A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
I had long been thinking of going to the beach but just couldn’t find the right day. Either the weather would be a turn-off or I’d get caught up in an important task. On Friday I finally managed to tick this off my list! After finishing the day at uni, I left for a meal at a friend’s place. What was supposed to last two hours, ended up taking 5 and soon it was 11 pm. I was tired and wanted to hit the bed so I left his house and began riding back to my room. I had quite a ride to accomplish since my friend’s house was all the way across the city. As I made my way back a gentle breeze seemed to lift my mood and nudged me into an adventure. I thought it is Friday night, I have been productive this week, why not relax – not in bed, but at the beach! Without a second thought, I changed course and minutes later was on the cyclist’s version of the motorway to Katwijk aan zee. I had heard from friends that this beach was only 40 minutes or so by bike and so thought I’d be back in bed in 3 hours or so – not bad.
The ride was fun. Normally wind is a hindrance during rides but in that gentle breeze I felt as though I was driving an SUV. To my surprise there were tens of other bikers making their way in a similar direction and this included a group of 5 girls whom I rode along with for several kms. I wasn’t carrying anything along so my only source of entertainment was to listen to them sing at the top of their voice – it all added to the fun.
As I approached katwijk I seemed to lose more and more of the fellow cyclists and this led me to believe that I had misread some of the directions. As a result I hovered around the same road(which had no directions on display) for 20 minutes and began panicking. I was now cramping, was lost and so all I wanted was a bed to lie on. Just as my fatigue began showing I saw bikes emerging from the end of the road. I asked them for directions and within minutes I could feel coastal wind. I was finally at the beach – not during a warm sunny day but during a cool moonlit night.
The place looked deserted as would be expected of it at 1 am. But then I was here to relax so didn’t really mind it. I was soon sitting on the cool sand listening to waves with the moon shining bright above me. It was a unique experience. I didn’t go in the water but did sit next to it for 30 minutes or so.
I did take some pictures but unfortunately there seems to be a problem with uploading them, but as soon as I have that sorted I shall update this post. I also hoped to see bio-luminescence as in the picture above but I guess I need to plan better as apparently this is more likely to happen under certain weather conditions.
While sitting at the beach was beautiful and serene, I did find my heart pounding as I looked around – it was desolate. The only other time I have felt like this in my life was when I was once in a cave with a bunch of friends and at one point all of us climbed onto a cliff and turned off our torches just to experience pitch darkness.
Soon, I left the beach and rode back. Surprisingly the journey back only took 25 minutes – although being chased by a dog did contribute to this I believe. Anyway, I think if you are in for an adventure then you should definitely go for a ride at night – perhaps with other people just to make sure you are safe. I’ll put up the pictures when I can.
Must watch movie # 11
THE MONEY PIT (1986)
If you like laughing at other people’s misery then this is just the film for you. Tom Hanks and Shelley Long play a young couple who buy a house from a shady estate agent. During the sale this seems like the house of their dreams, but as soon as they take possession things begin to ‘fall apart’ – quite literally. The house seems to be in a never-ending repair mode that drives the couple crazy, almost to the point of their divorce. Several funny accidents and thousands of dollars later they do manage to bring it all together and we have a happy ending. This really is a ‘laugh out loud’ movie so do watch it some time.