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Connections in the Dutch Low lands

imageWhen we found out our wonderful Dutch friends – (Werner & Corina with their lovely kids Finn & Luna) from our Australian home in the King valley were coming back to Holland for a summer break, we just simply had to try and plan Holland into our trip and camp with them for 6 days. It was so wonderful to reconnect with them and for our kids to play so well. As we’ve said before – it’s always the people that make the place! It was also amazing to meet their families and friends and spend time with them. We had met Corina’s parents before in Australia and have had some lovely times together. I always love to visit a friends place of origin and to see and feel the place were their stories of growing up were formed. It was very special. We didn’t necessarily come to Holland to sightsee but we loved the countryside – so green and pretty. However we were so grateful that Werner’s dad managed to find us some cheap family ticket to get to Amsterdam on the train.

image imageWhat a superbly beautiful city. We normally don’t do queues and try to avoid touristy attractions or rather get to a place early but when we got to the Anne Frank museum we weren’t early – and we hadn’t had the insight to book tickets on the Internet to avoid some of the queue -so we just did it – imageI stood in the queue for over an hour while Sandy and the kids followed me from park bench to park bench and continued to read the fascinating story of this courageous young girl. It was wonderful to visit and read her story and see where they all hid for almost two years – though war, being Jewish or any other religion, being persecuted etc are such difficult concepts for me to contemplate let alone the young minds of our kids that feel things so deeply. We are so fortunate to not live in a war zone where history seems to repeat and repeat.

 

imageOne of the highlights of our Dutch holiday was also catching up with my lovely ex Bowen student Femmy and her partner Mark and two lovely boys. It seems there are so many lakes around Holland where people love to go on holidays or just visit for the day and have fun in the water. We had a lovely morning together with some very gourmet food. Thanks very much. It also made me ponder about how wide our global Bowen family is. Very special indeed.

Lastly – something I just love about Holland is that bicycles rule the road!

There are bike lanes absolutely everywhere and bike parking is even sometimes multi storeyed. We also learnt that bikes always have right of way so you need to be careful to look around well when you are turning left or right with the car………

imageAnd on small streets they don’t necessarily move over so the cars can pass. They are more important than the car! I must say that I loved that!

By Baba MiliKing

 

Here are some of the kids stories:

In Holland we went to a pancake shop where they sell cheese or cheese and garlic or sugar pancakes. We also went to a water park place that had two slides and a river that goes round and around. At Luna and Finn’s place there were also go carts. It was so much fun.

 

From Kiki's journal

From Kiki’s journal

We went to a museum called Anne Frank House. The Frank family were Jews. Sister: Margot Frank. Dad: Otto Frank. Mum: Edith Frank. anne Frank was born in Germany on the 12th of June 1929. She died in March 1945 at a concentration camp (death camp). They went into hiding and the sad thing is they were discovered. By Kiki

 

 

 

The big yard where we camped

The big yard where we camped

Our first Dutch brekky - we got to have chocolate sprinkles on bread

Our first Dutch brekky – we got to have chocolate sprinkles on bread

Werner and Corinna are fabulous. They are friendly, fun and incredibly nice. They took us to see lots of amazing places in Holland like an amazing lake that had water so clear it was clearer than most beaches. Another place was an epic indoor pool that had water slides and was really fun. The first night they took us to a traditional pancake Restraunt and we had garlic and cheese pancakes and sugar pancakes and cheese pancakes – they were terrific.

We loved Hema breakfasts

We loved Hema breakfasts

They even took us to a shopping centre called Hema in the morning where we got a €1 breakfast. To get the breakfast you have to go between 9-10am. I really recommend the breakfast if you ever come to Holland. It was fun camping with them. Bye for now from Tobes

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Hup Holland Hup

Hup Holland Hup

Tonight on the 6/7/14 Werner took my baba and I to one of his family friends’ house to watch Holland vs Costa Rica in the World Cup Quarter Finals. When I walked in there I thought ‘WOW! These guys are big fans!’ imageWhat I first saw was an amazing big Lego modelled soccer pitch. imageThere were Corner flags, little Lego men with cameras for TV and cameramen for the papers. It had flag men and all of that. There was even a crowd of little Lego people and little Smurfs. That soccer pitch was in the front yard and covered the whole of the driveway. imageOn the front wall of the house was a humongous banner of a soccer player and lots of flags. They had also attached a Netherlands flag like a roof for the soccer field and it opened and closed mechanically. It was really cool.
imageAt the back of the house there was a big outdoor covered area that was completely orange. imageIn the front of this area there was a wall and a camera projector that you connect to a computer to make it a big screen – underneath it there was a table with so many orange football souvenirs. There were even orange coloured nuts and orange chips to eat.
There were lots of seats and bar stools and I thought there wouldn’t be many people but then they started coming and I think there were about 30-40 people.
The game was very exciting – it was quite amusing when there was absolute silence and everyone had their eyes glued to the screen but when there was a good pass down to the front they would all start shouting “Hup holland Hup” and jump off their seats.
imageIt was a tense game – most adults had at least 4 – 5 bottles of beers. They even had orange bottle holders with whistles to blow when they got a goal. The score was 0-0. They went into extra time and it was still 0-0 so they had to go to penalties. I found it quite funny and amusing that they changed the goal keeper before the penalties. I read in the paper that the goal keeper that was substituted off was angry cause he wanted to keep going. I thought it was right to change the goal keeper cause the one they substituted on was very good at saving penalties. Holland aren’t usually good at penalties. The goal keeper was very amazing – he made two saves and the other goals he was inches away from making the save. One person said that she didn’t really like the coach because of his attitude but he’s a good coach and guided Holland very well indeed. Most people really really respect his decisions and think that he knows what he’s doing. The penalty scores were 4-3 and Holland won. imageEveryone was going absolutely crazy when they won. image image imageSomeone even snuck into the garden and lit some fireworks. Like everyone else I actually drank quite a bit too – but I didn’t drink alcohol. I was quite surprised that baba let me have a few cups of Fanta because it was orange. I also had one cup of orange juice. It was a very very late night – we went home at 1.15am. At a shop earlier in the day we bought some orange sparkly hairspray and some kind of orange streamer spray so while it was the penalties when Holland got a goal or saved a goal I kept spraying and it was really really fun. I can imagine having some kind of party like that in Australia but not as big.
I’ll be on a plane when Holland plays again on Wednesday and I’m not sure how we will find out the scores but we’ll try.

By Tobes

There was fantastic orange onesies in the Hema shop that we had breakfast in and baba said that if he wasn’t so Greek he would love to buy one. (Mama MiliKing)