Time for us to be shipping back to the USA with all our stuff.
What did we think about moving to The Netherlands? Did we have fun?
Well it’s a lot more than Cheese n Tulips!
We really enjoyed our time in the Netherlands and Europe. We will miss the outside cafe lifestyle and being able to walk everywhere. The downside to walking into town and the exercise you achieve in doing so is the amount of beer you consume, as you are not driving!
I have to say the Dutch roads are brilliant and well maintained as are the train, trams and buses. Half their Country might be below sea level but you do not see any flooding! What you do see however are bikes! Everywhere. In fact, there are more bikes than people in Holland. bike paths sometimes seem more congested than roads. My only issue with all the bikes is that they have right of way and just keep going without slowing down crossing a road. What is slightly more amazing is that it’s obviously very cool for the cyclist to not look at you in the car or acknowledge that you are there, they just keep going full speed eyes straight, right across the 4 lane road on the zebra crossing without hesitation, even if a 40 ton truck is approaching. Un helmeted scooter drivers are also allowed on the bike paths to bring the organized mayhem to another level.
Food and drinks in the Netherlands were great for the most part although a lot is fried which is not very healthy. The Bread and cheese is great. They have amazing fresh orange juice machines in the grocery store where oranges are dropped in the top of the machine, squished and OJ fills the bottle. One bottle takes about 20 oranges!
One thing I never got used to was having to bring shopping bags with you and bag groceries yourself. I’m not saying it’s a bad idea, just something I never got used to so I ended up always having to buy plastic bags. The result was our very own plastic bag mountain hidden in a closet! The challenge of bagging one’s own groceries as the items were scanned and almost thrown down the conveyor belt at you while also fumbling with paying for it all was also a nightmareish scenario that I never looked forward to doing.
The mix of nationalities in the Netherlands was amazing. The actual Duchies are outnumbered by the amount of other Europeans and middle easterners living there. Everyone seemed to get on well, and we never felt threatened or felt there was any racial tension. It also meant there was always good Polish sausage, Turkish pizza, Shwarma and Kebabs always available and of course, French Brie, Pate, Salami, Parma ham, croissants, Schnitzels and even sausage rolls! Must say their bacon was a little weird though. The famous pickled herring was not as bad as I thought but being British I ate it with a knife and fork and not holding its sliminess by the tail and biting into it!
If you are bit of a shipping nerd like me and have never been to Rotterdam and its surrounding areas on the River Maas, you are in for a real treat. There are docks or Havens as they call them everywhere and house every different shape and size of vessel you could ever imagine. Every day on the drive to work, we would see new ships. Sometimes you would be at a stop light and glance over to the left or right and there would be a massive ship towering above the buildings moored up. One of our favorite restaurants to go to in Schiedam where we lived which is just downstream from Rotterdam was The Bear and was situated on the riverbank. We had many a fun lunch and dinner watching all the river activity ranging from container barges heading to Germany and Switzerland, chemical tankers from the huge Petro Chemical industry, cruise ships, and bulk barges and ships carrying who knows what. Rotterdam is the largest port in Europe and one of the top 10 busiest in the world.
The weather compared to living in South Carolina was, well basically un comparable lol but it never really got that cold. There was only one day we did not make it into the office as it was snowing. Yes it rained but not overly. An average day was a t shit and light sweatshirt and jeans meaning it never got that cold or that hot either. The wind could get strong though.
Lastly, we will miss the travel. There is so much to see in Europe and we barely scratched the surface. We could drive to Belgium for lunch in just over an hour! We could get a cheap flight for a weekend away in the South of France or Spain or Portugal. We could hop on a train to Germany or Paris or drive up north to a quaint Dutch fishing village or hop on a plane or ferry and get my fill of fish n chips and Cornish Pasty’s in England.
We have packed up all our bits and pieces into three U Crate 100’s and they are in a shipping container on their way across the Atlantic to Charleston. If you are moving from Europe to the USA, UPakWeShip has all their international shipping prices online. Its easy to look at all the different services and compare the rates so you choose a service that fits your budget. That is particularly important if you are on a lump sum relocation package.
We will miss The Netherlands and Europe but we are excited to be back at UPakWeShip HQ in Charleston. We have left the UPakWeShip European office in capable hands and are looking forward to our next trip back over there.