This is our blog – our notes, photos, scribbles during our stay in Arnhem for six weeks.
OUR BLOG FOR ROTTERDAM WILL BE POSTED ON 9TH APRIL WHEN WE ARE BACK HOME AFTER OUR QUARANTINE…
Our current status (Narda and me) @ – we have arrived in Adelaide after 10 weeks in the Netherlands and flights back via Amsterdam and Singapore where we spent 17 hours – we have been given amazing help with a home in Swan Reach along the Murray River for us to do our quarantine of two weeks in Adelaide until the 8th of April then we will move back into our own home. Our flight Amsterdam to Singapore was good. About 75% full, we stayed covered and washed. The airport in Amsterdam was quite empty. The same for Singapore where we stayed in our hotel within immigration for 12 hours then in a premiere lounge. Thanks to family, friends, strangers… for so many good thoughts, offers of help and keeping us positive. As of our first thirteen days in quarantine we feel good. Cheers. Updated Monday 06 April/2020 10 AM
Daily Thoughts for 2020 updated Friday 06 April/2020
Narda’s writing is in italics and mine are not.
There are some overlaps as we tell the same story differently. How is that? We come home and write about our day; one would think they would match – two memories of the same experience. It is best we write them as we go – if we wait weeks, months, years, then our memories get really different, though quite interesting. Or I just ramble on randomly about something, which is normal.
We slept a few hours on the flight from Singapore to Amsterdam. Narda with her command of Dutch tackled the train milieu. I sat sipping pumpkin soup. We had a good start to the process as the Duchies who we are trading houses with gave us two OV-chipkaarts, which is the chipcard used throughout the Netherlands. Eventually, Narda came back triumphantly waving our enhanced chipkaarts and we managed to find the platform to Arnhem. After standing around awhile we realized we had not validated our tickets, ran up a flight of stairs with suitcases and backpacks, cameras, dreams of an easier method, wishes of having slept longer on the plane, and managed to get back down the stairs and into a packed train as the doors were closing. As we were only an hour from Arnhem, we were able to squeeze on and most of the people got off at the next stop giving us proper seats to watch the cold Dutch countryside pass by.As is so often the case we exchanged houses (and cars). This is the first time we met our people in Adelaide. We collected them at the airport, drove them to our house, showed them around and left them tomato soup made by Narda and an egg thingy from me. We took the bus back to Adelaide central and stayed at the So Ho Hotel before staying the next night at the airport hotel then on to Singapore.
From the train station in Arnhem we took a bus to a few blocks from our new home making the journey from our home in Adelaide via Singapore to the suburbs of Arnhem reasonably doable. We immediately took an hour nap – went to bed at six pm and were wide awake at three am.
January 24th 5am Arnhem, Holland
Now it’s 8.30am and still pitch dark outside. The house is nice, lots of room and a very high-end coffee machine. Yesterday we walked our bicycles (flat tyres) for 3 Km to the bike shop and they sorted it for free. We rode the rest of the day; nice bike paths through woods. We were looking for the downtown of Arnhem but then had to make a quick ride home as the sun was already setting. This was 4.30 pm. It’s a whole new world, this northern European winter experience.
Jumbo, our Dutch Shop on steroids (did I say that before?) is conveniently close, and I have eaten ready made gehakt ballen, stroop waffels, beschuit, Amsterdam Vintage cheese (old gouda), and rookvlees, thinly sliced as Mother would have liked it.
Our first day was a bit cold as I tried to turn up the heater which shut down the system. We had the neighbours over trying to help us, called the people who installed the heater, and eventually rang the owners in Adelaide. By the end of the day we had the heater working. During the day we made use of the fresh cold air outside by walking two bikes with flat tyres for 45 minutes to a bike shop where they pumped up and we were sent on our way after being told we should get new tyres as all of them were close to their ends. We ignored the friendly advice and rode home, safely. We even went for an extended bike ride and got home, frozen, as darkness of 5 pm greeted us we made some dinner and managed to stay awake until 6.30 pm when we surrendered, went to bed, wide awake at four am. I think we are gaining.
Normally I think of myself as not-such-a-timid-driver, but blimey, driving home last night was a challenge. Firstly, it was 8pm, and in these jetlag days, that is about 2 hours past our bedtime. Secondly, the Dutch are bloody crazy friggin’ drivers. This guy who judged my driving too slow (80km in an 80km zone) decided to join my lane and pass me on the wrong side…sharing my lane. Come on!!!! Thirdly, the night lights on the freeways are not strong, so I’m using the high beam occasionally and getting flashed at. OK …now that I have that out of my system………..
On Sunday we planned a BIG DAY OUT. So I had to practice. Took a short spurt on the freeway to get some confidence. We found Kronenburg Mall. Everything was there. We bought an egg timer, a bike chain, a groovy cork covered notebook for me, and some food. They even have Aldi. Sorry that was too much information. Next week Terrell will be DD.
January 24th 5am Arnhem, Holland
Yes, it really was 5am and we had already been up a while. We fiddled with the central heating and this morning it is not running, temperature around freezing outside and not that much warmer inside.
We left at 7.45am in total darkness to meet Ian and Kees for brekkie at their hotel in Zutphen, a lovely old town, ¾ hr north of here. So great to catch up with these guys. After they left to take a train back to the airport, we stayed for a second round of breakfast. (better than putting stuff in a plastic bag and smuggling it out).
Our third night, Saturday, we did really well; staying awake until 7.30 pm and up at 6 am on Sunday and driving out, in the dark at 7.30 am to Zutphen, an hour away where we had breakfast at the Hampshire Hotel with Cass and Ian.
