Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Inn of Tulips and Truckers

I'll give you a few hints to guess where I was this weeked: Wooden tulips, fabric tulips, painted tulips, lighthouses, and freezing drizzle.No, not on a poorly decorated igloo. Or a roofless craft store in bad weather. Honestly, how ridiculous.

I'm in.....HOLLAND!


It must be both wonderful and horrible to live in Holland, MI because you live in a gorgeous place but have to go through telling people you live in "Holland- no, not the real Holland, the one in Michigan." all the time. You see, Holland, MI is not quite the land of wooden clogs and windmills but the transplanted version that somehow has made its home in the flat planes of the American midwest. From what I observed this means that they have a traditional, quaint tourist town but throw tulips and windmills everywhere. Literally, everywhere. At the hotel we were staying at their were vases of fake tulips hidden on top of the vending machines. Why? Ancient Dutch tradition? Lazy housemaids? We can only wonder in awe of the Dutch's mysterious ways.

If I could describe our hotel (booked last minute over the internet) it would be Yellow. Or Fishy, either way not adjectives one desires their place of rest to be associated with. The walls were a hazy pastel mirage of lemon and pale green, the "beach-inspired" artwork looked less like a weedy sand dunes and more like a fat man's thinly stubbled chin spotted with seagulls. To further evoke the sandy atmosphere we're pretty sure the hotel staff hid some cod in the hotel room. There is no other way to explain the distinctly fishy aroma that pervaded the inn. But after driving for hours upon hours with only sketchy billboards such as the dentist advertisement with the slogan "DON'T DIE WITH YOUR TEETH IN A GLASS!" for entertainment? The bed could have been full of fish and I wouldn't have cared less.

Our equally disturbing door plaques. "Oh, clogs! Where to bury the body?"
The yellow theme continued the next morning when we checked out the most important part of the hotel: the breakfast spread. I kid you not, every food was yellow excluding the apples and 70% of the fruit loops. Bananas, waffles, butter, mysterious spongy ufos that I think might have once been eggs, biscuits, lemon danish, orange juice, honey; the breakfast buffet's redeeming virtue was that they played nature documentaries about baby seals throughout the morning. Baby seals can make any situation better, though they made me think twice about eating the sausage.

Our purpose of visiting the charming lake-side town of Holland was to visit Hope College and was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Everyone was friendly, the professors were welcoming, and the cafeteria was the stuff of dreams. However, the tuition price was also the stuff of dreams, but thats another blog altogether.

After a long day of making collegiate small talk and collecting souvenir pens my mom and I decided to explore Holland's hidden gems. We went hipster-watching in downtown Holland, visited the campus library, and, of course, went to the beach. I got sand in my shoes, the freezing gale-force wind attacked my hair, I got sprayed by a breaking wave, and it was still completely worth going to see. Standing on the breakers that stretched as a bridge between the shore and the lighthouse, I felt like a more sane, post-anger management Captain Ahab on the deck of his ship in the roiling sea, watching for white whales on the vast horizon. Except I didn't see any sea creatures, just utterly insane windsurfers in wet suits being tossed by the waves and waddling around in the permanent wedgie only a wetsuit can give.

Moi marvelous Mum
Moi and a marvelous lighthouse
After exploring the beach, climbing the dune mountain overlooking the lake, getting lost, finding a restaurant, and eating the best gluten-free burger to ever grace the Earth, we gladly crawled back into our fishy box. Speaking of which, it it well past time for me to burrow into my very warm, cozy, and not fishy or yellow in the least bed. I cannot extol the joys of travelling and last minute road trips enough but there is nothing, NOTHING, like arriving home and belly-flopping into your own bed. Now if I only had a maid that would make my bed every day and leave those mini hotel shampoos and soap bars lying around....

Windmills and Whirlygigs,