Friday, 24 May 2013

              It is freezing in Essen, Germany!

                                                          all right it is not as cold as this, but it feels like it!

Holy cow it is cold! 2 days ago we left Edam to go to Essen, Germany by train, it was the ICE train, fast and very comfy, withing 2.5 hours we were here, just enough time to do homework with the kids, we got to enjoy the scenery an in patches it was really nice.
Yesterday was 8 degrees......... it is spring for cryin' out loud! I checked the weather report for Waiheke, it was 10 degrees, in the Night! and it is freakin fall/winter there!!!!!   well we all know you do not go to Holland or Germany for the weather, I was already joking I needed to get us some long underwear, it would be funny if it was not true.

 Enough complaining though, we are enjoying Essen, we are staying at a friends house, and he has a daughter and he made her a great play room, so the kids are enjoying that lots, we went into the center of Essen yesterday and the underground metro system works really well and at 2.5 euro per ticket, not too expensive, we were not too blown away by the town, granted, we did not see everything, just the shopping streets and they seem the same almost everywhere.

Today we went for a walk in a lovely forest, just behind our home, called the Krupp-Wald we just went to the play area but it was absolutely beautiful and the kids got to run around

Tomorrow Colin will go and try to find us a car, he has 2 he wants to go and look at, the first car he had laid his eyes on was 4 hours away and when he called the car dealer, he got told that it sold, our friend called for us as well, and spoke German and then it was still available, maybe the dealer did not want to deal with English speaking people or something but we'd rather take our money elsewhere, so lets hope tomorrow works out.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

           We are in Holland!!!!

It has taken us a week to get over our jetlag, Our first nights we all seemed to wake at around 3 or 4 am and that would be that, so we would have breakfast at 4:30 am and the kids got really tired during the day but could not sleep but we are all good now, waking at around 8 am , that is better then in NZ! Anouk usually managed to wake up around 6:30 there, so you could say that this is a nice improvement.  here is Anouk, in Edam on our first walk, very early in the morning, the boys were still sleeping.
It has been so lovely to see all the family, and for the kids to see that they have family, and quite a lot of them too! 
It is nice for me to be a tourist in my own country, We all know that children can show you a new way of looking at things and it is no different now when they are showing me how cute and beautiful Holland is and can be! They really notice the small things, Kai got really excited when he saw a lily pad in the water the other day because he had read about them in fairy tales like the princess and the frog, but had not actually seen them. Waiheke has no lily pads, or frogs! 
It is also great that kids are so eager to learn, so when we are walking through the old and cute village of Edam we can show them the old homes that are leaning forward or how the tired houses have sunk into the ground a bit and off course we are all learning about the cheeses in Edam, how can you not when you are here:-)

The kids are loving it here, and they are really trying to speak dutch, especially Kai, at the playground they make friends while running back and forth to us to ask us how you say this and that in Dutch, very cute.

We also went to Hoorn, which is a City about 20 minutes drive from Edam, and it is beautiful with lots of history we enjoyed walking around and taking pictures, on the way back we decided to take a detour and go around "the dijk"  unfortunately we got stuck behind a truck that picked up the fences from the marathon that had been there a few hour earlier and the guys from the truck refused to let us and about  7 or 8 other cars behind u, through, so we had to drive behind them for about 20 minutes or more while they could have let us pass, they just decided they did not feel like it, all the while singing a dutch song that basically mocked us and said, "and we are not going home, not for a long time) they seemed to take pleasure out of it, I got pretty angry, not only because it was insanely rude but also dangerous, what if there would have been someone ill in one of the other cars and in need of a hospital, or something else..... I am pretty sure it is illegal as well,  it showed dutch rudeness through and through and that was shitty especially after such a lovely day, but my sister did say that was probably one of the rudest things she has come across in a very long time. here are some pictures of beautiful Hoorn.

Monday, 6 May 2013

                     Hong Kong

The last few days were manic, we tried to do as much as we could before hand but as always it is the last 2 days that are hell, no matter if you are a pro at moving or not. I still have to meet a person who likes those last few days. 
There was a storm brewing and we feared that if we would take the 6:45 ferry, it might be delayed or something like that because of the wind and we did not want to chance that so we took the 4 pm ferry, because of that we lost 2 hour of clean up time, and had to cram in a bit more, so in the end I forgot a load of laundry in the dryer and the oven did not get cleaned,..... we did get someone to clean the house but apparently she forgot the oven as well and the person that was going to pick up our laundry ... somehow forgot to do that,.....  well, I guess that is not the end of the world, the weather was fine in the end, the kids were angels on the first flight,
Anouk even managed to get about 6 hours of sleep in, now we are in Hong Kong and it is humid and lovely, the snails are the size of small rats  here (see photo) and from our hotel room we can see the fish jumping out of the water, pretty cool. 

Conversion of 1 NZ is about 6 Hong Kong dollar and when we arrived at the airport a taxi driver greeted us at the exit and asked us where we were going, he told us that to the gold coast hotel was 500 HK dollar, but thankfully the kids were hungry and we decided to eat first, then we went to the taxi pick up and  the taxi's are colour coded for designated areas, how cool is that!  ours was green and it was "only" 250 HK dollars, around $ 37 NZ   so I was very happy we had a few hungry kids to slow us down and therefore make the right decision. 

The hotel is beautiful, it is the gold coast hotel, about 35 min from the airport and has beautifully landscaped gardens, the rooms are quite deluxe and the pool has 2 slides and is lovely, water is a bit cold but then again  we are a bunch of wimps
this picture was taken in the lobby of the hotel just when we arrived, those poor kids and their pale faces from long travel, after that was taken we all had a great soak in the bath tub in the room, today we are taking it easy, we wanted to see more of Hong Kong but Anouk has decided she is exhausted and since we are flying at 12:15 at night again today, sleeping might just be the smartest thing to so we are just staying around the hotel today.
                                        here they are, all happy and tired at the playground of the hotel.