Our two minute clip of our foggy early morning ride Arnhem to Zutphen https://youtu.be/R605AtvNSoc
We’ll come back to our breakfast in a moment. Narda worked with Ian years ago in the music department of their school. We attended Cass and Ian’s wedding at a chateau in Belgium ten years ago. They now live in Spain and were in Zutphen for a friend’s birthday the same time we were not far away, so in our wonderful world of synchronicity we all were together for a wonderful morning.
So many complain about Facebook, but because of Facebook we are always seeing people we have known from the past in various world spots, friends from childhood, friends from working in China, the USA, Australia and folks we meet along the way. Thanks Facebook. We just ignore stuff we don’t like and keep track of our community.
Then the longish drive to Utrecht where we met cousins, Hans and Mirjam at Ineke’s old age home. The home is pretty nice, divided into small cells of folks who live, cook and hang out together like families. It’s very nicely set up. Hans and Mirjam where singing for the residents in a concert/sing along. They are great. They have a really professional set up and do this regularly. Enjoyed by all….Ineke seems happy in her life there. We joined Hans and Mirjam for some great conversation (with the girls, Linda and Suzanne) over beer and Chinese takeaway.
We continued our day with a visit to Narda’s aunt in a nursing home. The nursing home was quite pleasant as nursing homes go, the Dutch know how to look after their own. Narda’s cousins did a musical gig for everyone, singing karaoke style songs that had lyrics beyond my understanding (they were in Dutch) and all the oldies seemed quite happy singing and swaying along. After the nursing home we went to the cousin’s home and had dinner with their family. Driving home on freeways for an hour after dark in The Netherlands is a challenge. Unlike our drive in the morning with very little Sunday morning traffic, going home in the evening with everyone else was less than fun but here we are.
Feeling the desire to be tourists we discovered that a nearby town may be the oldest in The Netherlands, Nijmegen. They have a great park and ride service nearby and we parked and went hooning down the road. All for 3.50 Euros which included parking for the day and free bus for the day for up to four people. The village of Nijmegen is only five-ten minutes away, but we stayed on the bus (line 300) and did a circuit of the town as well as another town and on the way back stopped in the centre of town.
My strange, perhaps funny, interaction came when Narda was entering or leaving a shop. In Asia and most of the rest of the world Narda is easy to keep track of being tall. Here she can even be short as many Dutch women are more than six foot tall. In Holland shops still use cash, unlike most of the world where credit cards are the only thing. We had some cash on us and I wanted a fridge magnet I had recently spotted. Narda was standing next to me, but moved, and I thought it was her I was standing next to as out of the corner of my eye there was a tall chick with the same colour coat as Narda and I put my hand on her, lucky she said ‘what’ or something in some foreign language that I did not understand and then I quickly realized it was not Narda. Lucky in the sense that I was just about to say, ‘could I have your money?’ I thought about that for days, vacillating between being horrified that she may have kung fu’d me and laughing as it did see funny (to me). What I did learn was not to assume the person next to me is Narda. A good life lesson. Especially if they are a millennial me-2er and realized I just called a female ‘chick’. (seksuele intimidatie door een oudere man).
Speaking of chicks; on the way to our local Jumbo there is a small farm, probably a pettying zoo for children, here is our video of the chucks. Narda loves chickens (but I don’t eat them). She has been saying for the past twenty years when we settle down we will get a few chucks. She is somewhat of an expert on them having raised them sometime in her pasat. I grew up on a farm (made an attempt of growing up) in Clifton Park, New York (Saratoga county) and my parents had lots of them – like a hundred or so. My parents ate the poor things and one of the many mean things I did to my brother was put a head of a chicken in his bed just to hear him scream.
Here is our clip of that chicken farm on the way to Jumbo…
January 28, 2020 off to visit our Rotterdam hosts
We passed the same turn off 3 times, each time we backtracked and repeated it. Crazy. The GPS (I’m firmly blaming it, despite being the navigator) took us on turn offs, then made us back track and repeat. Like Ground Hog Day. It was exhausting. Terrell kept his cool and drove with confidence following my confusion. Anyway, we swapped phones and things started to improve. Who knows why? It took 2 hours instead of 1 ½ hours to get to the home of our next hosts, in Neiuwerkerk aan de Ijssel.
Three dogs and two young ones greeted us in what will be our new house next week. The young ones, Chantal and Fred often take in dogs as an income stream; helps pay for their amazing extensive travel, which includes South Africa, The Caribbean, and the USA. We spent an enjoyable afternoon with them, lots to talk about and we enjoyed some nice Dutch fast food at the local shopping centre.
They are a friendly couple aged around 40, with the girl confined to a wheelchair and the guy a full-time career. They have incredible courage, travelling all over the world, despite this handicap. Inspiring.
The small roads we took on the way there, had us passing many more historic towns, and accidently crossing the river on a ferry. An unexpected bonus!
The trip home was easier, all the way on A15, which it bloody well should have been on the way up. Not my fault after all.
Drive to Rotterdam https://youtu.be/vpGyQSvqM84
We love our coffee machine – it is next to the fridge, larger than a medium sized microwave oven – makes mild coffee for Narda, super strong coffee for me from espresso to anything you want. It grinds the beans first of course so we get the strong beans and go through a kilo in a week. Not sure how we will go back to the customary instant coffee folks serve up back in Australia.
