Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Europe Day 4 - on to Germany

Wednesday May 31

Time to say "good bye" to Holland. But first of course breakfast. If you read yesterday's blog you know that Jetlag had caught up with William big time. After he fell into bed I was wondering what might happen with the rest of the night. Can't remember when I fell asleep but at 00:36 he was standing next to my bed. I hoped that the night wasn't over for me yet. 
He crawled into my bed and was asleep right away again. After a while I crawled out of the bed and into his. We both slept till at least after 7 am. He woke up and announced that he was "well rested". 

I looked it up. This photo was taken 8:53 am. We are supposed to be out of the rooms at 10:30 so we have a nice leasurely breakfast. And, yes you guessed it, another "Burr egg".


Inge had woken up at 6 am and had secured two of the hotel trolleys. So when we had everything packed up (which is much easier when you travel by car) we loaded up the cars. 

When we settled the front desk bills we asked and where told we had till 12 noon in the garage. So we decided to go for a little walk. 


Across the entry to the hotel another dune. 


Lovely view from there. 



And then we went our ways. We had two cars but William had trouble understanding that we couldn't be together. 

I had again trouble with the in-car navigation system. It sent us the wrong way again. If you don't know the way it is difficult to understand what is happening. But I was suspicious. After too long I pulled over and dug our GPS out of my suitcase. Yeah, I was much happier after that. 

My son-in-law Ben (William's Dad) will be happy to know that I NEVER drove faster then we are allowed in the USA (even so I was allowed). Once we stopped. We had to enter the toilets through a turnstile after inserting money. I admit that I figured that William and I were small enough to squash through one. William was fascinated by the seats which cleaned there own rings if you pressed a button. 


William decided that he didn't fancy any of the food the cafeteria style place offered and we moved on. 

I think we were at my sister Ute's at about 2:30 pm. She was gone for a brief errant so we walked to my bank to get some cash. The walk was good for us. 

Then we had bread with cheese at Ute's and we all enjoyed it. The three of us then went to very near Westerholt where William and I will stay in an empty apartment Ellen and Willy own. They are Manu's parents.  It is sooooo nice of them. 

After a while Manu and Tobias joined us there. Tobias is my sister Ute's son. Complicated? My nephew. 

From the apartment we went for a walk. We went into the old village which is so charming. The houses are all what you call timbered. Manu and Tobias had also brought there dog and William was happy to take her leash. 



We passed a playground. Can you tell that the young couple have two boys (teenagers now).



We walked around Schloß Westerholt which has a moat. I was fascinated with this view. The side of the castle mirrored in the moat where an old Christmas tree floated with a nest on it. Somebody is sitting on it. Can you see?


A lovely restaurant just outside the castle where I have been several times. The weather was gorgeous and we sat outside under the huge old chestnut tree. William entertains himself by playing with the beer mats. Yup, some of us had really good ice cream. 



We walked back to the apartment. Had to bring Ute back in our car, had a sandwich with her and apples out of her garden (from last year). William tried to watch some TV (which is not better then in the USA) and faded. So we called it a day and went to the apartment. 

Thanks to the generosity of Manu's parents we also have Internet. So my phone works and iPads too. William did FaceTime with Papa and Mommy on their Camino.  All is good there. They have already written some lovely blogs (both their own) you don't want to miss. We are all so blessed. 

Oh, and I am fading now too. Night night. 

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Europe Day 3 - still in Holland

I should have started to sleep sooner. William woke up at 4 am. Suddenly he stood next to my bed. He was very sweet and crawled into my bed. We both rested but didn't sleep more. Later he listened at the connecting door and asked why the others were not awake.

Around 8 am everybody was up and dressed. William entertains himself with another cheap toy purchased yesterday. 



Breakfast is included. Buffet of course. Really very nice. 


The famous "Burr egg". I had a boiled egg and started to tell Martina about our tradition of turning the empty shell over and asking another person whether they would like to have an egg. He had so much fun when everybody had a turn pretending. 



In the hotel's lobby can't pass up an opportunity of picture-taking. 



The weather wasn't nearly as nice as yesterday and we decided on a walk through the dunes. We might see wild horses. 


Half way there is a shelter and we were lucky to see horses there. 




A little further we found that we could even get closer. 








It was quite a walk. By now I had at least 10000 on my Fitbit. William had a thorn in his sandel and also was very very tired. (4 am is a long time ago). I decide to piggy-back just a little distance. He also kept saying that he was cold and I thought this might snuggle a little warms. 




We found a place with hot chocolade. Helen had heard about wonderful apple pancakes in this area and we got one to try between us. Not bad but it was smothered with too much cinnemon. Instead of maple syrup the Dutch also have something called "schenkstroop" made from sugar beets. 



