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Holland2022

Some of this Terrell wrote – some Narda wrote – some are photos of Narda’s notebook-scrapbook. Sometimes we say the same thing only differently. Cheers! Oh! There are several slideshows – they have arrows on the image so be sure to see what is next.

After three weeks in Pakistan and three weeks in Washington DC we got ourselves to the Netherlands. The first step was testing negative to covid before leaving the States. It took me fifteen days to test negative – Narda seven. I had virtually no symptoms. We changed our flights daily for the last week. When finally, I tested negative we almost got stuck in DC because of a winter storm – our plane got de-iced then to Newark to change to our international flight only to be stuck for another few hours until that plane was de-iced too. See our short clip @ https://youtu.be/49Sl-ApmKAk

Arriving in Amsterdam seven hours later than scheduled with little sleep for 36 hours we were hoping to sit down at a lovely Schiphol Airport café. Amsterdam was in a sort of lock-down due to covid and there was no café/restaurant offering table and chair. We found a takeaway shop, grabbed coffee and sandwich, and found a bench to perch on. Exhausted we manoeuvred onto a train heading toward our destination. I think we probably did not quite get it right and got off in Rotterdam with the hopes of finding a train to our destination, Nieuwerkerk aan den Ijssel. Basically, the town of Nieuwerkerk alongside the Hollandse Ijssel River, being a branch of the Rhine. By the time we got to Rotterdam I could barely stand up, being so tired. Needing to go to the loo I found one on the other side of the turnstile to leave the station. Having left Narda behind on a bench I worried that if I went out, I would not get back in. Seeing a station type of person, I asked if I could go out and come back to use the loo. Realizing that in Holland as with most EU countries one needs to pay to use the loo and I had no euros or any money for that matter I asked a non-English speaking person if I could go in and use the toilet. Someone managed to translate enough for me to lessen my distress.

Back in the station, Narda had figured out what train to take to get to our Nieuwerkerk aan den Ijssel station, from which we would have to walk twenty-minutes to our home sit. Barely being able to stand from exhaustion we grabbed a taxi to our doorstep. Adding twenty bucks to a $17,000+ four-month trip seemed reasonable. We are staying at Fred and Chantelle’s house. [back then at the beginning of Covid-19 there were no masks available in shops, we waited a bit too late so we wore these]…

We did a house exchange with them two-years ago. [there is a short blog over @ https://neuage.me/2020/04/10/rotterdam2020/ for this previous stay] February to March 2020. Half-way through March we took the last flight through Singapore to Adelaide due to covid. We had planned to stay for six-weeks but only got in four weeks. We had to isolate in Adelaide for two weeks, we were given a riverside home from a family member for our quarantine which worked out for Chantelle and Fred to stay at our home for another two weeks. Sometime during 2021 Fred and Chantelle wrote that they were going to Cape Verde off the west coast of Africa for a month and would we be interested in looking after their chickens (six) and two rabbits. Of course, we said yes, with two years of lock-down in Australia we were on our way. It worked out to fit in with Brendan’s marriage (our previous blog) in Pakistan (December) and a visit to see Narda’s new grandson in DC. So here we are. Their car was waiting for us in the driveway.  

Then yesterday, Fred said they wanted to stay longer in Cape Verde, two more weeks and yes, we will. Instead of going back to Adelaide in mid-March we will go back April 4th. We left Adelaide 4th of December. Four months of our covid-world-tour.

Now, there is a war in Europe (March first – writing this) with no way to know what happens next. Will our travel end early, or will we leave later – much later? Same house, same situation of not knowing what will happen next – even the same time March 2020. Today, March 01 – with five weeks to go Narda asked whether we should consider going home now. Today there were reports that Russian may have hit a nuclear reactor in Ukraine which could spread to where we are living.

We introduced ourselves to the chickens (chooks in Australia)

January 17th

Getting settled takes a few days wherever we go. Though we have been here before getting sorted takes time. After a nap – falling into a coma – for a couple of hours, we unpacked and rode bikes that were left for us to Jumbo – our favourite supermarket. Back to bed, slept more than twelve hours.

Narda’s writing is in italics – however she did not type her stuff rather she has a book she writes and adds photos into. Instead of copying all her notes out (I do some) I snapped shots of her book – being a bit on the lazy side + her book looks better than my digital tossups.

Here is a sampler – first few pages –  she will eventually add a lot to the sides as she has in other scrapbooks.

