Apeldoorn

Alex took me into the city of Apeldoorn this afternoon and it was my first real taste of the European feel. Probably sounds a bit naive, but it looked really European, lol. I’ve only ever seen pictures in books so it felt incredibly surreal to see that it actually exists this way, and not just in touristy places.

The scariest thing is Alex took me there…………on a BIKE! Now I’ve discovered that riding a bike in Australia is nothing like riding a bike here. Not only did I have to coordinate myself on the bike (I haven’t ridden for ages and pregnancy hasn’t done much good for my coordination) but I had to be aware of the road rules, remember to ride on the RIGHT side and also give way to the right. It seems in some places the cars have to give way to the bikes and in other places the bikes give way to the cars. So I had to concentrate on all the above just to stay on the bike and alive. Then Alex points out “hey did you see the lights over there?”

Are you kidding me? I’m just trying to stay on the bloody bike!!! 😆

Anyway, once in Apeldoorn Alex insisted I try Ollebollen (I have no idea if I have the spelling right and I’m feeling too jetlagged to care 😉 ) which surprised me by being really yummy. Apparently it’s a Christmas tradition and only available at this time of year. I’m hoping the only kilo’s I put on are because of the baby though and not all this European food! 😉

After a bit of walking around and buying a few essential items for myself that I hadn’t packed we headed back home again (on the bikes). We stopped at a canal and I couldn’t help but be fascinated at how the canal was starting to freeze. It was nearly frozen enough to take my weight……but you wouldn’t risk that of course! I’ve never seen snow, nor been anywhere so cold, so even though I know this happens it still felt incredible to see it.

When we got home, jetlag seriously hit me and I rested for a bit and while I didn’t actually sleep I did doze off for a minute or so while Alex cooked dinner. I was going to help him but the fatigue hit me so bad it seemed I couldn’t even hold my hand up. I felt a second burst of energy after tea and then Alex’s dad and sister came around for a visit and so I met some of the family for the first time. 😉

That was quite amusing as half the conversation was in English and half in Dutch. It seems Alex was the only one who understood all of the entire conversation, haha. It was hard keeping up cuz I was getting tired again, but it was great to meet them.

Now I’m just quickly writing this blog entry while I still remember everything and while Alex drops his dad back off home. I was so tired I wanted to go straight to bed, but I’m waiting till Alex gets back so we can try the chocolate ollebollen thing…….no it’s not ollebollen, but it looks something like it and filled with chocolate……..I think?

MSN

oooh, I’ve figured out how to get on msn. I forgot that I’d changed my password a while back.

Also, just took this piccie of outside the window. Looks soooo European, lol.

 Outside Alex’s apartment

Refreshed

Finally I feel refreshed and energised after a good sleep. At the moment I’m up pretty early (after a 10 hour sleep) while Alex still sleeps. I managed to stay up till about 8pm yesterday (which is 5.30am Adelaide time) and although I woke up a few times at odd hours and also started craving vegemite toast at 3am, at least I managed to sleep through to a “reasonable” time in NL time.

I have to say that the whole trip wasn’t quite as hard as I was expecting. I’d heard so many people talk about how crappy the long flight is and how hard it is that I was expecting the worst. Ok, it wasn’t nice, but I coped better than I expected. I guess it’s a bit like the combat challenge (or the other Les Mils training challenges) that people talk so much about how hard it is, and you pschye yourself up for the worst so that when the time comes you go “oh that wasn’t too bad!”

I can’t seem to remember where most of the day went yesterday? I don’t recall doing a whole day of stuff cuz I was just so exhausted and jetlagged. I do remember we went shopping in the afternoon here (which is sometime after midnight Adelaide time). I couldn’t help but notice how everyone looked at me when they heard me speaking English in the supermarket. I dunno if it’s cuz I was speaking English or if it was my accent (probably both?) but I just found it amusing anyway.

I tried to log onto my msn this morning, but it’s giving me an error message in dutch so I dunno what’s wrong, lol. So if you see either of us online on msn just check who you’re talking to 😉  It’s also pretty wacky typing my blog posts cuz whenever I try to use “quotes” it starts doing weird dutch characters like  ï. I always used to wonder how they had those characters on the keyboard.

I just don’t want to leave the buildings at the moment. Going from the house to the car and I’m verging on hypothermia! Alex tells me that as soon as he gets a bike to borrow we won’t be using the car much cuz it’s always quicker (and cheaper) on bike here). Oh great, I hope I begin to acclimatise to the cold in some way!

I’m not sure what is planned for today, although I think Alex has kept it a relatively quiet day to allow me to recover a bit. One of the first things I’ve felt since my 24 hour travel is I’m hanging out for a balance class! I think I might even just do it on my own here at some time cuz there’s no balance till Thursday at Alex’s gym. I’m tempted to do pump tonight though. I’d rather do combat or balance though but the timetable seems to offer mainly just pump. I feel like I’ve gotta move, although depends on how tired and jetlagged I feel by the evening?

Arriving in The Netherlands

Finally arrived in The Netherlands! woooo! HUGE queues in customs to go through, but the think that struck me the most is how relaxed they are going through customs.

Arriving into Australia or NZ you have to fill out declaration forms for customs and it seems to get so tedious. But in The Netherlands I got to a gate that had 2 signs, one said “Items to declare” and the other said “No items to declare”. Right…..okay? So what would be considered items I have to declare?

I asked the customs officer and he said “toys, gifts and stuff”.

“Right ok, um……..I don’t know, I don’t think I have anything to declare?”