The Dutch love their croquettes and to be up to speed with those people I too am eating them, finding that there were vegetarian ones, of course, being carbohydrate intense I am limiting them to only when I eat them:
This is the day when I really want to be home for my Stu’s birthday! Hoping to ring soon. Thank goodness for social media and easy international calls.
We have a cold rating system. 3 brrs means we have to don snowpants for our bikeride; with 2 brrs, jeans will suffice. The top part is a given; gloves, scarves, warm jackets and a warm beanie. Yesterday I was on 2 Terrell on 3. Brrs that is.
We made our way south to Elst, heading south on nice farmland bike paths.
[Elst is a village in the municipality of Overbetuwe in the Dutch province of Gelderland. It is situated in the Betuwe, between the cities of Nijmegen and Arnhem. Elst has 21,447 inhabitants. Elst is known for its Roman temples, which are situated under the Saint Werenfried church.]
Our plan was to find a bike shop who would adjust my set for free. We found a friendly bloke, he did a great job on the dodgy connection, and then we proceeded to the Thursday market filling main street. I had no intention of spending any money, but I made an exception and bought a 15 Euro cute backpack handbag. Nice find. Oh and then we both made an exception and stocked up on cheese, advocaat (3 Euros) and good cheese and prosciutto. Terrell bought some bird seed and almond milk. Everyone happy.
My ‘bird seeds’, actually my breakfast is pumpkin, sesame, chia, hemp, and a several other seeds…
Our clip of the Elst Fish Market with lots of Dutch going on https://youtu.be/40XHJ6Gna-Q
Try ordering a type of fish in age-four-Dutch. The guys in the fish caravan were very generous and pretended to understand.
These caravans pop up at different locations. It’s a ‘thing’; at carnivals, on Saturdays, at shopping centres and markets. We had pedalled to Elst for this purchase and enjoyed garlic prawns and deep-fried fish (lekker bek) in the following days, despite what I ordered
The second marvellous discovery was a giant secondhand store (kingloop) where we went to town and spent 16 Euros on mugs, some cool old tins, some classical CDs (old school) and other stuff I’ve forgotten
We drove the car to a P&R. I thought this was a store, but it turned out to be Park and Ride. We paid EU3.50 for the day and took the free bus into Nijmegen. It’s about 20 Km down the road, but this was easy. I think we got a complete tour, stopping all through the town, and finally getting off at the beginning of a walking mall as the bus headed back to the car park.
Today we rode to Arnhem. Being about 6 degrees centigrade we bunded up and found those great bike trails that are scattered all over the place. Once lead to another and soon (1.5 hours later, though our mean GPS laughingly we only had a 25-minute bike ride ahead) we were in centrum Arnhem. See our video, Arnhem Bike Ride https://youtu.be/lrvZppg8Kp4 According to the internet; ‘There is proof of early settlements in the city dating back as far as 1500 BC. However, many consider the origins of city to have begun in 1233, when city rights were bestowed by Count Otto II. ‘
Sunday, we went to Vianen a suburb of Utrecht, to visit Els in her home filled with her beautiful collection of world antiques, our story is from our visit to her house; we got on the wrong road going out of town, over a large bridge; we drove across on the bike lane and had to drive on the bike lane for quite some time on the other side before finding a road that was for cars. We have a minute clip over at https://youtu.be/WX0Ks36jn3s and hope there was no camera on the bridge as we have been told that there is a large fine for driving on a bike lane.
What do we do for six weeks in a place? The same as we would back home; I do Adobe stuff in the morning and post what I do on Twitter and six or seven other sites (not Instagram or Facebook… no particular reason, I just don’t). I have been doing text on images since the mid-1960s, a long time. Narda catches up friends, checks news, works on house exchanges which keeps us living for free in homes around the world, draws, mediates, reads. As we tend to be asleep by 9.30 pm, we tend to be up between five and six in the morning. Around ten am we are off exploring, usually on our bikes. We explored going to the gym for swimming and weight stuff, but the nearby gym won’t go less than a three-month membership and the swimming did not do our Zumba fitness classes we like back in Adelaide. But an hour or two of bike riding, in the cold keeps us somewhat fit and brings my blood sugars to normal and we get to see our environment. Evenings are little different than back in Adelaide; we watch our Netflix series and life goes on. The only difference is the environment, language too. Most people have enough English in The Netherlands and Narda does well with Dutch if they don’t. As most humans we like routines. I even continue with my low-carb vegetarian diet no matter where in the world we are. I think I could do this the rest of my life; just change houses every month, in a different part of the world. Thanks to Google translate or whatever app I have on my phone I can figure out foods I need and if we get lost, which we do at least once a day, our GPS, sometimes gets us home.
Arnhem February 6, 2020
Last year, and in the last years, the Netherlands has been in the grip of a drought. While perhaps more commonly known for floods than droughts, The Netherlands is allocating seven million euros to combat excessively dry seasons in the country. The money will be used to build larger water reservoirs in sandy areas, to monitor levels of evaporation, and to reduce the impact of salinization on drinking water production. “As a low lying country with large rivers, we are always working on preventing wetness. That explains why we are now so surprised by the drought”, someone said.
Video of morning walk https://youtu.be/GW7VWDt8dTw
So the lakes near where we live are now full, but have lost their reeds, as they “died in the drought”, explained our neighbour as we took a long walk yesterday around these wetlands (still very wet!). Our new neighbours are very friendly, and helpful. We had coffee at their place yesterday; he speaks no English, but we got by.