These are the shops we went to often. Jumbo was our favourite – a supermarket with all those wonderful Dutch treats. Holland & Barrett was my favourite overpriced health food shop. Kruidvat was like a general shop with shampoos and the like and where I got my low-carbs treats. Hema – always a favourite. They have a cafeteria where we would often get apple pie with a massive dose of whipped cream on top. It was a general store too. We bought our bike helmets there and I got a hemp mask for hair treatment – not that I would tell anyone that. Zeeman was like a dollar store – cheap stuff. (But I bought my now favourite trackie daks from there)
The chook in the photo above is Ruthie – a chicken with a lot of personality and quite friendly though she bit Narda so those two didn’t see eye to eye. We named her after Ruth in the Netflix series, Ozark. Narda says that the words beneath the bike basket says, ‘go and have a lovely bike ride’.
Narda’s notes on our first days there. To continue the next page; …who also had family there, he was very worried about them and upset with Biden’s rapid withdrawal of troops. That night we slept more than 11 hours. Pretty nice effort. It was dark and very quiet, Beds comfy. It did not get light until 8.30 am.
18th January
Video call with Fred (from Capo Verde), Wesley from next door helped us get Netflix going and we drove to Jumbo for food. All good.
January 23
It took us the first week to nest. By the 23rd we managed to ride bikes to Strand Nesselande to look at ‘Anytime Fitness’ gym. Narda had found a voucher on actievandedag, a great coupon site. We got a voucher for the gym for 9 euros for one month. The deal was even better than that. At the gym, Anytime Fitness in Winkelcentrum Nesselande, there is free coffee so after each session we each have a coffee. That is worth a couple of euros itself. We go three times a week which is at least twelve coffees for the month so the coffee + gym = less than a euro per time. We used it for the month of February and were so delighted with the deal we bought another one for this month, March. So, we are keeping fit plus getting coffee. For mid-January to mid-February, we mostly rode our bikes the twenty-minute distance. The last two weeks of February it was so windy, some days 40 – 50-kilometre winds, and rainy, that we drove instead. I am sure it was an oversight on our part, but we didn’t register the first two weeks we started, and our date began February 28th, meaning we now have our membership to the end of March – when we leave. Hopefully. Aside of the gym we did little else the first couple of weeks here but to ride bikes and watch the chooks in the backyard & rabbits in the lounge (all two of them). I am learning stuff about chickens I never knew. They all have quite distinct personalities – they are a tad bit smarter than I thought at first. They like to follow us around and often stand at the window wanting to come inside. 
Some photos around our home of our daily bike rides: this is behind our house  
The next page follows our bike ride to the gym on a fine sunny (cold) day in Nieuwerkerk aan den Ijssel, a small town founded in the 12th century. The ‘city’ currently has 2,700 inhabitants. Nieuwerkerk aan den Ijssel was split from the parish of Ouwerkerk, across the Ijssel River. This church, a Protestant church dedicated to St John was bombed by the Germans in 1945 and rebuilt in 1975. The church and tower were separated after the nave burnt down in 1586.
It is the lowest town in the Netherlands. At a point next to the A20 highway it is 6.67 metres below sea level! About 22 feet.
During the flood of 1953, 288 of its 1800 inhabitants drowned. We were also told by a volunteer at the local windmill, Windlust, that a ship which was sailing on the Ijssel at the time managed to ram itself into a hole in the dyke, thereby saving many more people’s lives in the south of the Netherlands.
The video clip of our visit to the windmill has this story in it…https://youtu.be/pC30Vuq_d88

one of several bridges we cross to go to town

the gym is in the tall building at the end of our path

We do a lot of bike riding. Here is a short clip of one such ride, https://youtu.be/rUNATeRe794

I bought this seat cover at Hema and now it is on my e-bike in Adelaide. “I also like to be dry”

24 January Started gym. We found monthly passes ($9 Euro) on actievandedag. We checked it out and decided to go three times a week. Terrell does the equipment and I listen to podcasts on the bike or tread walker. We then have a free coffee from the machine and head home, usually on our bikes. Side note: we used the same site to do it again in March, so we had full gym membership for two-months producing the chiselled bodies all ‘other’ old people crave. (haha).

27th January Drove to Capelle (Capelle aan den Ijssel), went to a thrift shop, Rataplan – https://rataplan.nl/ bought an outdoor broom – lamp – tins etc. The car won’t start, and we had no idea how to get help so we called Fred, in Cape Verde to tell him of our dire situation. He said that we needed to lock and unlock the car again. We had left it too long on unlocked. In our defense, every car is so different. Once, recently, like a month ago, when we were in DC, we had to ring Chris and say we could not turn off the motor. Of course, he has an electric start/stop button that does not need a key. Why not make cars simple like our twenty-year old Pajero in Australia? Put the key in, it starts, take it out, it stops. No alarms – like in Fred’s car that goes off at random times and causes people to look at us. Two old people in a car with ‘urban art’ on the side. I complained to my son, Sacha, that people looked at as if we were a couple of old stoners. I won’t pass on what he said. Bike to Jumbo when we got home.

Later in the week…found a nearby shopping centre, Binnenhof where we went to the grocery store, Lidl, a store we shopped at a lot in earlier stays. It is much like Aldi cheaper than the larger Jumbo type of grocery stores. This is the only Lidl we found in our ten-weeks in Holland this time. You know when your blog is getting boring when all there is to talk about is a discount grocery shop. Boring is good for us. Feeding chooks, rabbits, bike riding, going to the gym, watching TV in the evening. BTW here is our list of what we watched while here (these are my opinions – Narda seems to favour some differently than me):

