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Published: July 20th 2017
Thursday 6th July
We finally arrived in Amsterdam after a 10 1/2 hour flight to Munich and a quick dash across the airport to just make our connecting flight.
As mummy and daddy couldn't find anywhere to stay on AirBnB in time (apparently everyone kept declining because of me - I don't know why I am such a problem!), they booked a room in the Concert Hotel for our first night in Amsterdam. Daddy wanted to take a taxi, but eventually he relented and we went by train and tram which ended up being quite pram and luggage friendly, despite daddy's initial hesitations! The hotel had a nice courtyard and there was lots to choose from for breakfast too.
Friday 7th July
Everyone is sleeping strange hours which is apparently due to something called 'jet lag'. Mummy was up in the middle of the night looking again for accommodation and she found a nice couple with a room who also had two young boys. They accepted us and the next day we packed up and caught another tram across the city to our new home. I'm glad I don't have to walk as I was carried up four flights
of very steep long windy stairs to get to our room.
Saturday 8th July
Today we began to explore our local area. It began with a visit to a local street market and finished with my first cycle on a bike. The Zeeburg area was rebuilt in the 1990s with an East Asia theme in recognition of the colonisation of Indonesia. For instance the main square was called Javaplein and we stayed on Bataviastraat (the old name for Jakarta). Our first exploration was the local Dapperstraat flea market. Everyone spoke a strange language, and mummy went on a shopping spree - Kaas (Cheese), juice, Harring (a cold fish) and some different fruit. We then went to get bicycles. I was going to sit in the Ergobaby in front of daddy. After a slightly wobbly start and sudden stop, we began moving like the wind. In fact, I loved the wind in my face and all the places whizzing by. We stopped by a lake in Flevopark. It was sunny, and mummy and daddy were all romantic.
Daddy was feeling fit so he encouraged mummy to cycle into Amsterdam via the Eastern docks and science museum. The boats were
most unlike anything that I have seen. Lights reflecting on the water signalled more food for me, and later mummy and daddy ate some Eritrean food with their hands.
Sunday 9th July
Our first visit in the Netherlands was to a young relative who lives in Weesp with her family. We had hoped to buy some flowers and cheese at the market, but it was closed. So, empty handed, we headed on the train to Weesp. It was a beautiful day and a beautiful scene. Berbel's family lived next to a karde (canal) and a windmill - very pretty and easy to find. We were welcomed into their garden for some morning tea, and later a lunch of bread, meat, cheese and fruit salad. Everyone also drank a kind of sour milk called Karnemelk which is apparently typical in the Netherlands.
Heiko had developed the garden beautifully, including a small pond and a climbing frame. The young boys (Jelmer, 7 and Lasse, 5) were very nimble on the climbing frame. Daddy even had a go at riding the children around In the baksfiets bike.
We all took a walk around the pretty town complete with lifting bridges
and boats milling everywhere. Very nice in the sun with flowers everywhere. We stopped at a kids play park where I got to climb a wall and our whole family sat on a fast moving chair - a "zip" line. There was lots of laughter, and Heiko gave me big hugs. The afternoon finished with swimming in the canal in front of Berbel's house. Daddy swam underwater from one side to the other, but I can't swim yet... maybe soon. I'm getting stronger!
As nightfall descended, mummy and daddy did more romantic things at a restaurant in Weesp. The taste of food in my milk was lovely. I was totally exhausted by the time we got home.
Tuesday 11th July
Yesterday we stayed home because daddy was sick and slept all day. We did boring stuff like washing and a bit of grocery shopping. But today was far more exciting! Apparently my middle and last name are Dutch. So we went searching for some of our Dutch heritage.
First, we looked for daddy's grandparents' house which he remembered visiting when he was 6 years old! We only had the name of the street - Waterschlaplaan. Luckily, the
place where we were staying said we could borrow their little Kia Piccanto to drive there, so we found the street and daddy thought he recognised the house! Mummy wanted to knock on the door and have a look inside but daddy said no! Later we discovered from Great Aunt Ans that the house was at number 10, not number 3 as daddy thought, and that it had been sold in 1971 before daddy was born. The house he remembered was actually Tante Ans and Oom Jaap's house at Huizen!
Next we stopped in Blaricum, a pretty little town where we found a place for lunch which sold omelettes and something else called uitsmijtler. At the table next to us there was another little boy who made faces at me. Then his older sister gave me a cuddle! They had big smiles and were so friendly! Their mother was German and their father was Dutch and they were touring by bicycle. Mummy asked the funny Dutchman (who was very very tall!!) what the main differences between the Dutch and the Germans are and his wife answered that that the Germans have learnt that communism doesn't work. I didn't really
understand but it made everyone laugh!
After lunch we went to Woensberg in Blaricum, to a place with lots of pretty patches of ground decorated with flowers and cute little statues which mummy said was the prettiest cemetery she had ever seen. Mummy and daddy were very excited when they found one patch of ground with some names on a stone that they recognised. Apparently it is where my great grandparents are but I couldn't see anybody there! We scattered some dirt which Daddy had brought from Australia and he said it was my grandpa. I don't really understand how grandpa can fit in a box, but it made mummy and daddy very emotional.
On the way home, we drove through some backstreets to see funny houses by a big sea and came to a fortified village called Naarden. Everyone thought it was so pretty we would have dinner there.
In the back steets we found a restaurant called "De Kapplen" with lots of locals and flowers, so we stopped here for dinner. Mummy and daddy ordered a local calf entrecôte dish with rose petals on the side. When it began to rain a very nice couple
moved their table next to ours. Martin and his friends shared stories of the "new" Amsterdam and why Huizen harbour, Naarden and Brooklyn were much nicer places to life, and politics. Martin had one son living in Brisbane and another who was sailing super yachts in the Caribbean. People are so friendly here. It seems that mummy and daddy either have lots and lots of friends or are just good at meeting people.
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