Our home is right at the edge of the suburban parts of Arnhem. They told us that this was the cut-off point, no more building, just farmland. It certainly makes this a nice area, with the option of “country” rides. When we go to Elst (where the market was) it takes about 20 minutes of pedalling through farmland. Nice!
This is on the other side of the road to Elst. Bike paths galore!
So then the next day I spilt my coffee over my pants and sox in a nice bakery in Huissen. It took us 40 minutes of pedalling though farmland and nature to visit this nice little old city. Still on my 16/8 intermittent fast diet, so I’m very ready for this coffee/cake. Wearing crocs (even fancy ones) is not a great choice for bike riding when it is 1 degree outside. My feet were frozen; well at least numb. So in my eagerness to get at the coffee and to wrap my feet in Terrell’s scarf (he did first take it off) I knocked over the whole thing. The Dutch bakery lady was very nice replacing it and mopping up without any untoward comment. We tried to pay for the extra coffee but she wasn’t havin’ it.
Main street Huissem
I bought some new sox at Hema, two pairs of “thermals”. Too thin to really be thermal, but nice enough. The trip back was long and mixed. I’m not going to say we got lost, because that’s getting boring, but the way back did take a bit longer. We stopped for a bit more food halfway home….you guessed it
….Jumbo….bought some pieces of goats cheese, a roll to share and some freshly squeezed O/J. Not too shabby, just a bit cold.
In our getting to know our local hood trip we took a bike ride to Huissen which is about half an hour by bike from home. We made a short clip and threw it up onto YouTube over here, https://youtu.be/A9JyOPGwHm0 .
Narda’s feet were cold as she was wearing crocs with holes, even though wearing socks, one degree centigrade is cold for feet. We found a bakery as we entered Huissen and went in for coffee. Stadsbakkerij Huissen, on Vierakkerstraat 3, right as you enter town, if you go in the direction we did. A lady set down our coffee, and Narda, picture this…who had cold feet, took off her shoes, wrapped her feet in my scarf to warm them up, knocked over her cup of coffee getting her pants and socks wet. Our coffee was quickly replaced, and a kind person cleaned up the mess. Luckily, (we live on luck) Narda had on ski pants, so the coffee didn’t penetrate. We found a Hema (Hema is a general store in Holland, like Woolworths) a few blocks away where Narda got two pairs of thermal socks and put them on. Life is good. While at Stadsbakkerij I came up with an idea for a name if I had a bakery with two girls: ‘two girls and a loaf’, OK that doesn’t gel with Millennials – no calling them girls, so maybe two women and a loaf, oh wait, feminists don’t like that word with men or man in it, maybe ‘a bun and a loaf’ Narda and I will start a bakery. Or not.
Arnhem, February 9 2020
Instead of “Operation Destination Jumbo”, we have decided to lift our game and become more cultural. Now, at least for a few days, we look for castles, or Kasteels as they are locally known.
Me here…I have always loved castles. Back in the 1960s when I lived in communes in California, believed in reincarnation, I thought I had lived during the era of King Arthur. There was even a psychic who told me so…how could it not be true? I read the Mary Stewart’s Merlin Trilogy a couple of times and followed this mindset until at least the late 1970s – it took me awhile to get connected to reality. Nevertheless, I still love castles; though I can’t remember living in any or even imagine wanting to. They didn’t have Wi-Fi, how could they live?
Kasteel de Kingkelenburg See our groovy video here https://youtu.be/oixbZUYFEQQ
We are doing a Dutch castle crawl with our first castle being in the town of Bemmel.
De Kinkelenburg Castle first appeared in 1403 and more stuff was built around the original place in the 1700s and during WW 2 it became a headquarters for some folks and then the whole place got a restore a few decades ago. I really couldn’t say it better than the signage out front of the place…even if I could read Dutch;
I continue to have a distrust of smart phones, and my Google map is not recognising bike paths, despite offering this option SO I have drawn the map to this castle in pencil. It really makes a difference. Just the act of drawing it has boosted my memory and given me a mental picture of where we are in relation to north/south, the nearby freeway etc.
So we toddled off on our bikes. Mine is a man’s bike requiring a huge high leg swing to mount. This does not always end well.
Still the bike paths are stunning and so much fun. We followed the freeway for a bit, then headed inland over farm country, wearing our snow pants, which quickly got too hot. Half an hour later we arrived in the town of Bemmel and found our first castle.
It was basically a large tower built between 1200 and 1400. Impressive. Renovated in the 1700’s. Much of this town was bombed and flattened in World War 2, so the centre has more modern buildings. We did not get lost on the way home; more support for my pencil map
We have a named storm, Storm Ciara, currently ravaging Europe, which is why we are home writing blogs. We heard that the flight yesterday from NYC to London took just over 4 hours, at 800mph (or is it kph?) breaking records.
Pretty cool huh. We cancelled our planned trip to Utrecht to visit family and hunkered down for an exciting storm day. Waiting, waiting……nothing…..so we made a bike ride to Jumbo (back to our default). I bought 2 nice apple tarts (one to Terrell and one for me, I ate both), and some anijs blokjes (new packaging; suffered a small culture shock).
Back home, more waiting. Eventually Terrell made the proposal that we go for a drive, so off we went to Arnhem Central, and discovered the storm, flooding on the Rhein! We also got caught in a short but very windy rain shower. We got our storm fix!
Narda tells us about her almost trip to Hoekelum Castle 35 years ago and finally there today. https://youtu.be/2-l_KfOBS0Y Castle Hoekelum goes back to the fourteenth century, 1325 to be precise. It is between Ede and Bennekom, right in the heart of the Veluwe nature. Oh, the other thing is that our video is only a minute long. Cheers!