Movies – DocumentariesSeries
Rocket man’ a 2019 biographical musical drama film based on the life and music of British musician Elton John. [loved it]
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society’ In 1946, a London-based writer begins exchanging letters with residents on the island of Guernsey, which was German-occupied during WWII. Feeling compelled to visit the island, she starts to get a picture of what it was like during the occupation. [loved it]
Six minutes to Midnight’ 28/03 British intelligence agent Thomas Miller must stop the repatriation of a few students to Germany after he is framed for murder and embroiled in an espionage scheme. [forgot it already]
The Trader A man sells second-hand clothing and household items out of his minibus in rural Georgia in exchange for potatoes, the only currency available in the region. [short about half an hour – interesting]
The Show Must Go On: The Queen + Adam Lambert Story (doco) [loved it]
Enrico Piaggio ‘Vespa’ Italian – Netflix [an engrossing biopic about the noted Italian entrepreneur and scooter pioneer] [loved it]
Against the Ice’ [Exploring Greenland’s vast landscape for a lost map, two men must fight to survive. Based on the true story of Denmark’s 1909 polar expedition.] [Narda liked it more than me]
The Yukon Assignment (doco) [A British father and son undertake a 500-mile canoe journey through the Canadian wilderness.] [Narda liked it more than me]
Diecisiete (Seventeen) [To find his therapy dog, a 17-year-old escapes from juvie and embarks on a journey with his brother and grandmother through Cantabria.] [loved it]
Three songs for Benazir (doco Afghan) [The story of Shaista, a young man who — newly married to Benazir and living in a camp for displaced persons in Kabul — struggles to balance his dreams of joining the Afghan National Army with the responsibilities of starting a family.] [interesting]
Steve Martin/Martin Short – special [OK for a no-brainer to relax with]
Lead me home (doco about homelessness in USA) [sad]
The Lost Daughter’ [A college professor confronts her unsettling past after meeting a woman and her young daughter while on vacation in Italy. Her obsession with the woman and her daughter prompts memories of her early motherhood.]
Two Popes[OK, Narda liked it]]
The Power of the Dog’ [A domineering rancher responds with mocking cruelty when his brother brings home a new wife and her son, until the unexpected comes to pass.] [quite good]
Enola Holmes [While searching for her missing mother, intrepid teen Enola Holmes uses her sleuthing skills to outsmart big brother Sherlock and help a runaway lord.] [OK]
Don’t look up [Two low-level astronomers must go on a giant media tour to warn mankind of an approaching comet that will destroy planet Earth.] [liked it]
Respect – Aretha Franklin [liked it]
Borderliner – Norwegian – Season 1 –  Steven King mentioned on Twitter that he liked this so of course we do too. [we sort of liked it]
Reinventing Anna – Season 1 – [A journalist investigates the case of Anna Delvey, the Instagram-legendary heiress who stole the hearts and money of New York elites] [OK for a no-brainer to relax with]
Pieces of Her – Season 1 [A woman pieces together her mother’s dark past after a violent attack in their small town brings hidden threats and deadly secrets to light. Toni Collette] [good]
Station 11 Season 1(ep. 6)– didn’t finish [Survivors of a devastating flu attempt to rebuild and reimagine the world anew while holding on to the best of what’s been lost.] [should have given this a miss]
Alta Mar 3 Seasons [Mysterious deaths on a luxurious ship travelling from Spain to Rio de Janeiro in the 1940s uncover secrets surrounding two sisters who are travelling together.] [could have given this a miss, a bit lame]
season 4 part one Ozark [always good]
Dark Tourist[series-fascinating]
Succession Season three [loved it]
Emily in Paris Season two [OK for a no-brainer to relax with]
Family Business [comedy series, a Paris family decides to turn its declining kosher butcher shop into the first French marijuana coffee shop.] [loved it]
‘Manifest’ three seasons – January [about an airplane – people returned after five years] [could have given this a miss, a bit lame]
 

Narda reads more books than me as I am often busy making video clips, primping, staring at the future… the books I read so far here are: ‘A Freewheelin’ Time’, by Suze Rotolo – Bob Dylan’s girlfriend in the 1960s. She is the girl with him on the cover of his Freewheelin’ Album. The book is about Greenwich Village in the 1960s. As one who lived there at that time in an earlier, hipper than I am now time, I really liked the book. I started reading Henry Miller’s ‘Tropic of Cancer’ but quit after a few days – I thought it was just a stupid book. Then I read ‘The End of the Affair’ by Graham Greene, liked that and now I am reading ‘The Power and the Glory’ by Graham Greene. This follows reading other classics I read at the end of 2021 by John Steinbeck (‘East of Eden’ & ‘Travels with Charlie’) which I enjoyed, being one who lived in California and a lot of the other places in the books.

We found some online vouchers for coffee and strawberry waffles at an ice cream store in our local old town, “Ijstartje” [Genieten bij Het ijstaartje Kerklaan 65 A, 2912CJ Nieuwerkerk aan den IJssel] https://www.hetijstaartje.com/. We rode our bikes there and loved the food. The waffles were the very best. We took some photos of us enjoying the snack, then added our compliments and pics on their Facebook page, tagging them. A few days later we bought some chicken feed at a special shop, in another area of Nieuwerkerk. The lady behind the counter said she knew us….did we enjoy the waffles?? Ha!! It happened a couple of times, also in the shopping centre. Instant celebrities. 

This was a nice day out taking us several hours to get there and about two to get home as we found wandering country roads to there. A quaint fishing village we ate at Visrestaurant De Meerplaats. [https://www.meerplaats.nl] The place is filled of antiques from past fishing days. We ordered the ‘seafood platter with 6 types of fish’ expensive but a good variety. The dock is worth the wander with the fleet coming in early in the day.

We stopped at a pancake place on the way home. As we so often discovered,  many places wouldn’t take our US credit card (Visa). They want some Dutch card linked with a Dutch bank. Not having much cash on us at the time we put everything out on the table and managed to get one pancake and a coffee between us.

Rotterdam Airport

February 11 Mau’s visit. Great to see her again (Narda has known Mau for several decades having done music study with her in Hungary in the 1980s. She lives in Hamburg and we have visited often). We have many enjoyable talks, she has an interesting perspective on things and on my life. I picked her up at the Nieuwerkerk train station. I parked the car and went to sit next the track. Watching folks getting off I did no see her. Then I phoned and heard her answer. She had walked straight past me. With all the winter gear as well as masks we did not recognize each other! That evening we went for a walk, and in true fashion – got lost. Which caused a bit of merriment.

