, I would have seriously doubted it. Yet, it just happened! And as I find myself being back in Amsterdam, I can officially claim previous five days the best holidays I had in years and one of the best I have had ever … which actually makes it far the most genius business trip ever.
I will spend the following six months in the FOM-Institute AMOLF. I learned about the institute thanks to a friend of mine, who recommended it to me together with couple of more places within Europe as an ideal place for doing a mass spectrometry related internship. I went through the information on the website and subsequently decided to e-mail to professor Ron Heeren and ask him about the possibilities of an internship in his group. I had no idea it would be so easy, actually.