It is one of those rare solo trips that I embarked on, with the last one dated back almost a decade ago. And, this is the furthest one from home. I've not been planning so intensively for a long long time. It's kind of tedious for a start as the geographical location and its culture are totally new to me. The process of getting to know it as I tried to figure out the transportation and the accommodation had made me look forward to the trip even more :)
The overall experience was rewarding - the sense of satisfactory drawn from each accomplished day trip was immense :)
Critical success factor:
- Planning is critical in such trip, especially when travelling solo.
- Flexibility is another important element to ensure the objective is achieved.
- Ask, when not sure. Indeed, the Dutch are friendly and helpful :)
- Be friendly. People will reciprocate.
The weather was something beyond my control. Planning and re-planning had to take into account the weather! Wet days implied more indoor activity. Outdoor activity like walking around the canal ring must be carried out in friendly weather. That's where I needed to exercise flexibility to my plans. The weather could be quite eccentric! Glad that I had grabbed clothing that fit into both hot dry and wet cold weathers!
With the intent to stay in this city for a week, it was definitely worth the time to orientate myself to the transport system and being familiar with the route. I had to exercise good observation skill.
Being alone also means that I could manage my schedule with far more flexibility - I could alter my plan last minute, depending on the situation. That happened on the day when I went to Zaanse Schans a day earlier than planned because I could cover Haarlem in half a day, much shorter than expected. I decided a last minute stopover at Volendam on my way to Edam since I needed to hop into another bus to go Edam. There! I had a nice lunch and leisure walk in the coastal town. My meal time became much more flexible, depending on when and what I chanced upon. There were also places that I might not have ventured to if I was not alone.