Sunday, June 16, 2024

We Failed to Extend an EU Visa in the Netherlands

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However, this route is quite challenging. Along the way I faced quite a lot of ups and downs (rolling). The total height reaches 759 meters.

The challenge is quite heavy. Mind you, unlike in previous days when cycling in Western Europe, especially the Netherlands, I hardly encountered any uphill or downhill roads. The total elevation is generally not more than 300 meters.

On that day, I started cycling quite late, at 10.00. Actually, I wanted to ride all the way to the city of Maastricht in the Netherlands. However, the delayed start made that intention impossible to achieve.

Moreover, facing strong opposing winds also hinders the speed of the bike ride. Indeed, the area that I passed through has quite a lot of wind. This is evidenced by the presence of many wind turbines for electricity production that are widespread on both sides of the road. If the wind turbine blades are spinning, it means that strong winds are occurring in the area.

Therefore, I need to prepare myself to face natural conditions like this. If the wind is blowing from behind, it will make it easier for me to pedal my bike. The speed becomes faster. On the other hand, if the wind is blowing from the front or in the opposite direction, then I need to prepare more energy to be able to pedal even though it has to be done slowly. So far, I have faced more headwinds.

Honestly, I must say that in my almost year-long journey of cycling, I have always faced hot weather, cold weather, snow and strong winds. They have become friends along the way.

Sometimes, I feel like something is missing if one of them is not visible. That’s the beauty of a long journey. An adventure that demands our unity with the natural world. Sometimes frustrating, but always finding unparalleled enjoyment.

On the way to Simmerarth, I passed through the towns of Norvenich and Duren. Just like in the Netherlands, Germany also has vast livestock pasture fields on either side of the road.

Livestock groups, such as cows and sheep, are seen devouring available grass with enthusiasm. It’s also not uncommon for me to pass by horse farms with various breeds. There are pony horses too. Not to mention chicken farms, where the chickens are allowed to move freely in a spacious coop. Out of many female chickens, there are always two male chickens.

I always stop at every barn I pass by and try to communicate in their respective languages. I am able to imitate the sounds of cows, horses, and others. This is truly real. They usually turn their heads, pause their eating for a moment and look at me.

Once I mistakenly imitated an animal’s voice. It was supposed to be the sound of a cow, but instead, I imitated a horse’s voice. What happened? The cows were startled and ran around as if in a panic. I don’t know why? Maybe they thought a horse was coming.

Apart from livestock groups, I also observed special vehicles tasked with cutting tree branches along the roadside. These branches grow wider towards the middle of the road, potentially disrupting traffic flow. The branch-cutting vehicles effectively trimmed the trees, resulting in a tidy outcome.

I once passed through the city of Duren. At first, I thought this city had a connection with the durian fruit. It turns out there is no connection at all. Maybe durian trees don’t even grow in that area.

Royke met with police in Germany. They are very friendly in greeting residents.
DOKUMENTASI ROYKE LUMOWA

Royke met with police in Germany. They are very friendly in greeting residents.

Also read: Seeing VOC Traces in Brielle City

Friendly police

In the city of Duren, I was greeted by a German police officer who was on patrol. They greeted me kindly and asked several questions related to my trip. We talked and joked around. I gave them a pin and a brochure about my trip, then we took a photo together.

If I observe, German police always appear everywhere, whether they are stopping or moving. Not a few of them stop and ask residents.

Indeed, during my time in police school, we were taught the proper way to patrol. One of the steps is to occasionally get out of the patrol vehicle and greet residents or observe suspicious things.

In addition to having responsive and friendly police, Germany is also known for its affordable living costs, especially in restaurants, lodging, and inexpensive public transportation. This is far cheaper compared to Switzerland, the Netherlands, England, Belgium, and Luxembourg.

That day, I was finally only able to ride up to Kilometer 81. Exactly in the city of Simmerath. It was already afternoon and soon it would be evening. I decided to stop in this city which is still German territory. Next loadinghead to the city of Maastrich and stay overnight there.

On Thursday, February 22 2024, we chose to rest in Maastrich. We took this opportunity to recover physically and wash several pieces of clothing, jerseys and other necessary items, including tidying up photos and videos.

The next day, Friday, February 23rd, 2024, I continued my bike ride towards the city of Deurne, covering a distance of 87.86 kilometers. The road contours were relatively friendly, with a flat terrain and a total elevation of only 300 meters. This was much lower compared to the previous cycling trip two days prior.

Royke met with a resident who was accompanied by their tall and large dog. The resident always brings their dog when they are outside, especially when walking in parks, restaurants, and other locations.
DOKUMENTASI ROYKE LUMOWA

Royke met with a resident who was accompanied by their tall and large dog. The resident always brings their dog when they are outside, especially when walking in parks, restaurants, and other locations.