Molen Windlust Nieuwerkerk aan den Ijssel.  A bit of history of our local windmill. Still grinding flour hundreds of years later. In our exciting village it is listed as #1 of 3 things to do in Nieuwerkerk aan den Ijssel on Trip Adviser, #2 is playing golf and #3 is a specialty & gift shop. Of course, for us #1 is riding bikes, #2 talking to designer chickens, #3 checking on the rabbits in their cage in the lounge to see if they are still alive #4 which is often #1 shopping at Jumbo our favourite supermarket #5 & # 6 some other stuff. We often rugged up (an Aussie term for jumpers, multiple layers of other clothing topped by a wintry coat and often I wore ski pants) and rode either on the dyke toward Rotterdam or ride along the Hitland Park which is a nature reserve filled with canals, forest, swamps and meadows. We could go for hours and even as far as Gouda which we did one day when Narda’s friend Mau visited from Hamburg, more below. We would check the weather forecast in the morning to see how windy and or rainy it would be. Our maximum to ride in was 18-20 kilometres wind. We would ride until we could not peddle one more turn then go back with the wind pushing us home. On gym days we would ride bikes for the 20-minutes to there if it were not too windy.
https://youtu.be/bn3hZURj_Cc  Gouda Bike, Mau, ferry, Our bike ride to Gouda – cheese and stuff
https://youtu.be/1ZVm7Rl8OkE  Escher in Het Paleis Escher in Het Paleis is a museum in The Hague, Netherlands, featuring the works of the Dutch graphical artist M. C. Escher. It is housed in the Lange Voorhout Palace since November 2002.
https://youtu.be/O0FnR11cGMI  a day in the Hague home to the U.N.’s International Court of Justice, headquartered in the Peace Palace, and the International Criminal Court. observing protests for vaccinations – masks – covid restrictions.

13th February – Another day out, this time train both ways. The Escher Museum was a highlight, and we watched a protest march (antivaxxers protesting that they lost their freedom) I walked alongside a woman who was shouting “freedom” I told  her we want freedom from the pandemic. The woman behind pushed me away…..quite hard, I nearly fell. 😊.

15th February Capella – another long bike ride through forests in Hitland. We found a lovely cafe- Schollebos Pannenkoek https://www.schollebos.nl/ for lunch then to the the thrift store where I bought some nice ‘different’ jeans. Wesley and Chantal  from next door had kindly lent us an extra bike for Mau to ride.( I had regular beers with Wesley! It’s quite the social area. As soon as the sun shines, they are all out, talking and drinking beer.Good practice for my Dutch!) Our ride home was a challenge – the storm beginning – riding in the rain and wind. Mau left next morning back to Hamburg by train. Pannenkoek- Petit Restaurant Schollebos biedt haar talrijke bezoekers een heerlijke keuze aan van meer dan 40 verschillende smaken pannenkoeken! Binnen de regio zijn wij al jarenlang bekend als een zeer gastvrij Pannenkoekenhuis!

22nd February Today we are reading that Russia has invaded the Ukraine. American embassy in Kiev has been moved to Poland.

February 24 – A down day (meaning not going out and doing stuff – not down psychologically – just staying home) Russia in the Ukraine unfolding. (on our TV we found the English-speaking channels after a few weeks; CNN, EuroNews, BBC, Al Jazeera – for the next two months the only thing on those stations was about the war – 24/7) Sunny day, weather seems to be getting better. We rode to the gym, got a few groceries on the way home. A fairly typical day. 

https://youtu.be/veabV7mLLck  Hook of Holland at the mouth of the New Waterway shipping canal into the North Sea. Stena Line ferry crossing between The Netherlands and Hull, England.
 I like this photo taken from our car window. It was raining very hard – a ferry that would be going somewhere across the channel if it was on its way.

26 February It was nice to catch up with Narda’s cousins on Saturday. They drove out to our place, which I guess was about an hours drive from Utrecht. After the breakfast we went for a walk in the neighbourhood. There are some lovely walks here and we made it, without actually doing it on purpose, to the old town. Hans was the one who studiously kept us up to date on all the changing border regulations.

March 1 – Tuesday. Drive to Kinderdijk. We followed the small roads, often becoming very small with water on both sides and me getting nervous about oncoming traffic. On the way back we dropped into a kringloopwinkel, bought some “Delft” bowls (and other things we didn’t need).

https://youtu.be/JqlCOvxGb0I  Windmills of Kinderdijk Netherlands “The windmills at Kinderdijk are a group of 19 monumental windmills in the Alblasserwaard polder, in the province of South Holland, Most of the mills are part of the village of Kinderdijk in the municipality of Molenlanden, and one mill, De Blokker, is part of the municipality of Alblasserdam.Wikipedia

We went to find Jeff Bezos’ yacht in lblasserdam (Rotterdam vicinity). We got through the gate (‘WARNING NO TRESPASSING”) And got quickly escorted out of the yard. The De Hef bridge in Rotterdam will be dismantled for a day this summer, so that Jeff Bezos’ boat can be sailed to sea. Otherwise, the ship cannot pass the National Monument. Read about it here, A Bridge Too Far? Thousands of Rotterdammers Are Lining Up to Pelt Jeff Bezos’s Gigayacht With Rotten Eggs.

My photos of Bezo’s bit of a boat in the slideshow above – could not get any closer. I actually thought I could sneak onto the boat. Reminds me of one time in Dalian, China, I heard there was an aircraft carrier being built, and no one had posted photos of it so we went onto the dock and got escorted quite quickly out of there. I had said I had just wanted to take a few photos for my blog, 300 mm zoom on my camera ready for it. This was in 2010.

