On request and for my own fun and memories, but also a bit inspired by Jimmy my Dutch/Australian friend, I have started to write down my experiences from my trip. Sort of like I did about 10 years ago when travelling around Australia for those who remember that :-).
After my final goodbye drinks and my final final goodbye dinners and some more drinks it was time for me to leave Australia for my long exciting trip.
Its Friday the 2nd of December 2011 and Ilya arrives at my house to pick me up to bring me to the airport.
Standing in the line for the check-in/bag drop off we had to play a little game. Since my ski bag was already 12kg over the weight limit and I had one big backpack with a separate bag with my ski boots this was going to be a tricky but fun game. When the lady behind the counter asked me to put my 1.8m ski bag on the belt to check the weight I managed to get the end of the ski bag on the garbage bin behind her and just one end was resting on the belt. So suddenly the ski bag was super light. Ilya pretended that the bag with my ski boots on his shoulders was his own bag. While walking to the oversized luggage drop off point, we managed to squeeze the ski boots in the ski bag and give the 36kg overweight ski bag off with a big smile on our face.
We grabbed a final beer together and said our goodbyes. Off I went to the plane.
The trip itself to Europe was not so bad this time, but how good or bad can an 28 hour trip be right?
When I arrived in Amsterdam I had never received such a warm welcome. The whole family standing with banners waiting for me (I still have them) It was the first time that I met my sweet little niece Lola not even a year old and had not seen her before. They were all there all my nieces and nephews as well. Off course this welcome is what I will expect every time from now on so I hope they realise this ;-)
We all went to my mother’s house and had family morning coffee.
After a bit of relaxing it was already time to get ready and take care of the Sinterklaas presents and all the traditions involved. So off shopping straight away.
For the people that don’t know the Sinterklaas celebrations, here in short. On the 5th of December its Sinterklaas his birthday. In The Netherlands, we all celebrate this with the whole family and we all get lots of presents. Our family did this the traditional way this year so we had to make a surprise for someone in the family relating the present your giving plus you have to write a poem relating to the present and surprise as well.
This comes down that on the night of the 5th of December, when the whole family is together we spend the whole evening eating, drinking, open presents and reading the poems. (this is day one of eating a lot/too much in December)
The kids in particular enjoy this day the most since they already have a two week lead up to this night with smaller gifts in their shoes every night/morning. I am sure you can google if you want to know more about this subject. You might want to introduce it in other countries across the world.
After Sinterklaas festivities it was time for me to visit friends and family I haven’t seen for a while. Lunch here dinner there followed with some late drinks somewhere else again. Pretty full schedule but really good to see everyone again. In preparation of my trip in Asia in a few months time. I also had a quick stop at the Vietnamese embassy in The Hague. Dad joined me and had a fun day out followed with a nice dinner. From dinner in The Hague, to have dinner in Rotterdam, Breda and many dinners in Amsterdam, a birthday in Tilburg, a party in Lelystad and final fun party plus late night shopping in Zaandam. I still like the pants Yvonne I am glad I bought it in the end (funny dress code parties)
While I was in Europe I also visit my good friends Maarten, Dani and their little Janick in Frankfurt. It was really nice seeing them after such long time. They moved from Australia back to Europe about a year ago (if I have my dates correct here). Also a good excuse to see Frankfurt. It’s just before Christmas and the centre of Frankfurt is in full swing of the festivities. The Christmas market is on and with a Gluhwein in our hand walk through the city. The next day we visited an old monastery and had a wonderful dinner with a local beer to finish this day. All together I was nicely spoiled and really enjoyed Frankfurt. Thank you Maarten and Dani.
Back in Amsterdam I spend most of my time on the professional photo shoot that I gave to my whole family as a present. I will not get to much into this, since this could take up a few pages by itself. But long story really short. After the initial shock that a strange person was going to take photos of everybody in their own homes I think everybody in the family enjoyed it. I am super happy now that we have beautiful photos of everyone and I can start putting the family photo book together soon. Big thanks to Mandy Pieper that was so patient with all of us :-)
That was Amsterdam already, time flies when you have fun.
Ok back in the plane, but this time just a short flight. One flight of 9 hours considered Short. At least I thought it was 9 hours I seriously can’t remember and don’t want to look it up right now.