Cycling that day started at 9:30 am. I headed towards the city of Amsterdam because we needed to prepare to return to Jakarta to extend our EU visa. Information from the Indonesian Embassy in the Netherlands stated that our visa extension affairs could only be dealt with in Jakarta. It cannot be done in the Netherlands or other neighboring countries.

During this journey, I passed through the cities of Bunde, Stein, Maaseik (Belgium), Kinrooi (Belgium), Stramproy (Netherlands), and Weert (Netherlands). When entering Belgium and leaving the Netherlands in Maaseik, we did not perform the border ritual as we do when entering a new country. We will do the ritual after renewing our European Union visa in Jakarta because we will pass through the same area again.

Likewise, on the Belgian-Dutch border, we also do not carry out similar rituals. We did so when we crossed the Belgium-Luxembourg border.

Remember a friend’s name

Upon arriving in Bunde Village, I immediately remembered the name of my cycling friend from the E2G club in Makassar, Dr. Budiman Bunde, an internal medicine specialist. I took a photo at the traffic sign that read Bunde and sent it to Dr. Budiman Bunde, or “Om Budi.”

During my year-long journey, whenever I came across a city or village that resembled the names of my friends in Indonesia, I would definitely stop. Then, I would capture that name and send it to the person in question. I’ve collected quite a lot.

Traveling on this route, I still faced strong winds from the front. This made me quite overwhelmed.

Nonetheless, one interesting aspect of this travel route is that I traced the relatively long, clean, and beautiful Yuliana Canal. On both sides of the canal, there are dedicated paths for bicycles and pedestrians. This is on the eastern side of the canal, while on the western side there is a national border line between the Netherlands and Belgium.

In a city park near Yuliana Canal, I met a man with his wife who were walking a tall and big-bodied dog. I was interested and stopped to greet the owner.

I asked what breed of dog it was, as it had a tall posture. They replied that it was a German Shepherd. I petted the dog and it responded by wagging its tail. That was a sign that it accepted me. The dog’s height was perhaps half of my body or around 70-80 centimeters.

About 20 kilometers later, I encountered another similar-looking dog being led by a young man. I stopped, greeted them and took a photo together.

Royke is in the city of Bunde. The name of this city reminded Royke of the name of a doctor friend in Makassar.
DOKUMENTASI ROYKE LUMOWA

Royke is in the city of Bunde. The name of this city reminded Royke of the name of a doctor friend in Makassar.

During my time in Europe, I observed that out of every 10 people walking in the parks, around 5 of them were accompanied by their pets, especially dogs. I can confidently say that the happiest dogs in the world are in Europe. They are taken everywhere by their owners, not just to the parks but also to restaurants and other places. Sometimes, they even get to fly on airplanes.

Today, I ended my cycling in Duerne, then loading to Amsterdam. The next day, we still stayed in this city. For a full day we took things out of the car and cleaned the car.

Back to Jakarta

After that, we put and rearrange the items back into the car. We did this because according to the plan, the car will be left at the Indonesian Embassy in the Netherlands in The Hague while we return to Jakarta.

After cleaning and tidying up, we parked the car at the lodging. Throughout our trip in Amsterdam, we only used public transportation. You can buy a ticket for all types of public transportation, including trains and buses for only 9 euros. You are free to go anywhere.

On Sunday, February 25 2024, we took the car from Amsterdam to The Hague to be deposited at the Indonesian Embassy in the Netherlands, specifically at the Indonesian School in Den Haag (SIDH) belonging to the Indonesian Embassy. The land at SIDH is very large. As big as a football field. At the front it is a garden and at the back it is a parking area, ceremonies, festivals, and the like.

That day, we immediately returned to Amsterdam. On Monday, February 26, 2024, we left our accommodation in Amsterdam and headed to Schipol Airport for our return journey to Jakarta. We arrived at the airport at around 10.00 and proceeded to report at the Garuda Indonesia airline counter, followed by the immigration process, and the plane took off at 14.00.

At Schipol Airport, I bought a seedling of amaryllis flowers. I hope that these flowers will grow well in a new environment in Jakarta.

On Tuesday, February 27, 2024 morning, I saw that the position of the plane was already above Weh Island or Sabang City. This means that our flight had entered Indonesian territory. I felt so happy because the unbearable longing for my country, Indonesia, would soon be fulfilled.

At around 10.25 WIB, the Garuda Indonesia plane we were on landed smoothly at Soekarno-Hatta Airport, Cengkareng.

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