Retreating to “small” town Netherlands

So we were invited to go on a Church retreat last weekend. We were told that we were going to be “roughing it” and that we would be “like, totally in the middle of nowhere its not even funny” and “good luck finding this totally secluded and hidden place deep in the dutch hinterland.” So Amanda and I packed our grubbiest of grubby clothes, grabbed our bibles and journals and hopped on the train.

We saw that the retreat was just outside of Utrecht, so we decided to spend the day in the city before making our pilgrimage out into the deep wild. Utrecht was beautiful, but rainy. There were lots of cool design shops and one massive church, but we were there right when things were starting to close, so we didn’t get to any museums. Oh well. It’s only 40 min away from Amsterdam. Something tells me we’ll be back.

So then after a Utrechtian dinner we were off on the bus to the retreat. It was pouring rain and dark and we knew it was a little bit of a walk from the bus stop, so we were a little worried. But once we got off the bus and walked down the road for a little bit, we saw the place. (And really saw it the next morning.)

the Meal house

old stable, aka 'sleeping quarters'

Some roughin it eh? We definitely weren’t off in the boonies. Also, everyone just brought their nice city clothes but wore them in the retreat place. Amanda and I looked like hobos for the weekend surrounded by slick, sophisticated urbanites. Amanda missed her hair dryer and I missed my razor and she was queen friz and I was captain scruffy. But we made the most of it (see below.)

happy + in love...

We also learned some new things about dutch culture!

The dutch either a) don’t rinse their dishes, but just wipe off the soap with a dish rag
b) my dish crew was lazy

Actually, we didn’t learn much new about dutch culture. But Amanda did scavenge lots of applesauce for herself. And also got a cold. Poor kid. It finally hit her 4 days after the retreat. I guess I’m next on the list. She didn’t appreciate my “why don’t you sleep on the couch so I lessen the chance of me getting sick” suggestion.

All in all we had a great time, made deeper friendships, ate lots of food, learned new card games, and had some good God time. Verdict: success! Hooray for new Christian friends!


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