Thursday, October 28, 2010

On the plane to Amsterdam there was a magazine with all the different things you could do and see in Amsterdam and Mum found a bag museum that she really wanted to visit, which showed the history of bag from the 16th century right up til the 21st. Finally, in our last week here we made it back to Amsterdam to visit it.

First thing Tuesday morning Wim dropped Els, Lisa, Mum and I in Hoorn so we could visit the shop Els's works at and have morning tea with her boss Ellen. We had breakfast for 1 euro at the Hema! An egg&bacon roll, a croissant and tea or coffee all for just 1 euro! I suppose this is similar to breakfast at IKEA but Hema is better.

After breakfast we went to Els's shop to visit Ellen

After breakfast and morning tea Wim picked us up and we zoomed over to Amsterdam. Silly me for thinking because Mum wanted to visit the musuem so badly she might have actually found out where in Amsterdam it was. Instead we had to walk for 40 minutes before we found it, already partly suffering hypothermia. I complained a lot but it gave us a chance to see some really beautiful parts of Amsterdam.
Inside the museum was amazing, on the first floor was a cafe that served high tea and above that were 2 floors of exhibitions.

The second floor of the museum was the origins of 'the bag' starting out with the earliest examples

we moved on through the centuries to more modern bags and purses

It was really interesting to the many stages of bags and purses and how they have developed. Ofcourse the gift shop was the best i have ever seen, but it was also a bit our of my price range. It didn't matter though because from the museum we went to the Kalverstraat, which is the main shopping strip.
We split up here and Lisa and I looked around on our own, i had to make the most of my time here because it may be a while before i am back in Amsterdam. We hit the shops serious style and only stopped when we got our third phone call from Els to say 'they were very cold and bored and would we be ready to go anytime soon??' The Kalverstraat runs across the city centre and half way through it is broken up by de dam, the square in which the royal palace stands. Becuase of the school holidays they had transformed it into a huge carnival with rides and side shows.

When we met up with Els, Wim and Mum they had befriended some local police officers, which scared the absolute bajeebies out of me becuase not 5 minutes before i had accidentally walked out of a store with a wallet and had to run back and return it, for a horrible second i thought they were there to arrest me and i would be locked up with about 27 red light girls.

Not the ideal way to wrap up my last day in Amsterdam, but it was ok because they didn't want to arrest me, although they were on their way to the red light district. One of them already had on her bulletproof vest but the other had to go back to the station and put it on because it was just to uncomfortable to wear all day. I bet.

Rotterdam Friday

Going to the Zoo!

We had a big family outing today at the Rotterdam Zoo, Inga, Mum, Marcia, Paul, Wesley, Shelby, Ryan, Remy, Harry and I all went. It was really busy because this week was the first week of the school holidays and the kids were out in numbers alright. It was ok though, i must admit starring at kids in Holland is more fun as long as i say it in a nice tone it doesn't matter what i say, they're too young to have learnt english yet. I hope.

So Remy and I were Zoo Buddies round 2 and i think within the first 10 minutes we had lost everyone. We started at the seals and then went on to the aquarium.

From here we went on to the polar bear, probably the most depressed animal i have ever seen. But don't worry, Remy assured me they're ment to look like that, Polar Bears are sad animals.

It was somewhere around South America that we met up with everyone else

Somewhere along the line we lost Mum and Wesley so we all had to stop and wait for them to catch up

After we finally found them we headed to Asia

When we visited the Apes there was this amazing story about Bokita the Silverback Gorilla who escaped 2 years ago and ran wild around the zoo. For 2 years a woman had visited the zoo everyday because she was obsessed with this gorilla and she wanted to write a book about him. She constantly tried to make eye contact with him and would try and intmidate him and provoke him, naturally this pissed Bokita off so he tried and tried and finally he found a way to escape and went after her. He scaled a wall and somehow got over the moat around his enclosure and attacked her. She wasn't seriously hurt but the Zoo didn't take any action against Botika becuase they realised what she had been up to. He ran around the Zoo for a while and even went into one of the Zoo restaurant and attacked some other people but the keepers managed to get him with a tranquliser.

After the Zoo i had to say goodbye to everyone in Rotterdam and catch the train back to Hoorn to meet up with Lisa because we were going out that night. Mum stayed longer and got dropped off later that night by Jan. A fun week in Rotterdam, Inga and her family are amazing and really welcoming. Inga reminds me so much of Mum and Oma and she is just the warmest person i have ever met. The whole time her and Mum were together they were laughing. I hope i will be able to stay with them again next time.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Rotterdam Thursday

Today Marcia was taking us out for lunch to a pancake house in Kralingse Bos which is a huge park in the middle of Rotterdam, similar to Bonython park or Central Park, which ever you can relate to better. It was really beautiful there, lots of forest and a lake in the middle of the park.

The pancake house was a really kitsch place with lots of stuffed animals hang from the ceiling and wooden panelling everywhere.

It was the kind of place where you get paper place mats and texta's so you can colour in.

Delicious pancakes as well, Mum Marcia and I got poffertjes, and the others all got horrible savoury pancakes with things like bacon and mushroom and raisins. My poffertjes looked much nicer.

We went for a walk around the park after lunch to work of some of the food. It seemed like a good idea but once we started walking it was so cold and windy that we only did a short walk along the lake and then we all hurried back to the warmth of the car.

That night Harry Remy and I went out to the movies in Rotterdam South and saw RED which is excellent, like Oceans 11 but with CIA agents and much funnier.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Rotterdam Wednesday

Paul and the boys and I decided to be brave today and go out on our own into the city. Mum and Inga wanted to stay home because Oma's brother Leen was coming over for tea that night with his wife so they wanted to get things ready at home.
We caught the bus in and I introduced them to H&M for the first time. We had just come out of a shop and had stopped for a drink when it started hailing really heavily.

i figured this would be the closest i got to snow so i better take some photos

The main reason we went into town was to look for some boots for Paul, and we had a good look around, but towards the end i think the boys were fed up with shops. Not this shop though

It was some kind of army disposal store and Remy fell in love with a crossbow here. He tried to convince Paul to buy it for him, he was pretty sure he could get it on the plane if he just packed it in his suitcase. Paul didn't really think it was a good idea.

Then it was time to go home and help cook tea. Or rather for Paul to cook tea.

I don't remember Leen from the first time i came, but his wife Riet has been to Australia to stay with Oma and Opa quite a few times so it was nice to see her again.

Although it was really nice to see them both and spend time with them the greatest thing to come out of the night was that Leen said he would give Mum and I an extra suitcase so we could get all our stuff home! I had already looked it up and it would cost the same to post a box of stuff as it would to add an extra piece of lugage to our ticket. All our problems solved!