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Slept briefly (only a few hours) last night as we were up early so I could get my SNS nails removed. The boys stayed back at home and drank coffee whilst the four of us walked to the end of Java Island to get croissants for breakfast and other errands. We bought the freshest croissants as they had just come out of the oven and were still warm!
After relaxing for a while, we walked to the Amsterdam zoo and it’s attached museum on microbes called Micropia.
Today is our last full day on our holiday. We had a leisurely breakfast of fresh bread and ham, cheese and tomatoes. (Cheese count: 22)
We walked back to the centre of Amsterdam to a second hand market that is meant to be amazing. The problem was that it was very windy with constant 40km/hr winds and a lot of that stall holders didn't set up. This was fine as we just meandered passed all the canals until we found ourselves at the flower market.
Today was a sleep in day whilst Jip's mother was at work. We showered and started the dreaded packing of the suitcases. We managed to fit everything with minimal space remaining. When Jips mother got home, we had lunch and then his dad came and got us for our last journey to Amsterdam.
In Amsterdam, we had some snacks at home prior to walking to Central Station to get the free ferry across to North Amsterdam for dinner.
Slept well for a few hours before showering and having breakfast. Jip's mum bought me a special cheese with truffles through it so I just had to have some on some fresh bread! (Cheese count: 22). It was very tasty.
Jip and I rode our bicycles into Wijchen city centre and went to the local book store and I bought some Dutch grammar books to improve my understanding of the language.
Early wake up for our B&B breakfast that we had to pay extra for; I thought the meaning of a B&B was breakfast included!
It was a worthwhile breakfast of fresh rolls, cheeses, homemade apricot jam and soft boiled egg each. (Cheese count: 21)
We put everything in the car in its usual orderly fashion. Jips bags in the boot with my backpack on top, my suitcase standing up on the backseat and our coats hanging up on the other seat.
Early rise at 7am for our long journey ahead. We had a quick breakfast and packed our fruit and luggage into the Fiat. We drove out of the village onto the freeway and joined the peak hour morning traffic (about fifty cars) and headed for the German border.
Jip was driving first and then I took over after two hours. Just before my two hours were up, we were in Hamburg and it was lunch time.
Had some very quick breakfast around 10.45am (cheese count: 15) as the first race for the Italian MotoGP started at 11am.
I stayed on the couch until the end of the third and final race which concluded at 3pm.
Whilst I was glued to the TV, Jip and his mum went grocery shopping for some fruit and snacks to take for tomorrow's drive. They got some berries, red and white grapes and speculaas balls covered in chocolate (usually eaten at Christmas).
Up at 8am and had to wait for the shower as there were four of us this morning!.
Bram (Jip's brother) and his girlfriend Eva arrived at 9.30am and we piled in the back of their car. Saskia (Jip's mum) and Wytske (Jips other brother's girlfriend) were in the other car with Lotje the dog.
We drove to a fishing village near Amsterdam called Volendam. Volendam is a big touristy fishing village that surprisingly wasn't too much of a tourist trap as the yearly carnival was on so all the locals were in full swing!
Had a well deserved sleep in and missed breakfast. We were hoping to have a family brunch at a place recommended by one of Jip's friends but we ended up going to a restaurant in Noord-Amsterdam at lunchtime.
The restaurant was right on the harbour with all the prestigious yachts and it served up delicious food. I had the bitterballen for entree and a fresh tuna Poké bowl with yummy seaweed salad, grated carrot, cubed cucumber and edamame.
Early morning start today with a 7am alarm startling me.
We all had some breakfast before walking Layla to school and seeing what her classroom and teacher are like. It is very similar to primary schools back in Australia in layout of the rooms and the amount of children in each class. Jip and I walked to the other side of Java Island to get on the tram to take us to Spiegelgracht, the closest stop to the museums.
Bit of a sleep in finally! We woke to the sound of rain outside which was lovely but at the same time disappointing as we were going out in that weather!
Our first stop was Central Station to the ‘I Amsterdam’ store to purchase our ‘I Amsterdam’ card which gets us into a lot of museums and the use of public transport within the city. It was pricey at €74 for 48 hours but if you’re dedicated to visiting different museums and using the buses/trams, it is worth the money.
Did not sleep until after 4am as I had severe abdominal pain and nausea. I ended up pacing the lounge room for a while.
We got up early to collect Bram from the Amsterdam train station before we went on our adventure. Our first stop was along the Afsluitdijk, the dam that has protected the Netherlands from the open ocean since 1933. It runs for 32km and was built by hand at the time - it took 13 years to construct and it’s leading engineer, Cornelia Lely, died in 1929 before it’s completion.
Today we leisurely got up and had breakfast downstairs before Saskia went to dog training with the Labrador puppy. Jip and I went into the city centre by bike but unfortunately, it was raining lightly and we got damp (not wet).
We went to Vodafone as my SIM card (that I paid a lot of money for) only gave me two weeks of usage but we explicitly stated that we wanted something for a month.
First day I’ve managed a sleep in and felt pretty refreshed.
Today was just a lazy day before heading to Amsterdam tomorrow. We had a late breakfast of various cheeses and bread before going on a walk with the young Labrador, Lotje. We walked alongside the lake before taking a new route passed the local farm that sells fresh vegetables and eggs directly to the public on specific days. On Sunday’s, mostly everything is closed or only open for a few hours after lunch.
Woke up in near perfect darkness as we had wonderful black out curtains in our room. We had our fresh rolls and salami/leverworst and got ready for our outing with Dries and Sigrid (Jip’s friends from his studies in Sweden). We met them at Dries’ place before the four of us piled in to the small Fiat. Dries was in charge of navigation and we weren’t off to a great start, having gone in a different direction and with me accidentally driving on the wrong side of the road.
Woke up to my last few hours in Luxembourg. I went downstairs for the breakfast and everything was gone except some yoghurt and cereal. I asked if they had anymore bread and the lady said she could get some. It happened to be that they got fresh bread from the local bakery. I had two rolls with peach jam and butter. I had all my bags packed and I did the quick walk to the car, loaded it and took off on my way to get Jip from Lille.
I as woken at 12.50am to Boes (family cat) outside the window wanting to be let in. It was easier said than done as I had to take the fly wire off and replace it. After my early wake up call with the cat, we both slept until 9am and lounged for a bit before going downstairs. Saskia had laid out breakfast for us before she went for a walk. I had some of our green pesto cheese and leftover blueberries pancake from yesterday.
Had an amazing nights sleep of 5 hours before waking at 5.30am ready to start my day. Everyone else was still asleep so I dozed for a few more hours before rising. After getting dressed, Jip’s mother made Blauwe Bessen pannenkoeken (blueberries pancakes) for breakfast using almond and coconut meal; it was delicious and filling. Jip stayed home whilst Saskia and I took the neighbours dog for a walk around the lake that is near her housing estate.
Managed to stay awake for our Uber driver at 1am.
We were swiftly driven to the airport and went through the business class line to drop off our bags. Jip's case weighed 19.8kg whereas I had 17kg exact.
Once our bags were dropped off we thought we would make a quick entrance in through the departure gate for the Emirates Lounge. Boy, was I wrong. The departure gate was completely closed until 3am despite check in opening at 1.