February 13, Arnhem
We got 7 packets of small cards to glue into our special book. This is a book given out by the Jumbos of Arnhem (could that be a movie title?). All in Dutch, it traces the history of the area, starting with the first residents (de eerste bewoners)
The archaeologists have found two firestones dating back more than 70,000 years. They are believed to be from an era when Neanderthals would have inhabited this side of Europe. (They have since moved to Trumpistan). In another part of the city, remains from 5000 B.C. of a hunter’s camp were found. In yet another area of Arnhem, signs of Neolithic revolution (an era which saw the rise of farmers) dating back to 2400 B.C. were discovered. Here 12 grave mounds were found.
Until 1530 settlements were not situated on the banks of River Rhine as they are today. The course of the river changed in 1530 and the settlers come down and made a city on the banks.
And there’s more. Every time we shop there and spend 10 Euros we get a packet of pictures which we dutifully stick into our new book, each picture in a numbered spot. So that’s what you do when you go and stay in one place for 6 weeks. We did a lot of shopping, a lot of collecting; there were too many duplicates – I even complained which fell on deaf ears or ears that didn’t understand my English. Now we have a book with missing stamps so if anyone is still collecting… we are still in The Netherlands with our book in hand.
Some 35 years ago my grandmother, Oma Albers turned 80. My sisters, one of their husbands and mum and dad, together with the Albers family in Holland went to celebrate her birthday as her guests in a lovely castle called Hoekelum. I didn’t go. Not sure exactly why, I think I had a small baby, maybe feeding him, who knows. Anyway, we found our way there on one of the rainy days. A bunch of teachers were doing some PD there. We were actually welcomed and offered coffee (do we still look like teachers??) until they realised, we were gate crashers. It’s a beautiful building and a beautiful setting. So that’s one more off my list.
It is a game changer! 38 Euros for about 2 ½ hour return trip. Not India cheap, but now doable. My previous quote was double that.
Off to Oostebeek, one station away, but an adventure, nonetheless. The trains are so clean, this one even had a loo; handy. We walked into this beautiful town. It was quite a surprise. Stately houses, and then a lovely old section nearer the Rhine, where we discovered the oldest church (so the claim goes) in The Netherlands. Coffee and apple tart with slagroom (meaning ‘çream’ does not sound quite as good in English) and Terrell had pecan pie, or as he insists, pecan cake….’too thick to be a pie’. (also with slagroom
Oosterbeck video https://youtu.be/drkuVXX4uMA
Oosterbeek is a town that mum and dad talked about; not sure in what context. We took the #2 bus, the local of locals, winding its way through Arnhem suburbia on its way to Arnhem Centraal, the railway station. This little kid in a seat opposite us was singing all the way, very cute. The next day in Kronenbug, our local mall, I met his mother again, by pure chance, in one of the shops. I asked her if the little guy was still singing and she told me that he had just survived an operation removing a brain tumour. Wow. We have no idea.
The very friendly woman in Arnhem Centraal whom Terrell insists was a man, also helped us find this new website.. We had a nice conversation with him/her, very helpful person. I wish we had some more gender-neutral pronouns.
He was clearly a he, just because he had long hair doesn’t mean he was a girl. The grandchildren back in Adelaide say I look like a girl because I have long hair, but wait, I have a beard, moustache and I am the most macho one in the family (between Narda and me). They always make fun of me. Maggie wanted to know why I wear a cowboy hat because I am not a cowboy. Wrong Maggie. I am.
Train travel in this fair country is expensive, more so for foreigners. They have all sort of discounts on their site, but you need a bloody Dutch bank account to pay for them online. Until today! A very helpful operator at the rail site and in the Arnhem station gave me a website which offers some of the deals; return tickets on weekends, some tourist trips including a ferry ride…this kind of stuff, and you can pay using your own credit card. We have some tickets for Haarlem for Sunday to visit Jolien. Nice not to have to drive; with stormy weather threatening again. www.actievandedag.nland the special link they kindly sent https://www.actievandedag.nl/categorie/goedkope-treinkaartjes
there is an earlier period to the below from the 1100s but this is enough to keep us entertained for now Of course, who can not love a good winkle – I have heard about winkles for the past twenty years and yes it just means store but the word is really cool… to me
He reminded us of Michael. The dog however was much more formidable. A big blackish German Shepherd. But he, the guy, not the dog, warmed to us as we chatted. By then we had moved from my age-four-Dutch, to English, and Terrell was making rude jokes about his girlfriend. The dog was ignoring us.
We had made a practice bike ride to Arnhem Zuid, the train station we will use on Stormy Sunday (no relation to Daniels). We saw the guy putting his dog and his bag into his car and decided he may be able to tell us if this spot is good to leave our car when we travel in Storm Dennis to Haarlem by train on Sunday. He said “there are no signs, just park near the street lights if you can”. He parks illegally all the time. OK. So that’s Sunday’s parking taken care of.
Castle # 3
Our video – Bilderberg castle https://youtu.be/DWkqQ9BJPkQ
The horse had the best deal in the photo above, she could get away. A bumper sticker I have always liked, though Narda doesn’t, is ‘stable horses are for horses’. Don’t read anything into that – I am happy with Narda – I just like the bumper sticker. We spent the day at this castle – had a great bike ride to there after a ride across the river on the local ferry. It is all in the clip above. There was a wedding going on while we were there so I took lots of photos to use in my writing where I tend to poke a bit of fun at such events sometimes.
