Saturday, July 2, 2011

Valk and the Ketchup Bicycle

Hey guys!

Sorry for not updating since wednesday, but today's entry will have lots of pictures and lots of stuff to make up for my brief absence!

Thursday and Friday were really good days at work, these last couple of days I have been more dedicated to the naval architecture of the project so I have been learning lots and lots of naval arch. and looking up many many boats to inspire the Protei design. But what made these days awesome was that we started playing football after work! One of the guys that just arrived to the place is also a football fan so we organized little 2 on 2 or 2 on 3 games in a little space outside our workspace. Playing football was amazing! I felt so alive after the games and playing with your coworkers is a great motivator!

However what made my week was today! Today we went to the island of Kaag to a sailing club there and took some boats out!

Let me give you a narrative about the day. So my day started at 3am when I woke up to watch Argentina-Bolivia (result was 1-1), I was super disappointed and I can't remember seeing Argentina play that bad in a while, hopefully the coach fixes up the team for the next couple of games. At 5am i took a 3 hour nap and then at 8am we took the sketchy white van to Kaag. The funny thing about Kaag is that the only access to the island is this "ferry" which you drive your car on and it moves you like 7 meters to the island, its super ridiculous that there is no bridge! (they also charge for the ferry ride, so that might explain why they don't build a bridge!) Here some pictures of the "ferry".

After the ferry we went into Kaag, this is a super cute island where the roads are super narrow and it resembles the whitest of the white suburbs you can imagine. I'm sure they were worried when they saw me walking on their streets. These are some pics of the island:

After some introductions to the friendly club staff they gave us two boats to go out sailing. What was super funny was that the manager gave us these 6m boats without even checking if we could sail or anything, (this would never happen at MIT). We rigged up our "valks" (means falcon in dutch), I skippered one of the boats and had a crew of two, while the other four took the other valk. We set off for adventure!

Remember that map of Kaag I showed at the start of the post? Do you see all that water? ALL that water is space where we can sail, they don't constrain us to any single region and there is so much to explore in this canal-lake system! We got used to the boat pretty fast and we starting going in the canals and enjoying the landscapes full of windmills. One of my favorite part when we sailed was when we went into this "residential canal" where people live in floating houses! They have docks in their back yard and we would pass with the boat and we could see them having dinner inside and they would wave at us, it was so cool! We even saw some cows in this mini-farm right next to the water. After exiting the canal we had some fun with wing-on-wing sailing. We also had some fun looking at the people on the other boat, one of them actually jumped into the river to retrieve his cap. In total we sailed about 5-6 hours (with a small lunch break in the middle). It was so amaaaaaazing!

Also we got super lucky with the sailing club, the club is sponsoring our project so they are letting us sail for free on saturdays as well as test our prototypes with their help. The club itself is super nice! They have an amazing lobby, dining room, terrace, even a game room with ping pong. Also the people that work there are super cool! It is a family owned business so that makes it even more special!

Here are some pics of sailing! Look at my facebook for all the pics of Kaag!

A surreal thing about sailing in Kaag is that the water is actually at a higher level than the countryside! Its so weird to look at! Here are some pics that try to show it (they don't do it justice though).

And at the end of the day I spotted this! A heinz ketchup bicycle!

Today was probably the best day I have had in the Netherlands so far... I think I finally found a place here that I would love to live in! Imagine having a canal in your backyard! And tomorrow I am going to BRUSSELS!!! Time to drink some good quality beer (im tired of Heineken...) and of course some belgian chocolate!

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