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  • Day4


    July 15, 2020 in the Netherlands ⋅ ☁️ 20 °C

    Ich bin in Holland angekommen, in Utrecht.
    Eine sehr schöne Stadt, sagt der erste Eindruck.

    Habe mir heute viele Gedanken gemacht und mich entschieden, diese Art des reisens zu beenden. Das schlechte gewissen, dass ich eventuell den Virus einfangen könnte und während dem Autostöpeln in ganz Europa verstreuen könnte plagte mich und wurde immer mächtiger.

    Der neue Plan: nach Hause, Velo satteln und dann ein par Tage mit dem Velo weiter. Mit Campingausrüstung natürlich!

    Ich buchte einen Flixbus von Utrecht bis nach Luzern. Morgen um Mittagszeit werde ich zu Hause sein.

    Das Abendteuer ist aber nicht zu Ende!😊
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    Roger Lützelschwab

    Hoi Julian Ein weiser Entscheid 👍

  • Day19

    Amsterdam to Utrecht and beyond

    September 29, 2019 in the Netherlands ⋅ 🌧 13 °C

    There's no point in trying to put a positive spin on it. The weather when we woke up was absolutely foul, with heavy rain and strong winds. It was far from ideal for sightseeing, but it was a matter of taking whatever opportunity one can to see whatever sights one can.

    We had the choice of either going on an Amsterdam canal cruise on an enclosed glass-topped boat or of visiting a touristy Dutch village. We chose the former. It was a great way to see this interesting and beautiful city, even though what we mainly got were tantalising glimpses of highly photogenic scenes. After the hour long boat trip we were dropped off in the museum district and told that we had an hour of free time before we'd be picked up and taken back to the Amaverde. We'd like to have visited the Van Gogh museum but our guide told us that tickets are hard to come by at short notice and that they're available always only for specific time slots. Besides, we decided that a one hour time slot really wasn't enough for a visit to that or any other museum. Instead, we headed back to the Rijkmuseum and spent the time in the gift shop and foyer area.

    During the Spanish leg of our trip we got into the habit of having a large buffet breakfast and then skipping lunch. Generally we'd then have a nice big dinner. With so much food and wine on our boat one would require far more self-discipline than we have in order to stick to such a routine. However, we did stick to having salad and fruit for lunch. At least that was the case until we discovered the raspberry ice cream dessert...

    APT are evaluating a new system whereby every cabin gets issued with a mobile phone which is pre-loaded with their software. Aside from the phones having GPS and touring guides they also offer unlimited messaging and phone calls to anywhere in the world. Were it not for the fact that we had already bought a European SIM card for use throughout Europe we would have found this to be an excellent arrangement. In the afternoon there was a briefing and help session given by the company supplying the special phones. We chose to attend, though Brian couldn't help himself. With his Brisbane Seniors Online hat on, he found himself helping several of our fellow passengers. The system is excellent, but given the age demographic, it may prove too challenging for many people.

    The rest of the afternoon was free, after which we attended the Captain's Welcome Cocktail and Gala Dinner. Given that there were 140 passengers on board it was a bit of a ritualised occasion. We joined a couple for dinner who are former dairy farmers from Canterbury, now living in Christchurch. They were good company and we spent a very pleasant evening.
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    JK - Why do I feel the photographer, more so than Mary, was amused by this? 🤔


    A pleasant way to go! So this was grandson Alec's 10th birthday, in Auckland. Back in Welly we were celebrating G's 78th with son James & famille. El Speth


    Nice - El Speth


    Another good angle, cunning tourist. El Speth

  • Day7


    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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  • 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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    Marina Ellinson

    The way you write makes me feel like I'm sitting beside you sharing the cup of tea. Hope you're feeling better soon - bash on!!!

    Gary Lundrigan

    What Grand Fun - enjoy. Hugs all 'round.

    Marina Ellinson


    4 more comments
  • 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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    Andrew Pearson

    Great pic!

    Gary Lundrigan

    Looks like you are all having a wonderful go 'round. Love you all.