After our Parking Information Stop, we pedalled on to Kasteel Doorwerth, a nice ride, following the trainline north and then west as we headed for the bicycle Pont (ferry). Two Euros later we were sailing the high waters of the Rhine towards the road to the castle. Our ferry driver informed us that this branch of the Rhine is known as the bike path, whereas further south the real Rhine, named The Waal, is the main Rhine. So are we confused?
We decided to suspend, temporarily, our tight arsed ways, and pay the admission and it was worth it. Occupied almost continuously from 1350; first as a refuge for local villagers, then later as a private home, and now a museum. Incredibly it remained almost intact until it was bombed by our allies in 1944. It was apparently full of Germans, in those days, a worthy target.
February 17, 2020 Arnhem Storm Dennis, the second on a Sunday. Becoming a weekly event. This one was fairly fierce but did not start until later in the day. We arrived in Haarlem on time after a short connecting ride on bus #300. My cousin (she’s actually my mother’s cousin) was waiting for us at the stop, in the rain! She lives with her husband in a very interesting neighbourhood of architecturally designed modern homes, full of light and style.
It’s a reclaimed area, 12 metres under sea level; not that you’d notice. She a lively one, full of energy and opinions! They relayed some really interesting travel experiences, including being stuck with altitude sickness in Tibet, and following the Silk Road through the back blocks of China and Asia. He built a lot of the inside of their house; it’s an interesting place. We enjoyed wine, a delicious savoury tart, a stunning lemon cheesecake dessert along with some great conversation.
She has a great doll house – apparently from her family – it is more than a hundred years old with upgrading over the years. I made a clip of it here…
Doll house https://youtu.be/4VW8IFaUojY
This is a miniature room in the doll’s house at Joilien’s place. She inherited it from her grandmother Oma Hauer, my great grandmother. She has spent years lovingly restoring it.
Supporters of Ajax joined us in the return train just south of Amsterdam. They had won their match, and some of them were loudly proclaiming that to a crowded train. Most of them got off in Utrecht. Our little red Citroen was still safely parked at the Park and Ride in Arnhem Zuid. We decided against the good advice of our guy-who-looks-like-Michael, which was to park where the residents of the neighbouring flats park. All in all, a nice outing.
Germany as a sidey
The girls at the cash register were speaking German. We had stopped at a petrol station for the loo and had to ask for a key. It was then we realised we had crossed the border. So coffee in Germany on a very rainy day. Our destination, Emmerich am Rhein was another 10 minutes down the road.
The GPS had strict instructions to stay OFF freeways, hence or long winding trip, where we basically wove around the freeway. But a pretty trip. The Lidl was noticeably cheaper in Germany. We later heard from Dutch young ones that when they have a party, they make a border run for snacks and alcohol. There you go.
To Germany https://youtu.be/IxGy5EDwN6I
February 20, 2020 Arnhem “There will be a wedding here later this week”, said the gardener sweeping the ancient cobbled pathway to the church. Another Michael clone. Blimey, the second person to be the spitting imagine of my brother-in-law, including voice and mannerisms. (Side note to Michael How big is your bloody family over here???) We had a really great day wandering around the Open Lucht Museum in Arnhem. Windmills, old villages, farmhouses, a church, and also a lovely indoor area where they do interactive presentations of the history of the Netherlands. It’s huge, and you really need several days to do it justice.
Open Air Museum https://youtu.be/Qrq4Hwg3DVA
Cycling down the street where I had lived for a couple of years did not really raise any memories, except perhaps memories of photos. Oom Piet gave me the street name and off we pedalled to find it. According to the lady in the fast food shop on the corner, who lived there back then, these flats were built in the mid 50’s which does fit.
Outside of Narda’s random photo of her breakfast we had an interesting stop on the way home from her childhood homestead search. Spotting a windmill on a street we were passing we side-tracked to it. Well worth the stop. It was not open to the pubic, but we went in anyway (because we are Australians and that is what Australians do). They said the stairs to the top were closed to the public but if I was careful, I could go up which I was and I did. When up there three dudes were preparing to start the windmill and lucky for me being there at that moment, I got to take this really groovy clip.
Windmill Arnhem https://youtu.be/yhoZvuPZDVI
Goodbye Arnhem Saying goodbye, going away Seems like goodbye’s such a hard thing to say Touching your hand, wondering why It’s time for saying goodbye. To be sung with the Muppet’s “Saying Goodbye” song
The glass in the bathroom gleams, the floor can be eaten upon, the car…is covered in snow!
Our next writing will be after we get back to Australia in the middle of April (it will appear here on 25 April 2020 – put it on your calendar now… of course we have to get back to Australia (via Singapore)
in the meantime
Daily writing https://neuage.org/2020/
Behance project for February 2020
Behance project for January 2020
Thoughts in Travel 2019 Kindle Edition $3 (USD) PRINT EDITION (01/01/2020) $27 USD
Daily picture poem collection updated 06 March/2020 #Rotterdam The Netherlands @Twitter ~ Tumblr ~ Pinterest ~ Flickr (2019) / Flickr (pre-2019)
Daily Thoughts for 2020 updated DAILY #Rotterdam The Netherlands (updated every day during 2020)
homepage @ https://neuage.org
Daily writing https://neuage.org/2019/
Books on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Terrell-Neuage/e/B017ZRK55U
2018 – 2019 Thoughts in Patterns
Leaving Book 1
(https://tinyurl.com/y29ygazd) published 05/July/2019 in eBook & Print Edition (664 pages) As with all Amazon books read the first ten % free.
