Netherlands
Gemeente Utrecht

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  • Day1

    erst 24 °C, dann 95 °C

    April 19, 2019 in the Netherlands ⋅ ☀️ 19 °C

    Drei Stunden, also eine länger als geplant, haben wir mit dem Auto nach Utrecht gebraucht. Wir hatten wohl nicht alleine die Idee, über Ostern nach Holland zu fahren. Egal! Ist ja Car-Freitag 🚗 ! Das hat sich aber gelohnt, denn Utrecht ist total schön! Bei super Wetter haben wir uns zu Fuß einen Überblick verschafft. Und weil unser Hotel auch super ist, waren wir am späten Abend sogar noch in der Sauna!Read more

  • Day3

    8 Hours...

    April 27, 2018 in the Netherlands ⋅ ⛅ 7 °C

    Of sleep! In a row! The sun is up, the neighbourhood is quiet and peaceful and all of the kiddos are still snoozing. Trevor’s gone for a run and I’m sitting on the couch nursing this cold with a hot tea, listening to the birds chattering all the while drinking in the smell of netherlands spring. Lilacs and magnolias are in bloom, neighbourhood cats are everywhere and locals are sleepily walking their dogs. It’s a national holiday today so that is likely why there aren’t bikes zooming by; everyone is resting and taking it easy this morning. I’m feeling much more myself today after the sleepless whirlwind that yesterday brought and am slowly waking up to what’s in store for day two!

    Today we have plans to enjoy King’s day here in Utrecht by hitting up a canal tour at 11. A planned quiet morning with a slow start to give us all some time to decompress and rest. After which we’ll come back to this beautiful Airbnb home for some lunch. We’ll then head to Caroline and Henk’s to meet up with their three rascals and head to Rotterdam to see the windmills. Famke, Caroline’s daughter, is on school holiday already and joined us yesterday for the airport pick up. She’s a lovely gal and all the little kids hit it off very well chatting and cracking us up at lunch yesterday. I’m looking forward to seeing how much Kai and Nieske have grown today too and watching all the kids interact and play. We’ll have dinner at Caroline’s home tonight as well.

    But as promised, let’s finish out yesterday’s account first. Now, where did I leave off. Oh right, breezing through customs and rental van woes. Seriously, why did the Netherlands not care who was coming for a visit? Sullivan was so excited to have his new passport stamped in Iceland as we transferred planes yesterday and cleared customs and was then disappointed to not have a flashy stamp from Netherlands. So weird! No complaints of course - it’s far better to waltz through rather than have to answer questions and nervously dig for paperwork - but still, so puzzled by the ease of this hurdle.

    It’s fun to sit here this morning and reflect on yesterday’s travel day. A good night's sleep adds a fresh perspective and a bit of distance. I’m smiling to myself at the funny quips all the kids said throughout the day. The kids handled themselves marvelously through all the “new” but a few times had us all covering our mouths trying to suppress our laughter. We hoped this trip would stretch us all, teach us to try new things and jump in openly to fun and new situations. Trevor and I have both worked hard to prep the kids to be open and that situations my be different than their expectations and to be mature and roll with the punches. As we were walking on our first flight yesterday, after all the nerves and logistics of getting all 6 of us through security behind us, Sully was navigating his way back to our seats in rows 32 and 33. People were filing politely down the aisles as Sullivan loudly yell/exclaims, as only a newly 8 year old can “THEY HAVE TV’S!!”. Each seat on the flight had its own tv, as most flights are wont to have these days but this revelation was pure magic to Sully. His relief and joy was felt by all around him. All fellow passengers, including all of us, cracked up and enjoyed the moment as he very happily found his seat and settled in for the long overnight flight - in front of his very own tv screen.

    The flight went smoothly overall. As predicted, I didn’t sleep, but that’s par for the course for me. But thankfully, Nolan and Sully slept for a good few hours. Liam and Trevor caught a bit of sleep as well but poor Ava struggled to get comfy and didn’t sleep either. All the kids took it in stride and before we knew it, we were losing altitude and preparing for landing in Iceland. We were all tired for our 1 hour layover in Iceland and zombie walked with the hundreds of other passengers - some transferring to France and others like us to Netherlands. Shuttle buses, teeming rain and snow, small waiting areas, long queues but after an hr we were seated on our second flight ready for our second leg of the journey. We were in the exit row this time and low and behold each seat had its own tv again! The joy! But this time, you had to press a button while simultaneously pulling on a lever to bring the tv up from its hidden compartment. Sullivan was over the moon! That tv, in seat 19e, has never seen more of a workout in its life.

