Day 51-62 – Hanging in Emst, Vaassen, Haarlem, Amsterdam, Apeldoorn (Holland)
This post will be a bit like ‘I went here and there’ and a little all over the place but I will sum it all up as best as I can.
I have spent the last week and half hanging at my cousins place, visiting a few family members and friends, a few family nights from both sides, riding around cities. It’s been great to be in a house and use it as a base to fully give my bike a once over, change the tyres that I ordered, cook a few dinners like a good housewife and just totally relax and have good conversations and solve the worlds problems with my cousin the Fez man – very late nights, feeling sick from too much coffee, headaches due to not drinking enough water, bumming around – nothing beats that hahaha.
I have had many great days just totally relaxing in NL and actually speaking to people and understanding what they say back which is a nice change.
I have been so spoilt with both sides of my family it’s been amazing. I’ve basically just rocked up at my cousins and he has organised everything for me and made my stay here like I was a permanent resident. We drove all over NL really and within the few small towns around the area collecting things for my bike and what not – Getting great ‘local’ discounts as my cousin is known well in this area (don’t know if that’s a good thing or not hehe). For all the tourers reading my blog – I must say that this one bike shop I went to in Apeldoorn NL was awesome – they spent a bit of time fixing a couple small things but I got charged hardly anything so i said that i’ll put their link up on the website so here it is – http://www.bongersbikes.nl/ – they also do hand carved brooks saddles which was really cool.
See photos of their bike shop in slideshow – I haven’t seen such a workshop in a bicycle store before – like a large motor mechanic workshops but I guess in NL you need that as there are so many here – It was just amazing for me to see. Gas lifts for bike stands and tool kits that looked like they were for trucks hehe.
Went to a family reunion from my mother’s side and that was all organised by a few of my other cousins. I am so grateful for that and it ended up being a really nice get together with lots of laughs and memories. To the dear Bouwmeesters – thank you for putting on such a special show for us and making us feel so welcome and thank you for the lovely present that will take centre stage on my photo shelf. It will be a day i’ll never forget and I now have many addresses to keep in contact.
From the Bouwmeester night was the Vanderklis day the next day. We spent the whole day on the Amsterdam canals on a boat feeling so spoilt with beautiful food cooked by family and friends and just had a great day cruising the canals and sharing stories from the past and getting to know my family a little better. It’s always too short but was a fantastic day where we just rock up on the boat and everything is organised for us – how lucky are we to have such great family members – thank you Vanderklis’ for organising the best day ever and making it possible to get to know our Dutch side of family a little better.
We also visited Anne Frank house (Not allowed to take photos) and walked around Amsterdam a few times. A few nice days hanging with my sister and family who coincidentally is on holidays in Holland the same time as me and spending quality time together and seeing other family members at the same time and learning some history from my uncles and cousins– nothing beats that and I am privileged to be here doing so.
Thank you to my Uncle Wim who let us stay in his house and just make it our home (second home I trashed) – Basically allow us to trash it and take over and use it as base which helps to relax and reset in between events.
On one of the nights it was a great feeling to just have a family meal at home with my sister and fam – just sit around the table and talk and also a really nice dinner at my cousins house in Amsterdam (Hartstijke bedankt Hans, Doef, Miriam, Morris – thanks again for organising so many things for us and being spot on with everything) sorry for spelling name incorrectly if I did – that was so Gezellig. Visited the Heineken factory with my Bro in law and perhaps a couple more beers than expected and walked around the red light district with the fam – that was interesting he he.
As i’ve said – both sides of the family have just pulled together and made my (our) experience one to remember and made us feel overly welcome. It’s been a whirlwind visiting so many people and going to so many places but it has been a great reset also. So many conversations where we solved the worlds problems and learn a few stories I never knew about family members.
Tonight my cous the Fez man has organised to go watch a soccer match PSV Vs Napoli in Eindhoven so that’s going to rock. I’m getting itchy feet now and think that I need another day or two and then i’m off I think. I know it will be hard to leave The Netherlands – I felt closer to this country than I ever have on the other times I have been here over the years (perhaps age has something to do with that) and have had experiences that will stay with me forever.
I was actually going to leave two days ago but caught a really big cold and coughing all sorts of things up – I am staying that little extra to get rid of it – I know I won’t be fully well when I leave on Tuesday morn but I think it should be good enough and shall clean itself out when I splutter my way through Belgium/France/Italy
I know the first couple days will be hard again as it almost feels like a complete refresh and looking at photos seems distant and harder than being in it.
I was lucky enough to get some Australian flags and stickers (one of the things I forgot to take OS with me) from my sister so that’s been installed on my bike and can’t wait to cycle that little more proudly he he. I also have an NL sticker on there now too – SWEEET – i’ll post some pics of that in the coming days
Until the next post when i’m on the road again **sings song**
For the tourers i’ve put a description of where my items are packed on Thor the Mother Ship – I know it was handy for me to see that on other peoples touring websites so I wanted to do the same – (click each photo for original size)
Short clips of soccer game in Eindhoven