Sunday 27th a sunny day but freezing, literally. We cycled along the Ijssel dijk towards Rotterdam. Our theory was to ride into the wind and then sail home with it on our backs. It seems the wind changed direction on us! Still, we had nice morning tea at Brasserie L’Oeuf (https://www.loeuf.nl/), a tennis club with a great coffee shop. We crossed the Algerabrug (Capelle Aan Den Ijssel) at the beginning of Rotterdam. We had planned to continue on to Kinderdijk but were exhausted.

March 02 After the gym we drove to Delft Ikea to get some new rollers which broke on one of the curtains. The Ikea folk were very good and search awhile finding the parts we needed – no charge – all fixed. We then parked in the municipal car park in Delft and walked around the lovely old city.

https://youtu.be/QFAYaMHj-9I  Delft, a canal-ringed city in the western Netherlands, is known as the manufacturing base for Delftware, hand-painted blue-and-white pottery.

March 5 Took a drive to ‘s-Hertogenbosch, locally known as Den Bosch, for obvious reasons! We loved the huge cathedral, St Josephs. One of the best I have ever seen.

https://youtu.be/LiJwnPWh3yc ‘s Hertogenbosch When we go to these cities here it is difficult to imagine a week ago in the Ukraine cities were like this. Featuring The Catholic Cathedral Church of St. John (Sint-Janskathedraal) from Wikipedia, The city’s official name is a contraction of the (archaic) Dutch des Hertogen bosch [dɛs ˈɦɛrtoːɣə(m) ˈbɔs] — “the forest of the duke”. The duke in question was Henry I of Brabant, whose family had owned a large estate at nearby Orthen for at least four centuries. He founded a new town located on some forested dunes in the middle of a marsh. At age 26, he granted ‘s-Hertogenbosch city rights and the corresponding trade privileges in 1185. This is, however, the traditional date given by later chroniclers; the first mention in contemporaneous sources is 1196. The original charter has been lost. His reason for founding the city was to protect his own interests against encroachment from Gelre and Holland; from its first days, he conceived of the city as a fortress. It was destroyed in 1203 in a joint expedition of Gelre and Holland, but was soon rebuilt. Some remnants of the original city walls remain. In the late 14th century, a much larger wall was erected to protect the greatly expanded settled area. Artificial waterways were dug to serve as a city moat, through which the rivers Dommel and Aa were diverted. ‘s-Hertogenbosch became the birthplace and home of one of the greatest painters of the northern Renaissance period, Hieronymus Bosch, The town suffered a catastrophic fire in 1463, which the then (approximately) 13-year-old Bosch probably witnessed; presumably, this fire provided inspiration for the fiery hell-scapes that would later make Bosch famous. Until 1520, the city flourished, becoming the second largest population centre in the territory of the present Netherlands, after Utrecht. The city was also a centre of music, and composers, such as Jheronimus Clibano, received their training at its churches. Others held positions there: Matthaeus Pipelare was musical director at the Confraternity of Our Lady; and renowned Habsburg copyist and composer Pierre Alamire did much of his work at ‘s-Hertogenbosch.
https://youtu.be/A474zgsXONs The Hague/Scheveningen Beach

We took the train-tram to Den Hague to visit the International Court of Justice – which was closed. However, there was a ringing of bells for International Women’s Day and that can be heard in our video clip for here. After a bit of a wander around the court we hopped a tram to Scheveningen Beach. Being still winter, most things were closed. We tried to get into the local casino – to use the toilet, but they were hoping we were there to gamble our life away. Narda did not have any photo ID on her, so we were banned. The boardwalk along the beach was great. We walked out on a pier. We are now watching a TV Series (SBS on Demand), “Penoza” – in Dutch with English subtitles (up there with Breaking Bad) that is using this very same pier in Season 3 – 5. You can see the pier in our clip of this place, above.

Some snapshots (do they still say that?) of the International Court of Justice, World Court, in The Hague, The Netherlands – slideshow below. BTW, the first image is not the court building, it is the 5* Grand Hotel Amrâth Kurhaus https://www.amrathkurhaus.com/, but you knew that didn’t you? The following photo is the court.

We were in The Hague in 2008 with Brendan. Here is a photo of then and now –

Euromast Rotterdam https://youtu.be/PoW3F2RP_7M

March 10 took the freeway there, quite difficult as they go very fast and the A20 becomes the A15 then the A13 all at high speed. Our drive back was quicker using more local roads. And much more relaxing. The Euromast was worth it. Speccie views. Rotterdam is a very big city, huge rivers, bridges etc. we had a Turkish pizza (rolled up) for lunch very tasty. Also met a German couple who had the day there from a cruise on the Aida ship which we saw from the Euromast. This was a seven-day cruise for 700 Euros as an intro offer. You can track this ship @ https://www.cruisemapper.com/?imo=9781877 – built in 2021 – 6600 passengers.

Below slideshow – mostly images from atop Euromast – others from the same day in Rotterdam.

We have often gone to Narda’s hometown of Utrecht.

This time we had four days there in a nice little apartment near the Dom –

These were the streetlights  giving us a quiet area.

This area reminds me of living in Greenwich Village in the 1960s – early 1970s with a lot of funky shops and people’s windows with various objects making it an interesting area to stroll through. Bit of a slideshow below – take your time – not automated…difficult to choose only a handful of images when we have hundreds but these will paint the picture so to speak.