    After breezing through customs we were greeted by Caroline, Aunt Anneke and Famke. It was such a relief having them there to help us navigate the airport and our rental car fiasco. We’re making do with a smaller suv but its not ideal. On the bright side, driving a smaller car through small streets and busy traffic has been a blessing in disguise. We followed Caroline past the Koekenhof and took in the brilliance of colourful tulips and ended up at a lovely cafe for lunch. As we settled in and got sorted with menus, Nolan in true Nolan style had trouble finding something to suit his tastes. Before he and Sullivan, our two pickiest eaters decided on pancakes for lunch, Trevor reminded him he needed to keep an open mind. Tired stretched weary Nolan leaned into his dad and with a shaky voice and near tears about to spring form his eyes, he said “I do have an open mind I just can’t find anything on the menu I like”. It was a very serious matter of course but the humour was not lost on us. Pancakes saved the day and both boys happily defended their lunch choice and gobbled up their traditional Netherlands pancake with joy.

    The rest of the night was a bit of a blur. Settling into our beautiful temporary home, a grocery run, backyard and nearby park romp, showers to wash off the grime of travel and bedtime tuck ins. I mindfully went from room to room to sing to each little kid and settle them for the night. When I asked Sullivan what his very favourite part of our trip so far was, without missing a beat he of course said the tv on the second flight. Nolan surprised me and said the tulips. He doesn’t miss much that kid and is very reflective. Ava was already asleep by the time I could get to her room so will have to ask her today. And Liam, who is too big for songs and cuddles but deserves to be asked too, said the sandwich he just ate was his favourite part. A perfect cheeky happy almost 16 year old response.

    Well, it’s time to rally the kids and get some warm oatmeal into us. Day two, here we come.
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  • Day5

    The Quiet of the Morning

    April 29, 2018 in the Netherlands ⋅ ⛅ 9 °C

    Slowing down a wee bit last night and this morning has been a great choice for TELNAS. After an amazing day in Amsterdam touring the Anne Frank house, walking the city streets, feeling some rain on our faces and navigating a very busy and overwhelming Rijks museum, we were ready for a night of decompression. After once again thanking Caroline, Anneke, Kai and Nieske for their help and hospitality, the kids dispersed to their chosen activities. Liam to his loft space, the two boys to a world in Minecraft far far away, full of giggles and building and storing inventory, and Ava to some homework, nestled in beside me. The only major agenda item on our list for the evening was acquiring groceries and making a nice dinner.

    After some rest and time to ourselves, Trevor and I and the three littles walked the two minutes up the path to the shops to pick up what we needed for the night and coming few days. The kids each have 40 euros for the duration of our time in Holland and boy is it burning a hole in their pockets. Sully is desperate to find Pokémon and the other two are generally on the hunt for interesting treats. We left the kids at a pharmacy type store to scour the shelves for treasures while we went for groceries. It was a successful run for what we all felt we ‘needed’ - food for supper and fudge chocolate for the kids. Oh, and Ava found a very reasonably priced beauty blender, which she was very happy about snagging. Make-up application is important you know and having the right blender makes all the difference.

    On our way back, we left the kids at the park and came home to make a nice familiar spaghetti dinner. After cooking and clanging around, all four kids began to hover and pace as kids are wont to do when they’re hungry. We soon had dinner on the table and their full attention as they devoured. It was a time for a bit of TELNAS reflection, a team check in of sorts on how the day went and what was to come in the next few days. Highs, lows and thankfuls were shared. All of us agreed that the Anne Frank House was a high. Sully said walking the streets for such a long long time was his low, which I’m not sure entirely if that was because he has short legs and was feeling very tired overall or if it had something to do with being scared a few times with some near bike and car misses with my shouts and strong arm yanking him away from the roadway. Adjusting to the narrow streets, compression of thousands of people and cars and bikes a plenty has been tricky for us all but the 8 year old has felt it the most acutely.

    We sat for a bit longer and ran through the coming day’s agenda. The family reunion, timelines, packing up, saying goodbye to the Airbnb and the ever present expectations we have of them for the get together, such as that annoying difficult social task of looking everyone in the eye when they’re introduced, speaking clearly and being present and attentive to whom they are meeting. This can certainly be hard for kiddos and teens, especially in big gatherings and new situations. Watching them grow and practice their social navigation skills is a pleasure. They’re all doing wonderfully on this adventure - stretching and learning and it’s magic to be a part of.

    The quiet of the morning is waning - Sully is now up and our sappy lovey sleepy morning feeling we woke up with is transitioning to adulting thoughts of packing, breakfast and the drive to Friesland. Goodbye sleepy peaceful feeling; until tomorrow when we meet again.
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  • Day4

    Snaggletooth Sullivan

    April 28, 2018 in the Netherlands ⋅ ⛅ 12 °C

    We’ve been making bets as to where or when this kid would lose his front tooth but no one guessed it would happen just before dinner right here at the Airbnb. We thought maybe in the airplane as we flew over Greenland but nope, not there. Someone suggested on the canal tour in Utrecht but nope, not then either. Sully hoped and wished for it to fall out in Iceland somewhere, anywhere but that wasn’t in the cards. This kid has had a sideways sticky outty snaggletooth for weeks and the wait for freedom is finally over. The unending tasks of a mom, I tell ya. I nurture, fix, love, clean, redirect, teach and...yank teeth. ;) I’ve yanked countless teeth between the two of my kiddos but never have I pulled one out in Holland. Goodbye you weird crooked awkward tooth; you won’t be missed.Read more

