Here we go....
We have moved into a new place in a city called Hilversum. The town is bigger than Huizen, which is nice because there is more to do.
After we got settled into our new place, we attempted to go grocery shopping, but we ended up going in circles, got frustrated and went home. We tried again the next day, only this time we verified with a teammate where it was and had success buying our first set of groceries.
The weather here is not always the best, in other words it loves to rain at least once a day. However, that doesn't stop us from going out and exploring or visiting our teammates! We rode our bikes in the torrential down pour for 45 minutes to our teammate's place. Minal had made us pasta which was delicious, and she was also kind enough to give us dry clothes since ours had to be rung out!
One of the downfalls so far besides the daily rain is that most stores close at 6pm; grocery stores, food places, everything. This is a problem for those of you that know Alissa and I...we are ALWAYS hungry. We figured this out the hard way when we tried to order a pizza from Dominos at 11pm. They had closed around 10 which is a lot earlier than at home.
Speaking of always eating ;). ...We biked to Laren which is a pretty wealthy town about 15 minutes away and had what they call 'poffertjes'. They are like little pancakes with a ton of butter and powdered sugar--Coach Y would not approve, but they are delicious. Don't worry Coach Y, we are keeping up with a workout routine. We go for runs in the mornings, and then have been doing Insanity workouts in the living room!
Alissa and Dannie in Amsterdam
Our games two weeks ago didn't go exactly how we had hoped. Two of our girls ended up in the hospital...one with what everyone thought was a broken nose and the other with a concussion. Luckily, Marleen's nose was not broken and Maaike's CT scan came back normal. After the game we met the other team's American pitcher. She is from North Carolina, and this is her second summer playing in Europe. It was nice to talk to someone from back home, and hopefully, we will get a chance to hang out with her again.
We rode our bikes to a city called Naarden Vesting. This was a really cool place to walk around and explore. It was built in a 5-star shape and is surrounded by a canal. It was where the soldiers fought during the Spanish Civil War. It ceased to be used as a fort in 1926. However, the history of the fortifications in Naarden are preserved at the museum. We had a history lesson for the day. We went to the museum and got to go underground where they simulated the bunkers and showed scenes from the war. The Hollandse Waterline (or Water Defense Line) is still intact, and we were able to walk in them. Theses had many purposes for the soldiers. One way they used them, was to hear their enemies coming because they had holes in the ceiling that went up to the surface "eavesdroppers passageway". These were a little freaky because it was pitch black, and it was just the two of us down there at the time. It took us three different times to get the guts to actually walk through them. We spent the day in the city after leaving the museum. We walked around and got lunch at a small café. The city is older, but it has cute shops and sweet architecture on the old houses and churches.
Our first trip on the train came when we went to
explore Amsterdam. Dannie felt like she was in the movie Harry Potter
since it was her first time on a train. We met Maaike, one of our
teammates, at the Amsterdam Central Station and spent the day walking
around with her. It was very busy, and we finally didn't feel like the
only tourists here because everyone was taking pictures everywhere you
looked. We took a boat canal tour which was sweet because we were then
able to see the buildings and get some history behind the different
famous ones. The history behind some of the old houses was crazy. For
instance, there were some that were well over millions of dollars that
were owned by bankers in the town, and they were so old they had started
to lean. We plan on going back to visit the city a few more times
because it was kind of overwhelming since there was so much to see.
As most people know, soccer is HUGE here. We joined in on the excitement of watching the games at the club. We dressed in orange and rocked some face paint and awesome hats.
Apparently, it wasn't enough because we lost both games. There is a good chance that we are bad luck because our team was supposedly really good. Although the games didn't go well, we went out after the first one and had a great time. We found a group of really awesome people to hang out with. It feels like we have known them forever. As of now, there are only six of us in the group but that will probably expand now that classes are starting to end and the other girls from our team won't be studying as much.
We also took our turn to volunteer by picking up paper throughout Huizen on the paper garbage trucks. This is also a fundraiser for the club and everyone takes turn on Wednesdays by going out collecting. We rode on the back of the truck while it drove around the neighborhood streets. We would hop off, grab the can and wheel it up to the back of the truck where it would clip in and empty itself. The first 5 cans took us a little bit to get used to, but after that, we had the system down. Let's just say by the end of the 2 hours, we both have a lot more respect for garbage men!
We have watched our "little brother" Peter (who is 20 and the son of our first host family) play baseball twice so far, and it was fun to watch some baseball in the sun. Dannie was disappointed because they didn't have American hotdogs at this ball park, but we both had Toasties instead which is what they call our grilled ham and cheese sandwiches. We met two Americans on his team as well and have hung out with them a few times since then. It is nice to carry on a conversation without any pauses for either party to explain what they are talking about or translate from Dutch to English or vice-versa.
We are going to visit a REAL castle in a couple
days, so we are both excited! We will put up pictures of it next time we
blog. We also have two home games this Saturday, so hopefully next
time, we write we will be reporting two wins!
That's all for now. We hope your all enjoying your sunshine please send some our way!
Dannie and Alissa