And of course, all those canals…(animated gif below change every three-seconds)

My brother, Robert Adsit, had an apartment on E 9th Street with a shop window – he didn’t sell anything, it was a once-upon-a-time shop, but it was always interesting. For example, one time he had a lot of umbrellas in the window which he had collected from the streets, another time broken dolls. He was an artist and sometimes he would put his paintings in the window. There is a book written on him – [Marta Waterman…wrote the book with Robert’s best friend, handwriting expert, author and lecturer Marc Seifer, PhD (www.marcseifer.com), and with Robert’s brother, Terrell Neuage, PhD in communications and new media (www.neuage.org).] Worth the read. And of course, I have a page on him – https://neuage.org/robert_adsit.htm but this is all a side ramble. Utrecht just so impressed me, it so took me back to the 1960s in NYC I had to go off track.

Narda’s cousin, Hans Biemond, visited and took us on a day’s walking tour through Utrecht. What a great personal guide to this wonderful place. He brought us wonderful chocolates with an image of the Dom centred from the Theo Blom Bakery. https://banketbakkerijtheoblom.nl/  (Since 1882, our building on the Zadelstraat has housed a confectionery. First under the name Patisserie La Haye, until Theo Blom took over the shop in 1922 and started manufacturing the famous Domtorentjes.)

On our walk we went past this wolf statue, “Symbol of Justice”. [The wolf is not always a feared and hated creature. In the medieval village of Utrecht, Netherlands the symbol of justice is the wolf.
The courtyard of the criminal justice centre displays a magnificent statue of a blindfolded white wolf. Why the blindfold? Because as the saying goes “justice is blind”. This is done in order to indicate that justice is (or should be) meted out objectively, without fear or favour, regardless of identity, money, power, or weakness.”]

Along the way there are plaques on the paths indicating someone was taken from the house by Nazis in WW 2.

The flat that we had was very good – full of vegetarian ~ health food stuff, just like being at home (wherever we are).

We tend not to go out for meals; I am too fussy with my low-carb, vegetarian diet, but we did go to dinner at the underground restaurant t Oude Pothuyshttps://www.pothuys.nl/ underground restaurant Oudegracht 279, 3511 PA Utrecht – Lovely fondue cheese dipping.

t Oude Pothuys is set in an underground cave like atmosphere by the Old Canal (Oude Gracht). One of the few pubs that feature live music.   We stuffed ourselves with a cheese fondue (the first thing we did when back in Adelaide was to order a fondue set. We had one when we lived in Brooklyn about 2006 but have no idea where it ended up; maybe China, maybe in our shed – don’t remember). It was so good. The Dutch & cheese – wow! We had a dessert too, though I do not recall what it was – I just remember the cheese fondue. We left before the band started but we have heard that a lot of lively groups play there.

We looked at some old churches

and did lots of walking. Utrecht is so much easier to hang out in than Amsterdam. The Dom is being worked on for the next few years so we will come back for its re-opening in a few years. It was built between 1321 and 1382 so a few more years should keep it going.

We came back for a day visit to Utrecht a few weeks later – walking and walking, with Narda’s cousin, Hans and family. Hans is doing up an old van that he calls ‘Blue Note’ to travel around the UK and Europe.

We went to this historic Rietveld Schröder House in Utrecht built in 1924 by Dutch architect Gerrit Rietveld for Mrs. Truus Schröder-Schräder and her three children. She commissioned the house to be designed preferably without walls. It is a UNESCO World Heritage. Not being a particular house person, I looked up why folks were so ga ga about this place;

Why is the Schroder House important? “The house is globally recognized as the most influential domestic building of the early modern period due to its radical approach to design and the use of space. Its lasting influence can still be felt in architecture to this day.” (the internet). Excuse the image – my camera was going nuts and had some strange filter that I do not have the knowledge or time or care factor to fix.

Further along on our day’s walk we passed one of those community gardens scattered around Holland, usually outside of cities. [if you want to read more about it Esther J. Community gardens in urban areas: A critical reflection on the extent to which they strengthen social cohesion and provide alternative food” over @ https://edepot.wur.nl/345279 It is in English – 260 pages or so and has such groovy chapters such as ‘Conflicts at the garden’, and other stuff. If you like PhD thesis’ mine “Conversational Analysis of Chat Room Talk” is at https://neuage.org/ODAM.htm Anyway, these gardens are really Kool. Apparently, one cannot sleep in their little shacks, though we saw some with nice furniture, TV, little kitchen…when we were there, Spring, almost, late March, there were a lot of folks out puttering around, digging holes, and generally looking happy in their little organic world.

On our way back we walked through a tunnel that had a canal in it, and a canal above us. The Dutch love putting canals everywhere.

Bleiswijk bike ride from Nieuwerkerk aan den Ijssel to Bleiswijk.

It seemed that we now were in rather pleasant weather being late March and the temperature being a blistering 12 degrees centigrade with less wind than most previous days the time to go for a full day pedal was at hand. We spent hours getting to what ended up being our destination, the village of Bleiswijk, a faraway distance of 11.4 kilometres, OK that does not sound very far, especially on a flat surface, little wind, and Google does yak on about it is 35 minutes away from Nieuwerkerk /d/Ijssel.

We did stop lots (to take photos/video/drink coffee/eat stuff, rest) and managed to do it in a record speed of four-hours. We had really yummy cake & coffee at Jumbos then headed home which only took a bit over an hour in time for our afternoon nap.

The local church is 500-hundred years older than me.

