From Amsterdam, we drove north to see a friend briefly stationed in the Land of the Fries. I’d read that instead of Friesland, the locals actually prefer the alternate Fryslân spelling, have their own Frisian language which is totally different from Dutch, and even heard they’d prefer to be independent of the other Dutch provinces. But that’s another story.
Our scheduled 70 minute road trip turned to more than two hours due to a nightmarish traffic jam caused by roadworks. Ugh. The highway literally was a slow-moving parking lot — and on a Saturday at that! Thank god the weather at least behaved itself as it was cloudy and rainy just an hour prior.
Over here, heavy traffic on a weekend is unheard of, except maybe in rare cases like serious accidents. While I was sitting in the car twiddling my thumbs, listening to the radio blaring the most generic pop music in memory, I was suddenly reminded of traffic jams when I was growing up in Manila, where it was pretty much a fact of life and pointless to make anything of it. Sitting in the car this time though I was getting increasingly restless and peeved, and it was with a heavy sigh of relief that after a fairly long distance of stopping and going, it became clear sailing onto our destination.
On the way there we drove over the Afsluitdijk, a road that split the North Sea from the IJsselmeer, Western Europe’s largest lake. Built in the 1930s, the road is on a dike that’s the longest in the country at 30 kilometers. I thought that was pretty amazing engineering. It was only my second time to drive over it but wasn’t able to make it to the other end till now.
Finally, we were nearly there — Harlingen, here we come!