So on Wednesday morning, I ran around getting our packing done - trying to pack as little as possible but make sure we have everything for a day in the city and 2 days camping. Being British I wanted to take raincoats, but Chananja told me not too so I left them behind.
At 12, we said goodbye and headed to Bernies to meet Matt for lunch. Baked beans for me, fish fingers, chips and beans for Tom and soup for Matt. Tom and I then packed up the car and headed for the airport. We passed lots of traffic jams going the opposite way to us, but were unaffected and made good time. We breezed through check-in and actually had time to do a little bit of shopping and watch planes etc. The airport was pretty busy - finding two seats together was difficult but we got there in the end.
Our flight boarded early, then we sat on the tarmac for ages, but we arrived in Schipol on time so can't complain. It was hot, Hot, HOT! I felt like we had been on a long-haul flight to Asia - the heat and humidity hit us big time as we walked off the plane. It was over 30 degrees. It's nuts when you think about it - we are only 300 miles from each other! We had to negotiate a huge, HUGE passport queue before we collected our bag and headed into the concourse looking for Chananja and Raimo. Didn't see them at first, think they had found a seat, getting bored of looking for us.
We then headed to the bus stops to get a bus back to their place. Problem - there was no bus - the last one had already left! Chananja ended up having to call her neighbour to come and collect us - oops! Never mind, everyone was good humoured about it.
Think we got to Chananja's around 9.15pm, Raimo and Tom then started playing nerf guns - in fact they were playing immediately, the language barrier was none existent! Ramio and Tom went to bed at 10pm, whilst we stayed up chatting until past 1 in the morning.
|On the Canalbike|
|Typical Amsterdam Scene|
|Driver not looking where she is going!|
|Nik & Tom 'a' Amsterdam|
|Pleased with his bike|
In the morning, we cycled through some heather moorland to a lake where the boys did some pond dipping and Tom tried to swim. (He failed though, it was too shallow for swimming). The lake was surrounded by sand. There were only a few other families there. It was a lovely, idyllic place. Dineke and Raimo spent the whole time pond dipping - Tom dipped in and out but really got into it by the end. They both had a good bucket full of bugs.
|A good haul|
After a look around a butterfly garden, we then headed back to the campsite where Tom, Raimo and I jumped into the very cold pool for a swim. It was lovely - instant relief from the hot, sweaty days we have been experiencing - but it was very cold! We spent a while playing piggie in the middle. I managed to escape to dry off but was made to return to the pool for another session.
|Very happy cyclists|
|Me and two boys|
I spent another night being attacked by Tom in his sleep - oh joy! He was so deeply asleep, I couldn't wake him up or reason with him! We were up earlier and made our 8.30 breakfast appointment - more buns with cheese and ham. Then we headed out on a 17km bike ride in the Heather moorland. It was beautiful - we had forest, sand, flat land, nice farm houses, horses, sheep, everything - and all in the sunshine. It was lovely. Tom was delighted to be on his bike again - he had Soffie Bear as his luggage - so I was on duty to check he was ok. He also got the hang of being on the other side of the road very well and was looking in the right direction almost immediately. For him it wasn't the destination, it was the journey!
|Riding a horsey|
|Great swimming games|
|Eating ice cream - it must be hot!|
After more ice-creams we called it a day at the pool and returned to Dienke and Piet's. The boys then played football solidly for the rest of the afternoon - they were very very hot, but didn't care. In fact they spent every spare minute playing football. Chananja was nervous because Raimo's knees are liable to 'go' at any moment, causing him pain, but luckily they didn't and they were having fun. Neither of them get to go on holiday with other children, so they were relishing the opportunity for games the whole time.
I had a slightly better night, although it was still hot, Hot, HOT! Got up at 8am, packed quickly and were on our way to the airport at 9. Checked in - had an argument with KLM - they wanted 35 Euros from me to put my case in the hold. It was free from Manchester? No-body could explain why. There was no mention of being charged for hold luggage on my paperwork. I might as well have flown Easyjet - I thought you could escape that with a scheduled service! But that was that - it was 35 Euros or take the case on as hand luggage. Hand luggage it was then! I gave Chananja all my liquids (they were worth much less than 35 Euros). We then had lunch - pancakes for the boys (with the shape of an airplane made from icing sugar and sprinkles for them to play with) a cheese and mushroom pancake for me (well we are in the land of pancakes) and some sandwiches for Chananja. Then it was time to say goodbye and head to security and passport control. More queues - my small bag got searched this time because there were loose coins in it (I had had to take them out of a plastic bag so I could put my small liquids in it!) A quick look around the shops and then to the gate. We boarded on time but were delayed because...people had too much hand luggage with them - there wasn't enough room for it all - so some had to go in the hold!!!!!! I mean really, I hope they got fined for missing their time slot!!
Wow - what a holiday. It was only 3 days, but we packed so much in. Thank you to Chananja and her family for being such great hosts and arranging so many great things to do. Much appreciated. Until next time...