And he just replied “that’s ok, just go through”

ok that was pretty easy. So I enter the arrivals area and couldn’t find Alex. I sent him an sms and walked around looking for him. It took a while before I heard from him, but it turned out he was stuck in a major traffic jam that had blocked all access into the city. Ok, so a good start, lol. I was relieved when I finally heard from him though and so I started wandering around the airport. I found out I could have a shower at the Sheridan Hotel for 18 Euros. A lot of money for a shower, however they also offered to look after my bags for me.

So I had a much wanted relaxing shower…….ohhhhh. It was worth all 18 Euros! So nice after travelling in the same clothes for 24 hours. When I came out and they took my bags for me, I asked if there were any free internet access stands around (like there is in KL). He didn’t answer, but he asked me how long I wanted (at that stage only about 20 mins) and he proceeded to give me free access to the hotels internet! That was awesome, it was starting to make my 18 Euros more worthwhile and just really generous service.

So I quickly caught up with emails and had some fights with my werewolf on facebook (Alex and I are in a kinda competition over who has the better werewolf, so I couldn’t go without fighting my wolf….priorities!!!!).

Then my 20 mins internet access ran out and Alex ran to let me know that he was still stuck in the traffic jam but at least the traffic was moving now…..albeit slowly. So he was probably still going to be at least another half an hour. So time to browse the airport.

I wandered around, looked to see if there was somewhere I might be able to purchase a pre-paid SIM for my phone but couldn’t really tell in a strange country. I did end up going with something I found familiar though, a whopper and fries from Burger King.

I finally got another call from Alex and turned out he was very close to the airport. So I checked out my baggage from the Sheridan Hotel and waited for him at the front. I was just standing there when I felt warm hands placed on my shoulders. Normally that’d freak me out, but I wasn’t afraid and knew it was him. ohhh, FINALLY!

Finally…….I exited the doors of the airport.

Bloody hell……….it’s COLD!!!!!

….and they drive like crazy here……..AND on the wrong side of the road.

Waiting for flight

After walking around the airport for a bit, suddenly the effects of being up at nearly 2am Adelaide time are hitting me. The moment I rest my head I know I’m going to fall asleep so I’m not even sure if I’ll keep awake for take off, haha. I’m sitting here (writing in my travel diary) with my flight starting to check in and waiting till the queue goes down so that I can take my anti-nausea tablets and drink the rest of my water before going through the security checks.

The rule with liquids is a pain, although it’s for our own safety so you gotta grin and bear it.

Kuala Lumpar

well I’ve made it here in Kuala Lumpar!

Already it’s been an interesting journey. I have to say so far Malaysia Airlines seems really good, but one of the air hostesses was either in a bad mood, or just didn’t take a liking to me or maybe it’s a cultural thing. I had dozed off fairly early in the flight (gotta love the side effects of my anti-nausea tablets!) and when I woke up I was not only desperate for the toilet, but they’d started the trolleys moving down to serve dinner. I had requested a seat with more room (due to being pregnant and a bad flier) and so I was in the first row of economy class, and thinking there’d be a toilet up the front I look, but no (not without entering the curtained off first class). So to my horror I discovered the only toilets were on the other side of the trolley and NO other way around.

Knowing I couldn’t hold on long enough for the trolley to make it’s entire journey, I asked the lady if I could go to the toilet. She looked at me, took a big sigh and shoulder shrug (teenage style) and shoved the trolley. She rolled it past the the toilet area moaning and groaning or whatever she was doing. She made it quite clear she wasn’t happy. When you gotta go you gotta go! Normally I think I’d be pissed off, but not really sure whether it’s normal or not I was just incredibly amused at her dramatic behaviour.

Following this whenever she offered drinks she always had the same behaviour. She seemed to fancy the guy sitting next to me though? Maybe I was a “dumb” tourist? lol

Now I’m all sorted for my next flight, I don’t feel too lost as I know where my next gate is. Quite new for me this is, all alone in a strange country and strange airport! But got 3 hours to kill here.

I’ve already given up on shopping……I hate it when sales staff approach me when I go shopping, and this experience is unreal! I feel like I’m getting stalked in every shop I go into! I’d heard stories about tourists getting treated differently than locals in Malaysia? While I was casually walking along looking at jewellry I even got a running commentry on what the gold was as I walked along…….felt a bit like I was on a bus tour!

So now I’m at a free internet booth thingy on a incredibly slow connection. Even my dialup puts this speed to shame!

But, I’m awed by the experience and feel quite proud of myself that I’m not that scared in a strange country (I’ve never been further than Auckland)!

The Netherlands – here we come!

I’m most of the way through packing and I can’t quite believe the time has come! I expect I’m probably not going to sleep well tonight. This is the first time I’ve gone away for so long and so far.

The last 2 weeks I’ve been busy making task lists faster than I could do the items on the list. But I’ve mostly gotten through everything, all the organisation I’ve had to do (along with having my lazy pregnancy snoozes from time to time 😆 ). Even though I think I’ve managed to make it in getting packed, it meant that I couldn’t make it to Sofie’s birthday dinner tonight. I feel sorry I couldn’t catch up with her but I knew I’d be cutting the line way too thin if I tried to go.

Even little things like photocopying important documents seemed to all add up. I feel better now though knowing that there are photocopies of things like my passport, credit card, licence etc all in trusty hands.

Still got a few things to pack and waiting for some washing to dry aswell. But at least my flight isn’t till 3.30pm which means I have a little time in the morning to make sure I haven’t forgotten anything! At least I’m not teaching in the morning, I was nearly going to do pump before going to the airport if we couldn’t get a fill in. Most people think I’m nuts! lol

I’m going to miss all my classes while I’m away and miss all my friends! But I’m REALLY looking forward to seeing Alex again……….even if it is cold. 😉  I can’t even begin to imagine what it’s going to be like when I first see him at the airport again. It’s the kind of thing you usually only read about.