This is going to a really long post so please get comfy with a cup of tea and enjoy haha! As a lot of you will know I was in Holland last week with my college and got home last Sunday! I have to say the trip made me fall in love with Holland and I really didn’t want to come home.
So we set off on the Tuesday morning from my college ready to meet the others and get on the coach to go. There was about 60 of us going so we ended up taking a big coach and also a little 9 seat mini bus which our lecturers took in turns to drive. I ended up being on the mini bus and at first I was unsure about going on there but we all had so much fun! The lecturers on it were so laid back, we were having sing a longs, playing games and having a laugh in general.
Our first stop on the Tuesday was to the Hawk Conservancy Trust which is in Andover in the UK. It was beautiful and we watched some bird shows and got to look around. For me, I wasn’t really looking forward to this because I’m not a huge fan of birds especially with them flying around me but I would honestly recommend this place to everyone. Their bird shows are incredible and like nothing I’ve seen before! It wasn’t the normal of having a keeper fly the birds for a bit and demonstrate their skills but it was a whole performance. The birds had different signals of when they came in to fly and it was wonderful to watch even from someone who doesn’t normally like that sort of thing.
At about 4 we left to catch the ferry at Harwich International Port. Our ferry was an overnight crossing so we didn’t leave the port till around 11pm. It was my first time on a ferry overnight and I’m not going to lie I wasn’t a huge fan. I get a lot of anxiety around the thought of feeling trapped and in the little cabins I definitely felt trapped. I ended up staying outside on the ferry for a lot of the time with my friend and I loved it when we were out there. It felt so calming and relaxed me so much to the point we were casually dancing around it was great haha!
We woke up super early the next day via the ferry wake up call and got ready to leave the ferry on foot. Once we left and had gone through the security checks etc we were all back on the minibus and off to Burgers Zoo. Burgers zoo was lovely, they had different areas such as desert, ocean, bush etc so it felt like you were actually in these places. From an animal managements point of view it was an incredible zoo with massive enclosures and some that were shared with animals who you would see together in the wild. We all walked around in our own little groups and then at the end of the day we all met up to travel to our hostel.
We stayed at StayOkay Arnhem which was a hostel and a really nice one at that. It had a park, a basketball court, table tennis, air hockey, pool and vending machines etc for everyone to enjoy. There was also a bar and a quiet area for people to work etc. For our first couple of nights it was super quiet with us taking over the majority of the hostel but on the last day it was really busy with loads of people newly checked in. During the evenings we often chilled until the hostel had prepared our meals and then once we had eaten we were all in different groups playing games etc. We were all put in rooms of 8 people and luckily we all got on super well the whole time we were away and managed to work out a system in order to help us all get ready in the mornings and evenings so we weren’t late and there was no arguments. The only bad part was that for 8 of us in a room there were only actually 3 plugs so thankfully we brought an extension lead.
Thursday morning we all woke up after a much better sleep than we had on the ferry ready to go to Barneveld College. When we got to the college we were split into groups and the students from the college took us on a tour to see all their animals and we got to handle some of them, one of which being a baby tortoise. The college was lovely and the students were too, they were very friendly and their English was amazing! Once we had finished the tour each group got an activity to do whilst we were there. Our group clearly had the best activity because we got to cuddle lambs and it was the best thing haha!
We only spent the morning at the college and then we were off to Hoge Veluwe National Park. The plan was to go on a bike ride around the park but some of us couldn’t quite get the hang of the bikes as you had to pedal backwards to brake so we took a walk around instead. The four of us that went didn’t really know each other before we left but the whole time we were out the conversation was flowing and it was actually really nice. We made it around the park and back to the minibus and coach on time which was a shock to us all but it ended up that we had to wait for ages anyways because of a few issues. One issue was that a girl had dislocated her knee on the bike ride, one small group of students had gone off away from the group and had got lost on bikes and another group had gone the wrong way on foot coming back with one of the lecturers and got lost also. It was all a bit mad but we were all happy enough to sit on the floor outside of the bus and talk. After it was all sorted we managed to get back to the hostel again and have a nice evening.
Friday we were off to Safaripark Beekse Bergen. Here there were 2 bus safaris, a boat safari and bits to walk around also. It was quite difficult being on the safaris because they were talking in Dutch of course so we didn’t understand all of what they were saying but we all just enjoyed seeing the animals and just prayed they didn’t ask us any questions haha! The park was lovely and I really enjoyed going around it. We even went on some of the safaris with the people I met the day before. Once we had finished again we headed back to the bus but the minibus had a little issue. It turned out that when we left someone hadn’t shut the door properly so the internal lights were on the whole time so we got back and the battery was dead. We told the coach to go on ahead without us because it would have been far easier to get 8 of us food than 50 of us food if we were late home to the hostel. Some of us sat at the minibus whilst a couple went to get help and luckily someone from the park came to help us. We were super fortunate because we only ended up leaving 30/45 minutes after the coach so we were only going to be about 10 minutes late. We got back to the hostel and it was surprisingly quiet and then we found out the coach had got stuck in traffic so they ended up being and hour later than us. It was an eventful day but it was still a lot of fun!
Saturday was our last day in Holland and we were all sad to be leaving but also happy because we did miss home, especially our animals at home haha! We went to Apenheul Primate Park and it was so different to anything I had experienced before because there weren’t many cages. A lot of the primates were just running free around the park and they would climb all over you and any prams etc you took in. It was a lot of fun but because of this you had to put any belongings you had apart from cameras and phones in a monkey proof bag so they couldn’t eat anything they shouldn’t. It was a great experience!
After the primate park we were on our way back to the ferry port but first we decided to go to a local supermarket to get some food for the travel home the next day. Me and my friend decided to get a load of small little things because we wanted to try some new things. One of the best things we had was a white chocolate twix, I’ve never had one before as I don’t believe we get them in the UK but I could be wrong? It was lovely though and I had to get some to bring home haha! But then it was back through security and back on the ferry for the journey home. We got on the ferry just as the sun was setting and it was so so beautiful! The Sunday was just the long bus journey home where a lot of the time we all slept so I won’t bore you with that haha!
That was my trip to Holland and I can honestly say for the first time in a while I was genuinely happy when I was travelling so I definitely need to do some more soon! Where have you been that you think would be a good place to go? Have you been to Holland, what did you think of it there? I’d love to hear some of your best travelling stories! I’m super sad to be home now and back to the reality of exams and college stress again but it was a great experience and I’ll forever be grateful that my mum helped pay for me to go! Have quite a fair bit planned for the next few months so there may be a fair few diary style blogs if you like that sort of thing! I’m off to see my uni this week and meet my lecturers which will be exciting. They may even off me an unconditional offer so wish me luck haha! Well done if you managed to read till the end!