1. Because for every moment (and there were a lot of them) of gastrointestinal distress, there's standing in Anne Frank's bedroom, decorated with pasted-on magazine photos of movie stars and other things designed to brighten the room during her two-year seclusion, with tears running down my cheeks.
2. Because for the poorly draining shower and subsequent flooding of the entire hotel bathroom, there's playing pool at a scuzzy rock bar in Amsterdam with expats Ula (from Poland) and Blackie (from Bulgaria) and listening to them complain about how the city has changed. There's also somehow winning both games (Blackie was terrible at pool).
3. Because for that time you get bad information from someone at an information desk and spend all afternoon on a city bus in Utrecht instead of visiting Castle de Haar, there's seeing the brushstrokes of Van Gogh's sunflowers and irises up close.
4. Because for every shitty hair dryer, there's capturing the perfect photograph of Dutch cows in a verdant green field on your bicycle trip through Waterland.
5. Because for the torrential downpour on the day you wanted to spend in the park, there's Rodin's L'Homme Qui Marche and the crazy post-war architecture in Rotterdam.
6. Because for every night of jet-lag-induced middle-of-the-night insomnia, there's biking past the windmills in the Kinderdijk and actually seeing an old guy wearing those wooden shoes.
7. Because for the boatload of tourists participating in a Nickelback/Maroon 5 singalong in what was supposed to be a cool bar, there's sipping a glass of jenever and experiencing gezellig in a classic canalside brown café in the Jordaan.
8. Because for the thin foam mattress with a top sheet instead of a fitted sheet and the resulting bunching up of the sheet beneath you every night, there's a cancellation at La Caserola on the last night of your vacation and a delicious six-course tasting menu that ends with Dutch cheese melting in your mouth.
9. And because for every two-and-a-half-hour flight delay and 20-hour travel day, there's the glorious comfort of your own bed.
Riot on, travellers. The world is a strange and wondrous place. I hope you get to enjoy some of it. xo