06 November 2019

From SAT to AMS and GVB to NS

One of the things that strikes me everyday in The Netherlands is the infrastructure. 

I used to live in Texas and although I can tell you that Dallas has the best metro system in the state and Austin has the best bike paths - I would not call their infrastructure good. Dallas did not serve a wide enough area and Austin’s bikes are still too perilously close to cars. Although, I can say that the Texas highway system outclasses the Netherlands - it wouldn’t be worth very much. Larger highways simply mean more traffic. 

I had no choice but to commute by car 8-10 hours a week on my old job

Driving a car was my only option. I had no choice but to commute by car 8-10 hours a week on my old job. What was annoying with my commute was that a train track would follow my route. In 3 years, I only saw passenger service - Amtrak - once - as most shipping was freight. 

As I progress into my first year of my PhD studies, I appreciate the diversity of infrastructure that was lacking in the United States. I alternate between biking and taking the metro to the VU. I take the NS to visit the archives at Den Haag. For the Huizinga Instituut, I travelled in a car with my colleagues to the PhD conference. Nonetheless, I must say that the most quirky experience so far has been taking the boat to North Amsterdam. 

I have to say that biking is my favorite way to travel. Fast drivers, urban sprawl, and Texas temperatures (your ‘heatwaves’ are our normal summers) have rendered biking grueling back home. The combination of both exercise and proximity to nature, for me, is much more psychologically beneficial. Driving was mostly stressful. Everyone was always in a rush and impatient - much like the people here at supermarkets - except going at 110kmh! 

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