This week, I traveled to Holland! Holland is a tiny
country between Germany and Belgium. Within Holland, I stopped at two different cities, The Hague and Delft. As I explored these two places, I noticed that transportation here is very different from how people get around back home in El Paso, Texas! I loved trying all of the options, which included trains, trams, buses and my own two feet! Let me tell you a little bit more about how I got around this week, and how it has been similar and different from getting around back home in El Paso and in Brussels.
How do people get around? I was surprised to find that the most popular way for people to get around in
Holland seems to be by bicycling! Although my group traveled a lot on trains, tramways and buses, everywhere we looked there were people of all ages bicycling through the city. In Brussels there are a lot of bicycles, but nowhere near the amount that can be found in The Hague and Delft! The bicycles here also look different from the ones back home. They seemed to have a more traditional style and look than the ones I have seen. I think it is simply because people use them much more than the ones I have seen in El Paso.
I noticed that people in Holland use cars very little, even less than in Brussels, and the cars that are there are usually parked on the sidewalks! The buses, trains and trams in Holland are used often, but it is obvious that
cycling is everyone’s favorite way of getting from place to place!
How did I feel when I tried this way of getting around? Even though I have not ridden a bike ride since arriving in Europe, I have tried the buses, trams and trains a lot! I feel like these three types of transportation are all very similar, but trains are my favorite. The trains look just like the trams. However, I discovered that trains have much more comfortable seats than the trams in Brussels.
Back home, I have my own car and I use that to go everywhere. I like public transportation because you get to see lots of people and you can take more of your friends with you! Some of the newer trains even have two levels!
Walking as much as I have been lately has also been a new experience for me. In El Paso, people cannot walk too much because the sun can actually overheat you! The landscape in El Paso is very dry and spread out. This means that there is little shade. There are not many sidewalks because so many people have cars, and it can be dangerous to walk too much in the hottest parts of the day!
Fortunately, the cities I’ve visited in Europe have wide shady sidewalks, a cooler climate
and more cloudy and rainy days than in a desert!
Is this way of getting around connected to the culture and environment, How? The way people get around in Brussels
and Holland is very much connected to the local culture because people here seem to be very aware and concerned about their health and the environment. Too many cars letting out pollition into the air can be bad for our planet and environment. Riding in cars all the time can be bad for our health. By having more bicycles and public transportation, fewer people are using cars!
With public transportation, more people can fit on the same machine, so it is better for the environment. Besides, using a bicycle gets your legs moving and your heart pumping, so it can be a form of exercise, which is really good for you!
People also seem very happy and relaxed here, which could be because there are not too many cars honking and trying to get places as quickly as possible!
Traveler Bio: Dafne is a University of Texas, El Paso student and a Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship recipient
studying abroad in Brussels, Belgium.