After Belgium we found ourselves at the very bottom of The Netherlands. It was pretty late in the day but we wanted to get as far as we could so we started hitchhiking. Two really short rides brought us to a small town where we stuck our thumbs out at a round-about. Less than ten minutes later we were on our way to Rotterdam.
The guy who picked us up was from Spain. His fourteen year old son wanted to be a DJ and had given his dad some tunes for the road so we listened to them, loudly, on the way. When we got to the city it was approaching darkness and he said he’d drop us off wherever we wanted. I don’t have cellular data on my phone but he let us use his to try to find a camp spot. None of us spoke Dutch, but we found something on the map with a tent and he dropped us off there.
It didn’t look like a campsite… We walked on the property and passed some buildings. One looked like a big hall and we saw a lot of people in white uniforms eating at long tables. We asked a woman leaving the kitchen if this was a campsite and she said she was just visiting but we could knock on the door of the house. We did. A little girl answered the door.
“Let me get my dad, he is the ruler of this place.”
Ruler? People in white robes? Are you thinking what I was thinking?
It was almost officially dark (around 10pm). Some people were sitting around a fire; nearby were a few small buildings. The girl went into one of them. Were they some Netherlandic cult or something? Would they try to use us as human sacrifices?! (I have an overactive imagination.) She came back out with her dad.
“Hi… we were just looking for a campsite. Is that what this is?”
“No, we’re a Scout Center.”
(Oh! Of course. That was my second guess.)
“But we won’t send you away.”
The Scouts are not just popular in the USA. We met multiple people from different countries who were involved with them. This man, like all the rest, was very nice and invited us to use all the facilities- showers, wifi, etc. Turns out they rent part of the property out to a martial arts camp, and that explained the people dressed in all white. We were safe and, funny how things turn out, had a place to stay for the evening.
We slept peacefully in our hammock that night and hung around in the morning for a few hours. Jason helped them get some stuff done around the property and I took some pictures- they look like this!
The scout center was almost all we saw in Rotterdam. The next morning we walked a ways until we found a decent enough area to hitchhike. Next stop- Amsterdam!