We only spent one day in Tilburg, but it was a great time. Upon arriving in the city, Karl and I tried calling Peter (our friend from Winnipeg who was staying in the city for an international program at the university). Unfortunately only the answering machine picked up. Are pre-arranged plan was for to Peter to pick us up, since we had no idea where he was staying. Not seeing a University on the map outside the station, we head towards what Karl and I believed translated to "art school" from Dutch.
After we walked a few blocks with our heavy packs we realized we had no clue what we were doing. With our packs, walking all the way back to the train station didn't seem to be to appealing, so we stopped at a little shop to regroup and think of what to do. Using our rough ability to understand Dutch for a second time (and to better effect) the little restaurant was named, "The Angel."
Fittingly the stores proprietor ended up being an angel to us in the situation. Upon entering the store, we immediatly excercised our incompetence with foreign pay phones. We called Peter's number again, someone answered who sounded like Peter on the other end, but for some reason he could never hear anything we were saying. Later, the store owner informed us that the payphones don't take your money until you confirm you made the right call by pressing "*", allowing the other party to hear you. He was kind enough to give us more money to call again. The food there was also extraordinary. If you ever find yourselves lost in Tilburg, drop by this place it's amazing.
Peter showed up and we then met up with Alexi and Michal (roommates) as well as Kyla (who had arrived a day earlier) at the train station. The next plan of action was get from the train station to the dorms using the traditional method of transporation in the Netherlands (i.e. use the three bikes we had). Various combinations of strapping and distributing two heavy packs and six people across three bikes was tried. We'd create a plan of action, move approximately a meter before something or someone fell off and then try again. Eventually we sucked up our defeated and two of us took the bags on a bus while the rest cycled home.
It was one of Peter's roomate's birthday, so for supper we had an amazing feast laid out for us. Remarkable to start with, but made even more so by the fact that the feast, consisting of Lasagna and Russian salad, were all made in a tiny kitchen with only a toaster oven from scratch. It tasted fantastic.
For the occasion Alexi (from Russia) brought out a bottle of his country's finest vodka. Vodka in Canada is usually slugged back in shots, maybe it's because we drank it straight out of glasses, but this particular vodka tasted exceptionally good. Here Marga (from Poland) appears to be fantasizing about the bottle, however the bottle is quite empty at this point.
We were also introduced to a crazy French game called "Jungle Fever", here Henri poses with the game from his homeland.
After most of the party people left we took of in the night on bikes in true Netherlander fashion. We headed into the city centre and enjoyed a game of pool at one the pubs.
After returning to the dorm and hitting the sack, morning arrived quickyly and Karl and I rushed off on our bus to begin a full day of travel to Sweden, but not before being offered an absolutely amazing breakfast of toasted bread with assorted cheeses, mushrooms and tomatoes.... Genius!!! (Ed: I stand by that statement, it was one of the best breakfasts I've had)