We have had lots of visits with Narda’s family. Cousins and friends. One cousin, Bea Biemond, remembers seeing Narda sail away when she was four years old, on their ship to Australia. Bea was five or six at the time. Her brother, Len, lives next door.  He has a real man’s house with two motorcycles in his lounge.  He has choppers too. Narda has stories of riding on the back of one of his choppers decades ago, at high speed, on a visit in the 1980s to Holland. She was a bit terrified – no helmets either.

A day in Vianen, visiting cousin Els. Vianen is another cool Dutch village.

To quote wikipedia “Vianen received city rights in 1337. Vianen thrived under the counts of Brederode, who acquired its lordship through marriage early in the 15th century. It formed a self-proclaimed sovereign seignory till 1795, including Vianen, Lexmond, Hei- en Boeicop and Meerkerk. During the Middle Ages, as a “free city,” Vianen could be a haven for felons and escaped serfs. Of the three castles built during the town’s history, Castle Batestein was said to be one of the most beautiful in the Netherlands. Its only remnants are a 17th-century brick gate and water-pump. Remnants of the old city wall are visible girdling parts of the old downtown.

Vianen celebrates its city rights every year in October with a horse-market. Besides the horses there are also other activities on this day, such as a fair and market and traditional Dutch games. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vianen (April 2022).

Els took us to her friend’s home for lunch. The house is amazing, being part of the original wall, couple of stories, lots of rooms.
The husband is an antique book seller and Narda had a wonderful time browsing.

The house and its contents are like a museum.  For lunch we had yummy pea soup with rhubarb (mine was not so traditional as they left out the meat) and wonderful cream tarts for dessert.

Winding up. We are leaving our ten-week home in Nieuwerkerk aan den Ijssel and going home. We have a place to stay in the city of Leiden. We are struggling, as always, with too much weight for our baggage. The limit is 30 kilos for checked in bags – giving us 60 kilos (132 pounds) to whittle four-months travel down to. Narda’s dresses from Brendan’s Lahore wedding is a bit much. We bought few souvenirs or foreign crap, where does all this stuff come from? Nevertheless, we spent days taking stuff out put more in. We even have an oil painting that Narda’s grandfather gave to his wife on their wedding day. Cool painting. Els had it and passed it on to family, which is Narda. Maybe someone famous painted it, couldn’t find a name. If it is worth a million bucks (USD please) we would probably part with it.

That painting got heavily packed as a separate package. More of that later. Not much later, almost done with this blog…a month after returning to Australia as we plan our next trip: Adelaide – Lahore – Wales (house exchange for a month), UK (house exchange), DC/Albany NY (family), Chicago (house exchange for a month). Maybe we can outdo this past four-month trip. At 75 years old I am sure I will be fine.

Our last night at home in Nieuwerkerk aan den Ijssel we went to the local windmill restaurant, Molen Windlust windmill. I think it is the only the second time we had eaten out in our ten-weeks there (not counting when we went to other cities) as place were closed until mid-March due to Covid-19.

https://youtu.be/m1X126TtFys Leiden

We drove Fred  and Chantelle’s car to Leiden (population 119,713 now, 4000 people in 1389 – not counting us, perhaps either time). There was too much to take on a train. Maybe we are getting older, 60 kilos plus lots of carry on is heavy. Carry on is a trip of its own. The say seven kilos each. However, camera and a handbag is not counted. I bought a very large camera bag at the kringloop (thrift-shop) that not only has my camera, zoom lens, wide-angle lens, but several other items, Kindle, book, plugs, other stuff. Then my coat pockets were full of things, I had on a jumper plus a coat and another bag sort of hidden beneath my coat and if Narda can take a pocketbook/purse (wow! It was so heavy) then I can too, which I did. We probably had another fifteen kilos not weighed at check-in. Each. Back to that soon.

The apartment we had in Leiden was ultramodern. Old factories were being renovated for living spaces. We had great views of the city. And to add to our wonderful stay in the Netherlands we had a bit of snow overnight. This first image is a chair, not comfortable, piece of art I suppose.

We went for a wander at night.

A university city since 1575, Leiden has been one of Europe’s most prominent scientific centres for more than four centuries. It has the oldest university of the Netherlands, and Leiden University Medical Centre. Leiden University is one of Europe’s top universities, with thirteen Nobel Prize winners. Rembrandt was born and educated in Leiden. It seems to have been a settlement since 860. I know all this as I looked it up on the internet. Views from our window were always spectacular,
 Leiden seems to have more canals than any other city I have seen. I reckon there was one every other block.

We went for a long night walk, even through a few dark parks. We were more concerned that we would stumble over a rock than we were of someone knocking us over the head and stealing our umbrella. We never think of those things. I remember once when we were in Mexico City and returning to our guesthouse we were saying where we were (I was taking photos of graffiti for my son, Sacha) and people said ‘you walked where?’ Apparently, it was like a gangland hood. Of course, we have wandered about in many a third world country with little thought than ‘how the hell do we get home, now that we are lost’. Of course, I usually have an expensive camera that I am happily photographing everything in sight with.  

Watch our little video clip at the beginning of this section on Leiden. In the video the waiter gives a good explanation about the canals in Leiden, how they came about…well worth the listen. We went out for eggs Benedict breakfast to a nifty little restaurant along a canal – lounge-deel-van-het-restaurant – http://lotendewalvis.nl/  

So good. #1 of restaurants in town for us, of course we didn’t go to any others. #16 of 289 restaurants in Leiden according to TripAdvisor and if you are good at Dutch read about it.

On one of our many walks I saw this bike. We thought our e-bikes in Adelaide were good but I think this should be our next one.

