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Published: December 25th 2007
Hans & Marion's house
This is the entry of the house. It overlooks a farm & golf course on the other side
Sunday 23rd December
Judy not at all well but we are expected to be in Amsterdam today and have paid over 230 Euros for train tickets! Well rugged up we left the hotel before 1000 to get the bus to the station and a sign advised us that the temperature was -6 degrees!
Because of light traffic we got to the railway station early, enough time to catch an earlier train to Frankfurt, and as it was so cold we thought there would be a greater chance of finding a warm place there whilst waiting for the connection to Amsterdam.
Big mistake! Frankfurt was a large old station, cold and windy, with no comfortable place to wait. We ended up in a Burger King where we found a table in relative comfort. Two hour later we were on our train and it was after the first stop when we saw people looking for seats that we appreciated it being worthwhile paying the extra 8 euros to reserve a seat if you weren't on a train at the beginning of a journey. We mentally filed that for the future.
The four hour trip passed quickly enough, Judy felt too
It is from here that hot water is pumped to the houses for heating and for providing hot water.
ill to read so spent the time watching the passing scenery and dozing. From the white world in Germany we passed into the more familiar green world of the Netherlands. Here we saw animals in the fields but in Germany we think it must have been even too cold outside even for them.
Almost to the timetabled minute we arrived in Amsterdam. Here, to our surprise we found it much warmer and were glad that the biting chill was missing from the air. After a little searching we found our way to the correct platform with the correct tickets to get to Purmerend Overwhere. We rang Hans while we waited on the platform and he gave us a warm welcome when we got off the train.
Marion greeted us at the door and very soon we were sitting down to a lovely warm meal. Judy had done well up to this time but now was ready to collapse into bed.
Rags stayed up and got into a lively conversation with Hans and his brother Eric who dropped in later while Marion retired to another room to watch a TV program.
Sunday 24th December
A little brisk out here!
Hans standing next to one of the smaller canals which criss-cross the land.
after 0800 before we got out of bed after a difficult night for Judy, and Rags having his air mattress deflate a couple of times.
A doctor's appointment was made for Judy, then Marion & Rags went to the local shopping mart for supplies. Rags couldn't believe how busy it was, with many of the shelves emptying as fast as staff filled them. People have either left all their shopping up to the last minute or there is the usual panic when shops are closed for the following two days.
After morning coffee, Hans & Rags went for a walk in the rather bracing temperature along a path nearby passing a golf course and coming to some large farms. The mist was still fairly thick making it difficult to get good photos. Meanwhile Marion had taken Judy to the doctor who found that Judy had badly infected eardrums. Antibiotics were prescribed as well as a spray to clear her sinuses for air travel. Hopefully that will clear everything up.
The rest of the day passed quickly, darkness falling by 1630. The evening was spent talking and reading and at about 2300 we texted the kids in Australia
Looking from the path towards a farmhouse. The ice still isn't thick enough to walk or skate on.
as it was already Christmas there. It was great to get a reply back from them all even if the last phonecall was at 0300! It's Christmas!
Tuesday 25th December
A quiet Christmas morning and day was in store for us as the family here weren't getting together until tomorrow.
After a more usual breakfast for us of muesli with yoghurt we had some of the kerstbrood (Xmas bread) we had brought with us from Heidelberg. No-one was inclined to move too quickly and a relaxed time was had.
It was a cold, windy day but Hans & Rags rugged themselves up to brave the elements. It wasn't so much the temperature, about 0 degrees, but the wind factor which made it seem so cold. There are bike/pedestrian tracks all around Purmerend and our walk soon had us outside the built-up area into the fields alongside the canals which drain the “polder”. Hans explained that “polders” were the reclaimed land areas, one side being 5-600 years old, the other a relatively young 350 years old.
We passed by farm houses, an old mill, and various other buildings of varying ages and state of repair. The
A converted timber mil
They used to float the trees down to these mills for sawing. Now an up-market house.
bird life of geese, swans, ducks and other species was abundant but didn't hang around long enough for Rags to take a decent photo. By the time we had walked for about an hour and covered over 8 kms we returned to the house for a warm cup of coffee.
Marion and her 15 y.o granddaughter, Natalie were busy cooking shortbread and other goodies, preparing for tomorrow. After joining us for lunch, Natalie coerced Hans into taking her home in the car as it was too cold to ride. She has him “wrapped around her finger” but it is mutual, and she is returning to do some more baking.
This evening we will be by ourselves as Marion & Hans have other commitments, this giving us some time together too. Rags is likely to break the run of AFDs he has been having! Judy is still feeling too miserable to care although the antibiotics seem to be doing the trick and her aches and pains have slowly disappeared.
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