Thoughts in Patterns 7
It has been a long time compared to the history of the world (or not) since we have been in Singapore. The last time we spent a few days here was in 2006. Narda looked fourteen years younger then – not sure about me, all the photos we have are with Narda in them.
For example: We have a photo of Narda standing in front of a subway stop in 2006. We have a photo of Narda standing in front of a subway stop in 2020. What is somewhat amazing is that I have only one photo from each year of Narda in front of a subway stop in Singapore. As synchronicity would have it, and what else is there in life? Both times Narda was in front of the ‘Harbour Front #6’ line.
Being older (every day) we thought we would break up our journey to The Netherlands which is where we are headed for the next three months by stopping in Singapore a couple of days. Eight-hour daytime flight from Adelaide and another 14 and half making the run north to Amsterdam a long time in our world. We have done these long flights dozens of times from Australia. We did the seventeen-hour flight Sydney to Houston several months ago but we have now decided for the sake of getting old, to break up trips.
The flight was OK, average, what one would expect, we got to Changi airport three pm, got the 3 Day tripper pass in terminal two, Daily: 8am – 9pm and headed out. The 3 Day tripper pass was 20 Singapore thingies ($22 USD) plus a ten $ for deposit which we got back at the end. It gives unlimited train (subway) and buses everywhere. A real bargain, especially as we like to take random bus rides.
We booked two nights into the pricey Orchard Hotel on Orchard Road. Our room smelt smokey as if the person before had been a smoker or just smelly. Narda was quick-as-a-flash back to check-in, and they changed our room, saying it was an upgrade. Not sure, as they looked quite the same but there was no smoky smell so that could have been the upgrade. Also, there was a good view of the streets and neighbourhood seven floors down and the yucky previous room faced another building much taller, giving no view.
We texted our mate, Ryan (Ryan Simo Simonet) that we were stopping in Singapore. We taught with Ryan in China, he and I were both tech people with me in the upper school and Ryan fielding the middle school. As Narda would later say, Ryan made Singapore come alive for us. As I mentioned above, we live in a world of synchronicity and as fate or whatever would have it, Ryan texted back that he was performing at the Hard Rock Café which just happened to be a block from our hotel on Orchard Road, or as know-it-all-google says: and that we really should pop over. The fact that it all started past our bedtime of nine pm didn’t matter when there are a few hours time difference anyway. It would be midnight in our world. It is always midnight in our world so it didn’t matter.
We had dinner with Ryan then stayed and watched his whole gig. He has his own band, Cronkite Satellite, https://www.cronkitesatellite.com/ which has been a one-man show for a long time. In my brush with fame, I helped make a film clip of one of his songs back in the day when I was teaching film at Dalian International School. On this night at the Hard Rock Café, Ryan played drums backing up a couple (Firefly Search Party – https://soundcloud.com/firefly-search-party) who were good. We got back to our hotel around midnight. I thought when we got old, we were going to take it easy.
So as not to repeat Narda’s notes I will glue her thoughts in here and continue with my raving after.
January 21 Singapore
Just about to leave our 3rd hotel. Here is breaking-the-trip-into-manageable-pieces taken to a ridiculous extreme. We stayed at the Soho Hotel in Adelaide because we had already picked up our Dutch guests/exchangers, then a second hotel (Atura) at the airport because we thought a 10.30am flight was very very early, and now 2 nights in The Orchard Hotel in Singapore to rest after an 8 hour flight. Blimey!
Singapore, the great dictatorship. I was always a little leery of this ‘sterile, perfect’ city. But no longer. We met a friend from Dalian days, Ryan. A lively, fun to be around guy, who worked with both of us back in the day in different ways. For me he had great ideas/skills in electronic music, and for Terrell another total computer nerd. Ryan has made Singapore come alive for us.
He invited us to his gig, playing drums with a great pair of musos at the Hard Rock café, right around the corner from our hotel. Starting at 9pm, we reluctantly promised to show up for a bit, and finished up staying for the whole thing. Great music, and fun. Maybe we’re not as old as we thought.
I told a guy with whom we shared a table in Little India (a cool area in Singapore) that we love India and where in India was he from? Turns out he is born in Singapore, has family in Sri Lanka. I felt a little foolish. These residents of Singapore are not Indians, they just look like them.
A ship on top of three skyscrapers! Only in Singapore, where one guy is in charge and lots of people have money. It’s expensive; I paid $18 S (about 13 USD for beer; Stu I did not smuggle any beer in my handbag!………for those wondering ‘what the’… I might have tried that once, but I don’t remember it that well). Well in defense of the Hard Rock Café, they did provide live music…pretty good actually.
We took a bus (Bus #106 from Orchard Road) and finished up here. On local advice, we managed to get right into the hotel which occupied this strange building and got a decent look without spending a cent!
The 7 Eleven Bar; you just buy your beer from their fridge at their price and enjoy it here! Very civilized.
Of course, Singapore has the largest indoor water fall in the world. This was at Changi Airport, terminal 3 at the Jewel Shopping, where we also had a pretty nice meal.
Clip is at https://youtu.be/lo2zMm3iSaA
We rarely ever sleep on flights, but because we had a middle seat free, and a little pill, we slept about 6 hours. I woke to find myself 40,000 feet from Brendan. The Golden Temple in Amritsar (India) was lit up and very visible. But by the time I had located my camera (sometimes known as a phone), we were flying across the border right over Lahore. How cool is that! (See the brightly lit, heavily patrolled border.)
Back to me.
