28.04.2009 - 05.05.2009
I'd better start with an apology to my growing fan base for neglecting you all for so long. ;-) It's been a very busy week or so, meeting new family every other day and getting up way earlier than I would like. Since I last wrote to you from Amsterdam, we have travelled further in Holland to Deventer, Hardenberg and Rotterdam.
I have made a promise, at this juncture, not to say anything cheeky about the president of Hardenberg (hello Oom Hans Kant!) However, since I can't think of anything to say that isn't cheeky, I'm afraid I'll have to say nothing further. ;-)
Seriously, though, we have met dozens of people who have been so kind and hospitable, and whom we were sad to leave. Thankyou so much, family in Holland! We are in London now, and I'm full of everything that I've seen here (that's the trouble with leaving it so long between blogs!) so I'm going to run quickly through the rest of Holland. Most of my pics have comments, so if you want any more info about them then just click on the thumbnail.
The first few are from 'Queens Day' (April 30), which we spent with Anita in Den Haag. At Scheveningen beach we saw these collossal sandcastles (below). We also went to Madurodam - a miniature village with replicas of major landmarks across the country.
We also went to Kinderdijk to see the windmills. They are much more complex than I thought, and it was very interesting to enter one of them and watch it running. We were most entertained by comments made by other tourists - 'Where is the windmill's diesel engine?' and 'What did they use the mill for before electricity was invented?' Um... Debatable whether it would be worth it to try and explain, or whether it would be better to just give it up as a hopeless case? Here's Robyn with a mill.
After Kinderdijk we spent a few days with Anita in Rotterdam. Our experiences there included a much-needed 'girls night in', complete with movies and junk food, and (of course) the Euromast. Check out what I found a the top of it - a little piece of home. Yay for good old NZ!
We also went to Efteling amusement park with Anita and Ron. The whole park is based on fairy tales, and there were some really clever displays in the 'fairytale forest' with mechanical models re-enacting the old classics. We had a great day - not fantastic weather, but not totally hopeless either. I have a few pics - they're mostly 'blurries' though... The best things that I saw were semi-dark and the pictures don't look half as good as the originals. Never mind - if I find that I can't remember it in a few years time, I can always go back there again. ;-) Kidding... I'll be so broke by the time I get back that I'm sure it will take me years to recover!
Yesterday we arrived in London. Our hostel is fantastic - the best yet! It's well thought out, fairly new and (most importantly) everything seems to work... Lights/locks/powerpoints etc. Last night a couple of girls in our room had to make an early flight, and they left very noisily at 3am. Grrr - they almost woke the beast then! (Ask Jono... He'll tell you never to wake the beast!) ;-)
Today we went to Buckingham Palace, the Big Ben and Westminster Abbey. I loved Westminster Abbey - so much rich history in one place! Unfortunately photography was prohibited, so I had to be content with buying a few postcards. But I thought of my high-school history teacher all the time (hi Lynne!) and remembered a fair bit. Hopefully it's all in the memory banks somewhere...
I'd better go - I've been on the internet for hours (literally) and Robyn's gone off to make us dinner. Please don't stop writing to me - I get such a kick out of anything that reminds me of home. (Even coming to the UK has helped - light-switches that flick down and traffic that moves in the expected direction!)
Love to all,