    Anneke Kooistra

    Loving the journalling. Wonderful pictures!! I’m sure it’s driving mom crazy not to have her iPad but it’ll be back in her hands Thursday and she’ll be pleased to catch up!

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  • Day84

    Day 84 - Utrecht

    November 12, 2020 in the Netherlands ⋅ 🌧 11 °C

    After a 15km hike we got to Utrecht & were received with safed chicken in an onionbrew. The next day I had to calm down & rest after the last week & only cycled to Zeist to find some cheese & hazelnut Crème, to gain some energy again. On our 3rd day we sprayed some graffiti & had a small party in the squat & I finally got my beard-trimmer again from our host last week, so that I'll shave myself after a massive shower in Rotterdam. We're continuing tomorrow morning after a small clean up & hitch to the last city in the netherlands on my trip.Read more

  • 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

    Anneke Kooistra

    Does Dutch Tooth Fairy wear wooden shoes and sprinkle powdered sugar?

    Anneke Kooistra

    How exciting for Sullivan.

    Victoria Lehmann


  • Day7

    Endlich Utrecht

    October 13, 2019 in the Netherlands ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    Kein Regen !! Also fahren wir nach einem ausgiebigen Frühstück, das uns unsere Wirtin Wilma in unserem Zimmer serviert, nach Utrecht. Da besagte Wirtin uns zugeraten hat, mit dem Auto in die Stadt zu fahren, da es jede Menge Parkplätze gibt, folgen wir ihrem Rat. Wir parken in einem der Parkhäuser des Einkaufzentrums Hoog Catherijne, wo wir leicht einen Platz finden-- im übrigen schient dies ein riesen Parkhaus zu sein (nebenbei bemerkt: 3 Stunden Parkzeit kosteten 13,50 €- ja Parken in Utrecht ist teuer). Von hier aus ist es aber nicht weit bis in den Altstadtkern. Dieser Bereich wird durch die aus dem 14. Jh,. stammende Oudegracht und Nieuwe Gracht begrenzt, die zu den ältesten des Landes zählen. Wir nutzen eine sich ungeplant bietende Gelegenheit und machen eine Grachtenrundfahrt über die Oudegracht und den Singel, sehr informativ und interessant. Damit konnten wir uns schon einen kleinen Überblick verschaffen. Während das Boot so langsam dahinschippert, werden wir gegen Ende doch müde und müssen für einen Kaffee in einem Cafe einkehren. Wir finden etwas zu, Draußen sitzen in der Pauwstraat und freuen uns über den Sonnenschein. In der Stadt ist heute viel los, ab Mittag haben viele Geschäfte geöffnet, es sind also viele Fußgänger unterwegs. Dazu kommen unzählige Radfahrer, die (bekanntermaßen) hier in NL keine Rücksicht auf Verluste nehmen. Als Schlenderer muss man da schon ganz schön aufpassen. Nach dem ländlichen Idyll in unserer Unterkunft kommt dies ein bisschen wie ein Kulturschock daher. Wir wagen uns kaum vorzustellen, wie es in dem viel größeren Amsterdam zugeht.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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    Andrew Pearson

    Peek a boo

    Marina Ellinson

    You have so much to be proud of - you two could run a small country by yourselves. Huge logistics!! Well done - now go have fun, you've done it!!

    John Kooistra

    Maybe Nolan can smuggle me back a bottle of berenburg. :) Enjoy the travels! I'm following along intently. Please say 'hoi' to all of the family from Kathleen and I!

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  • Day7852

    Wilhelminapark - Utrecht

    June 30, 2021 in the Netherlands ⋅ 🌧 14 °C

    Wilhelminapark 65, Utrecht, 3581 NP, Netherlands
    The MICHELIN Plate: Good cooking

    Wieder ein Abendessen mit Kollegen in einem netten Restaurant.

    „This thatched building in the Wilhelminapark has been a fixture since 1898, but the restaurant has moved with the times. The seasons determine which ingredients are used, and the chef uses them to create exciting combinations.“Read more

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