In Australia we get two cups of coffee for the price of one at McDonalds. The only reason we go there outside of when the grandchildren are with us and we are unfortunate enough to come across one and they plead starvation and we empty our savings account getting them happy for their meals. In Victoria they give seniors free coffee, period. Which we make use of when we are dragging our caravan about. Anyway, to shorten the story, Narda asked for two seniors coffee, which drew a blank, so she added that the second senior’s coffee is free; ‘it is in Australia’. They didn’t come to the party. Incidentally, Narda tried this on at several McDonalds in the USA last May to July. I suppose if one can afford to galivant around the planet they can afford two coffees. It’s the principle of it all. Nevertheless, we left, graciously, and went to Little India; Coffee at Komala Vilas on 12-14 Buffalo road, where a good cuppa is about one Singapore dollar, instead of the 4 others charge. They have a good webpage over @ http://komalavilas.com.sg And of course the fact they opened their doors in 1947 – the year of my birth makes it even more groovy. BTW – they have hijacked groovy, our word for beyond good in the 1960s to make a computer programming language. Apache Groovy is a Java-syntax-compatible object-oriented programming language for the Java platform. It is both a static and dynamic language with features similar to those of Python, Ruby, and Smalltalk.
Speaking of gracious endowment… Narda was tired from our walking about and wanted to sit down without buying anything at some trendy looking outside excuse for a pub, so she did. A lady gave her a menu and Narda set it down saying she wasn’t going to order anything, that she just wanted a rest. The waitress said it was for customers only so Narda gave her the menu instructing her that she could give the menu to a customer. The waitress was a bit rude. Narda said that she just needed a five-minute rest. The woman walked off looking at her watch as she stomped toward some ‘real customers’.
Singapore has been a futuristic city for a long time. But are the people happy? Apparently not, from our sources. There is a good current article online at; Is Singapore’s ‘perfect’ economy coming apart? Once hailed as a model of progress, poverty and nativist resentment are on the rise. https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Cover-Story/Is-Singapore-s-perfect-economy-coming-apart We were told that the people need to work so much and so hard to have anything that there is a general sense of depression. Apartments are expensive; having a car starts with a ten-thousand-dollar license fee. But from our eyes looking around, Singapore is so clean and safe. Perhaps for our age it is good to visit, there are cameras with facial recognition everywhere, we feel safe. It is quite the change from being in Pakistan and Sri Lanka a couple of months ago. There is no trash on the ground, chewing gum is legal since 2004, though the selling of it and importing it is illegal. No graffiti, though I personally like graffiti. It is all so new. Or the parts we saw. Everyone stays in line;
From our hotel on Orchard Road we took the #106 bus as a random bus ride. It was double decker with no one in the front row up on top. Unfortunately, it was raining so we didn’t get many photos. The bus drove right to the door of the Marina Bay Hotel with the shape of a boat going across three buildings. We spent the rest of the day there.
Of course, we went to the 57th floor to view the world’s largest rooftop infinity pool. There is a bar/restaurant there and we walked out onto it, informing people, after getting in the midst of the place and me taking photos, that we were not eating or drinking, just having a sticky-beak. They politely suggested we could be on our way in whatever body-language people use to suggest such concepts.
Looking over the edge of infinity pool. At over $650 USD per night we didn’t get a room for a few nights here. Perhaps next time we will stay here and do our aqua Zumba classes in the midst of their bloody ridiculous infinity pool, which we do back in Adelaide for an hour three mornings every week, to 1950s sound tracks with disco drum beats in the background.
Children’s play area at Marina Bay Shopping Centre Singapore
There is a lot to see in this area. Museum of the future – which we didn’t want to pay $28 to see, looked interesting. There was a ‘frozen’ display where children were yelling and running to – we gave that a miss. There are many high-end shops as one would see in any expensive area but looking at the waterfront and the architecture is worth the journey. Apparently, someone spent $8 billion (I believe that is USD) on Marina Bay Sands which makes it the most expensive stand-alone integrated resort property ever built. Further useless information is that it is owned by the Las Vegas Sands corporation. Hey, Singapore, eat your heart out; our hometown, Adelaide, South Australia has this heading… ‘The recent announcement that the New Royal Adelaide Hospital has been named the world’s third most expensive building…’ and of course Adelaide has the second most expensive building in Australia (the Myer Centre). We just can not be out done.
[The top 10 most expensive buildings in the world: One World Trade Centre, New York City – $3.9 billion (2014) Palace of the Parliament, Bucharest – $3 billion (1988) Royal Adelaide Hospital, Adelaide – $2.1 billion (2016) The Palazzo, Las Vegas – $1.9 billion (2007). As of Mar 25, 2015] Though as resorts go Singapore has us beat – but just wait, I am sure Adelaide will come up with something.
In our effort to downsize economically, we found a nice, though basic, hotel in Little India that we will stay in for a couple of days at the end of our journey this time around (The Netherlands for three-months). So, we will get to see Ryan and his wife and the wonders we missed of Singapore again in mid-April.
or as the 2006 Narda would say, ‘happy New Years’
Our next writing will be from the Netherlands where we are 20th January to mid-April.
in the meantime
Daily writing https://neuage.org/2020/
homepage @ https://neuage.org
Daily writing https://neuage.org/2019/
Books on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Terrell-Neuage/e/B017ZRK55U
2018 – 2019 Thoughts in Patterns
Leaving Book 1
(https://tinyurl.com/y29ygazd) published 05/July/2019 in eBook & Print Edition (664 pages) As with all Amazon books read the first ten % free.
Thoughts in Patterns 7