Actually, I believe it is a motor-scooter after looking it up, https://carver.earth/en/ check it out [The S+ (Speed+) has a maximum speed of no less than 80 km/h. This speed in combination with the unique tilting sensation is guaranteed to put a smile on your face!]. I tried to book a test drive, but all the places were in the Netherlands – I am back in Adelaide.

01 April Car at Albert Hein’s garage – – flat tyre – Fred came to get RAA to fix – took screw out of tyre – drove to Fred’s 4 – 6.30 there Narda had sauerkraut meal I got left out so had McDonald’s veggie burger on way home.

Should explain…we parked Fred/Chantel’s car at a public garage near our flat as we could not figure out the parking situation where we were staying. In the morning, after our wonderful eggs Benedict we went to collect said automobile only to discover to our dismay that we had a flat tyre. We looked around in search of a way to unflatten it or change tyres which we could not find. In desperation we rang Fred – couple of hours away – and proclaimed our neediness. He rang whatever their equivalent to RAA is. They could not assist as they only help the driver of their insurance. Short story longer, Fred drove to us – some dude found a screw in the tyre – got it out – put on a spare and we drove back to Nieuwerkerk aan den Ijssel. We spent the afternoon with Fred and neighbour Wesley, and Chantelle and Wesley’s son.

Fred made a sauerkraut meal (this is Holland they add lots of meat) for Narda. I seemed to have gotten left out of the dinner plan and on the way back to Leiden we stopped at McDonald’s. Why wouldn’t someone eat at a Dutch McDonald’s?

I had the amazing Veggie Spicy McChicken. No animal was tortured for my meal. Sidenote, we brought back Fred/Chantel’s car the next day to leave it with them and Fred made me the most amazing meal with a portobello mushroom filled with cheese. Also, Burger King has amazing veggie burgers too. Better than McDonald’s.

Come on Australia, get with the program.

Before returning Fred/ Chantelle’s car we drove to the hotel we would stay at before flying out – near the airport to leave our stuff. The Ramada @ Amsterdam Airport Schiphol was good for us. They let us fill their luggage closet with our things even though we were not staying there that night but the following night.

Fred had spent the whole day (after returning from their long trip) preparing an amazing BBQ of smoked spareribs, having a feast also with our neighbours Wesley and Chantal and their gorgeous Dutch kids. I have never tasted anything so wonderful. Thanks mate. We will likely return.

😊Wesley helped us many times. The time when the storm almost brought down the chicken coop, the time when we could not figure out the TV, the time when the hood over the stove shorted out, the time when we needed an extra bike, and many more. THANK YOU!!

As we were leaving in a few days back to Australia we needed to get our proof of being virus free. We had hoped to take a train to Amsterdam to a testing place. We walked the half hour to the Leiden Train Station only to discover that there were no trains due to some electronic glitch. ALL services cancelled. This was at 10 AM and they said it would be up and running in a couple of hours. Of course, it was still down until the next day. Meaning, that everyone was now taking the bus. We waited at the bus stop for half an hour with many behind us. If you know the Dutch, take it from me, they do not know how to wait in lines. When the bus stopped everyone pushed forward with the hope that hundreds could fit through the bus door all at once. Somehow, being more pushy than even the Dutch (we lived in China for three years and became good at getting into overcrowded areas) we not only got onto the bus, with my large camera bag included, but we got a seat. Not just any seat but the front seat.

We had a good day in Amsterdam, found the clinic, got tested, proved to be negative, yippee, we were on our way. To celebrate we stopped for pancakes filled with fruit.

 I enjoyed sitting in the window observing folks at the ‘coffee shop’ across the lane, smoking, changing behaviour the more they smoked. How can ya not love Amsterdam? As everywhere else, we are all focused on Ukraine. We saw a large building draped in Ukraine’s national colours. Isn’t it fantastic that Ukraine won Euro-Vision 2022?

We took the wrong bus, opposite direction of the airport. When we realized it we got off and waited for the bus the other direction. This time the bus was empty as we managed to get ourselve to the middle of nowhere/somewhere.

We got ourselves back to the airport and a shuttle to the hotel. Because we had stayed at a Ramada last year for three weeks in Darwin, we had a bunch of points. See our blog about Darwin @ https://neuage.me/2021/03/03/darwin/ We blew them all on a luxury room with a balcony looking out at the airport.

·       HOME

We bought this bottle of booze to have when folks come here in July. Folks being lots of family: Chris and Jessica and children from DC, Sacha and Georgia from Melbourne, Stu and family are here in Adelaide all for Brendan and Sofie, coming from Pakistan to have an Australian wedding. (See their Lahore wedding @ https://neuage.me/2022/02/03/covid-world-tour-2021/

Long story short – we got back home early April. It is now mid-May. Somehow, we got busy the past few weeks, gardening, shopping, family stuff, staring out the window…. See ya next trip which is New Zealand October and November. 2023 early, February – May (again) working on UK, Lahore, Wales, DC, New York, Chicago… Narda just planed our trip to Thailand, Lahore, Malaya for that period and the Chicago/UK/DC/New York for September – November next year. Lots to do on that, but perhaps we will see you along the way. Cheers!

Thanks for coming along on our trip with us.

May 11, 2022 we celebrated 20 years married. Went to Glenelg for a couple of days. We met in 2020 on the internet, of course. Physically a few days later (what they say not to do; meet in a dark place). We met in an unlit car park at the University of South Australia where I was completing my PhD and Narda her Masters (at different campuses) and have been always together ever since. Nine years in New York, three years in China and heaps of travel in between.

Narda is at http://narda.us/

Terrell is at https://neuage.org/

together we are at https://neuage.me/

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