I’m taking the liberty of calling you friends because, if you’ve clicked on my blog, I hope we have a connection, in that, you are interested in traveling, and enjoy reading about our many adventures as Perpetual Travelers. I’d love for you to leave comments and ask questions about our lifestyle. My husband Tim will soon have the website up, with information on how a couple, on a pension, can become Perpetual Travelers. In the meantime, read on to learn about our journey from Ohrid, Macedonia, and this beautiful city called Dordrecht, in South Holland.
On May 27th, our hosts Daniela, and Laze drove us into town to catch a 7:00 AM bus to Tirana, Albania. As we said goodbye to our hosts, who had become our friends, Daniela, and I were both crying. I felt sad to say goodbye, but I was also excited about going to a new place. The Euro Line bus that was really an oversized van, was great and got us there in half the time it took us to get from Tirana to Struga, back in March. We arranged this trip to Tirana, at an agency in downtown Ohrid. We had to pay 10 Euros more, a piece, for this faster bus, but it was worth it. There were only three other people on the bus, besides ourselves, which made going through customs, at both borders, a breeze. We arrived in Tirana at 10 AM and hired a driver for 20 Euro, to take us to the Best Western Hotel, where we had made a reservation, on Booking.Com.
The Best Western Hotel looked grand and was nicely decorated, but our room was hot and the air conditioner wasn’t efficient. When we first arrived we were both really tired and decided to lay out by the pool for the afternoon. Later we changed and went down to the dining room for dinner. The menu prices like the room rates were a little high for Tirana, but we decided to indulge ourselves. Unfortunately, dinner was a little disappointing. We had some miscommunication with the staff and the food didn’t warrant the high prices. I had the shrimp that was served with the heads on, in a risotto that tasted like it came from a box. Tim ordered pork tenderloin with risotto and vegetables. The pork wasn’t tender. The risotto was more like rice, and the vegetables weren’t fresh. The waiter never came back to check on us, and we finally had to flag him down to get the check. Later, our friend Rudina came to visit. She is a lovely young girl who is currently going to medical school and who runs her own travel agency called Enosi Travel. She knew we were tired and didn’t stay long, but before she left she invited us to visit her and her family, on the Island of Halkida, in Greece. The next morning, we ate a light breakfast, then headed across the street to the airport, to catch a 9:00 AM flight on Transavia Airlines To Amsterdam. We landed in Amsterdam, at Schiphol Airport, at 11:30 AM and caught a train to Dordrecht, South Holland.
When we arrived in Dordrecht, we took a taxi to our new home on a quiet street, facing a canal, near the center of town We were very lucky to find such a great studio apartment on Airbnb, in the Netherlands, for 1050.00 USD a month, including utilities.
We’re on the bottom floor of a brick house that was built in the 1600’s. Our host bought and restored it in the 1980’s.
It’s not fancy, but well laid out, and contains a beamed ceiling, tile floors, and large casement windows that let in plenty of light. The sleeping area has a very comfortable double bed with a pillow-top mattress and a down comforter.,
There is a large shelf with cubbies, beside the bed, which divides the sleeping area from the kitchen. The kitchen is set up with a table for two, a small refrigerator, a microwave oven, a convection oven, and a one burner stove top.
In the center of the apartment is a large wardrobe for storing clothes and beyond that is the living room with an oriental rug, and an Ikea sofa, and coffee table.
In the corner of the living area is a funky-shaped orange setee where I like to read or do my writing.
Here are some interesting facts about Dordrecht. Dordrecht is located in the western Netherlands. Dordrecht was granted city rights by William 1, Count of Holland, in 1220, Which makes it the oldest city in Province of South Holland. In the 12th and 13th centuries, it was an important market city because of its strategic location and traded in wine, wood, and cereals. Dordrecht became an Island in November of 1421, when Saint Elisabeth’s Flood, flooded large parts of South Holland. Today Dordrecht has a population of about 120,000, and with it’s rich and vibrant culture it houses numerous fine art museums, churches, and historic monuments.
After we got settled into the apartment, we went exploring the neighborhood to get our bearings. We walked along the canal that runs in front of our apartment, crossed a drawbridge to the other side, then walked down the street towards the Bonafatius church.
Beside the church was a studio with a sign that said,” Bon Mache”.
The sign invited us to come in and see the art that was on display.
When we walked in we met Iris Vesser, who was teaching a class in paper mache to a group of students from the Davinci College.
Some of the students were working on their final projects for their course study. All the students were making lamps shaped like different animals and painted in bright colors.
Iris whose background is in fashion design, and who worked as a freelance designer for 18 years, turned her creative endeavors into working with her hands. Now she enjoys motivating her students to be creative through the paper mache process. Iris says that it’s not about the finished product, but about the joy, you get from the process of creating art.