William investigates a bird sculpture made with trash found on the beach. Quite clever. 



To rest a little we head back to the hotel. A picture from the balcony. 


William wants to go to the beach again and the sun seems to be back. On the way we find a hat for him he really likes. His selection. 
Again he runs around again at the beach but it is not as warm as it looks. There is quite a cold wind blowing. So happy to have that hat for him.




He wants to know what that foam is. No internet, no googling. 


It is just too cold and we decide to go back. Just before we leave the beach there is a sheltered place with some refreshments. Plexiglass windbreakers. Inge and I ordered a fresh mint tea with honey which was very nice. Martina had a coffee and William a Bockwurst im Brötchen. He ate it but hardly touched his milk. He got a bad case of jetlag and we decided that he needed a nap. He was very happy to already leave with Martina so I could settle the bill. When Inge and I came to the room he was already fast asleep. 



He hardly moved at all. 


We felt we needed to wake him after a long nap but we had a terrible time to do that. We tried many things including the washcloth. Finally he was moving somewhat like a marionette and he even read to Martina while I showered. 
Buffet dinner down in the hotel restaurant was not a total success though. We did managed to get him to eat something but he seemed so miserable tired trying his best to be sweet and patient that I broke off my dinner and took him upstairs. No matter what the hour ... it was time. He patiently had a quick bath which he usually would have enjoyed and dragged out but then fell into bed. He kept asking whether it was bedtime yet. I told home not for a while but not to worry. If he would wake up early he could crawl into my bed to cuddle whenever and he gave me a sweet "o.k."

It is just after 9 pm now. Another picture from the same balcony as earlier today. 


We will chat a little bit in the other room and then I will settle to sleep too. It was another active day (with 17539 steps Fitbit tells me). Another really super day. 

Europe Day 1 + 2 Travel to Amsterdam / at the beach

Sunday May 28

We set the alarm clock and went to the 8 am church service. After that I finally got serious about packen. It went without problems. So far I can't remember anything I have forgotten ... yet. 

We had a leisurely leftover lunch (cleaning out the fridge) and left with the Uber at 1 pm for the airport. We don't have much experience with Uber but it was very easy, pleasant and reasonable. 
Even had time for a glass of red as I had already reported.  And then finally we were on our way. First stop Philadelphia. I think I get better with the selfies. 


We had time to go into the Admirals Club which is always a nice thing. Even Helen and William could join us for a short time. A nice lady offered to take a picture of all of us. 



Time for our next flight to Amsterdam. 


We didn't sit together but it didn't really matter. It was a night flight,  James slept some (no surprise here), William about three hours and Helen and I none. It was a relatively smooth flight but we were very happy to finally arrive with one of the smoothest landings I ever experienced. 

Monday May 29

The usual things: passport control, getting all the luggage, heading for the rental car. Helen and James shoveled a few more things with there backpacks and left their "England luggage" with me. We had brought Williams car seat and that got installed. 

Helen and James are flying in a few hours to Porto to begin their Camino to Santiago. They both intent to blog about their adventure. You can always find their blogs and on the right side of my blog under "I like to read ...".

William and I headed out to Egmond aan Zee. The rental car came with a navigating system but it must not have been synced recently because it didn't know some of the new highways around the airport. We made a couple of u-turns but it didn't trouble me. The weather was so gorgeous. William loved watching outside and had a million questions and comments. 

When we drove up to the hotel my friends Inge and Martina had already arrived from Germany and were standing outside waiting. We parked the car in the lower garage and schlepped the luggage to the room. 

We didn't waste much time. William got sunscreened and then we went to check out the sea. 


He was so content to play at the edge for a while and run away from the waves. As you can see in one of the pictures not always a success but he laughed and was so happy. 





We were hungry for lunch though (and thirsty) so we de-sanded at the steps, put our shoes on, went back to the rooms to change. 



Lots of nice restaurants. William ate the whole salami pizza. I had a great salad. Yummy. 


After lunch (and ice cream) we went back to the beach. Martina had brought "her family kite" which was a huge success. 



Martina also went and bought a ball and we played soccer.



When he started falling over his own feet it was time to quit. He was so tired. We went a little along the shops and found a fishing game for the bathtub for 1.99 Euros (tax is always included).

He ate a banana in the room but didn't want anything else not even from "his stash". He had a nice bath and got ready for bed but then argued (feebly) that it was too early to sleep. I said "ok just sit up and we talk" but before I had finished saying that he was asleep ... at 5:30 pm. 

We have two adjoining rooms with a door open between. I went into the other room for awhile and we talked and feasted on crackers and cheese etc. back in the room writing this blog (in the dark). I better get to sleep now too. He might wake up soon.