  • Day2

    25 Hours

    April 26, 2018 in the Netherlands ⋅ ⛅ 9 °C

    We made it! We are in the Netherlands and settled into our Airbnb and guys, let me tell you, we are darn proud of ourselves. I feel a bit silly writing this in black and white but it’s the truth and it must be shouted from the canals and tulip fields. Planning this trip meant contingency planning and lots of plan b’s. We worried about travel hiccups, meltdowns, kiddos struggling, no sleep woes and our own inability to keep it all together should we have to recalibrate our expectations and move to plan b. We worried about customs issues, managing security checks and all airport logistics and so much more.

    Our thoughtfulness helped but it doesn’t necessarily ready you for the weird unexpected things that happen. Things like waltzing through customs without a stamp, question or second look. All that paperwork we had ready but nope, they just let us come into the country for fun! OK then, we’ll take it. Or, clearly booking a minivan for all 6 of us and our luggage only to find out that actually meant a small suv. We are very thankful for Caroline, who graciously offered to transport a few of our crew and some bags as well.

    We’re 25 hours into our trip and I can truthfully say I’m too tired to finish this post properly. That’s what a 1/2 hr of sleep plus a cold will do to ya. More updates soon on how the rest of our first day went and where we’re headed next!

    Time for bed. Off to eat one last stroop waffle and maybe some paprika chips then straight to bed. ;)
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  • Day7

    Utrecht

    August 30, 2019 in the Netherlands ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    Um Zeit zu sparen legen wir gleich nach der Schleuse an und wollen mit dem Taxi ins Zentrum fahren. Das ist hier in Holland aber eindeutig der falsche Gedanke! Taxi?? Nach Anruf 40 Minuten Wartezeit! Eigentlich eh klar, hier fährt man nicht Auto. Das Hauptverkehrsmittel in diesem Land ist eindeutig das Boot oder das Fahrrad. Schließlich kämpfen wir uns zur Bahn durch und fahren zum Centraalbahnhof. Von dort trappeln wir zu Fuß weiter ins schöne Zentrum von Utrecht.
    OUDE GRACHT heißt es, dort spielt sich das Leben ab. Viele kleine Lokale und Läden säumen die Ufer. Abends ist hier sicher noch einiges mehr los, sind mehr Lokale offen.
    Unangenehm auffallend ist hier wie auch in Amsterdam die penetrante Fahrweise der Fahrrad-Fahrer. Hemmungslos, schnell und ohne Auszuweichen flitzen die Fietsers einem um die Ohren. Dass es hier nicht zu mehr Unfällen kommt wundert unsereines.....
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  • Day4

    Utrecht

    June 22, 2019 in the Netherlands ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    Nach dem Frühstück und einer eiskalten Dusche 😬, Warmwasser war grad aus brrrr, ging es mit dem Fahrrad nach Utrecht. Utrecht ist eine kleine urige Stadt, durchzogen von einigen Grachten und sehr geprägt von den vielen Studenten, die hier leben. Am Ufer einer Gracht genossen wir noch eine kleine Stärkung und traten dann den Rückweg an.
    Heute Abend haben wir es uns mit Grillen und Aperol sprizz vor unserem Womo gemütlich gemacht🍹
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  • Day3

    Ruhetag

    June 21, 2019 in the Netherlands ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    Leider gibt es heute nicht viel zu berichten 😔
    Ich habe den Tag gesundheitstechnisch mehr oder weniger schlafend im Womo verbracht . Uwe hat sich mal ein Stündchen allein auf den Weg gemacht und Utrecht mit dem Rad erkundet. Hoffentlich wird es morgen wieder besser und wir können unsere Reise fortsetzen.Read more

  • Day20

    Day 20: Utrecht/Hilversum

    July 28, 2019 in the Netherlands ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    Sobre las 20 llegamos a Utrecht, con mucha hambre. Unas compañeras de tren americanas (premium guiris who go to Amsterdam) se sobresaltan: is this Amsterdam Centraal? Nos preguntan. No, no os preocupeis, que hay más ciudades en Holanda y tal eh 😑.

    Buscamos sobre todo un lugar donde cenar: miramos con deseo los indios que están al lado del canal, pero están fuera de presupuesto. Nuestra opción menos glamourosa es coger un gyros y comérnoslo al lado del canal con el olor de la weed procedente del coffee shop que está al lado.

    Disfrutamos todo lo que podemos de esta ciudad (muy similar a Amsterdam en sus canales, aunque mucho más vacía, y sobre todo en domingo) y acto seguido nos dirigimos al bosque donde acamparemos (nos lleva un pequeño tren local).

    Nos instalamos en el pequeño refugio de bosque que nos acoge disfrutando de la tranquilidad del lugar.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Gemeente Utrecht, Utrecht

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