Strap yourselves in… biggest post ever!
Getting out of Germany.
Train from Munich to somewhere, all good.
Train from somewhere to somewhere else, all good… maybe a couple of minutes late but no worries.
Train from somewhere else to another place… CRAP, well once I got the train it was ok, but as the previous train was a little late, I missed the next train and had an hour wait till the next train. Grrrr. And my phone battery is low.
From another place to Eindhoven… WHAT??? Because the other train was late, I ve now missed another train by a minute. So another 30 minute wait, at least when I get to Eindhoven I can jump in Bec and Marc s car and get to their place quickly. Sent them a quick message letting them know my arrival time… then the phone died.
Eindhoven – waiting out the front of station for 40 minutes, Bec is normally a little late so that was expected and my phone was now completely flat and her phone number is in the phone. Another 20 minutes, I went into a shop asked politely if I could plug my phone into charge, nice girl said yes, got enough power to get Becs number, out to phone box, gave her a call. She had been waiting at the other entrance for an hour. Argh.
9 ½ hours after starting my trip it was over!
That night the catching up started, as Bec is my closest friend, and she got engaged to Marc (a Dutch doctor who wants to be a urologist), she now lives over here. I d met Mark for about an hour before they got engaged (literally, a few hours before), so was interested to check him out. It was good to really meet him properly, I arrived on Friday and he had the weekend off so it was all 3 of us for a couple of days. First night involved watching of the Footrott Flats movie, Bec and I amazingly have both got all of the Footrott Flat cartoon books and I sent her the DVD for her birthday. Not too sure what Marc thought of it, I think the language may have been a little too slang for his English. We also had a bit of cheese to eat, I bought some from Switzerland for them.
First day we went to a town, not sure which one, but it was a normal town, lots of shops not too exciting, but the main aim of my whole trip to the Netherlands was to really just catch up with Bec and Marc, and we achieved that by not doing a lot.
Marc is a bit of a gadget guy, likes his toys. He has a cool GPS that is used in the car and can plot and direct quickest ways to places as well as scenic ways to places. We took the scenic way back… not too sure if a few of those roads were really roads, but it was scenic. I did see a windmill and had my photo taken in front of it (but i forgot to download that off the camera, can you please email me it bec??? thanks!).
That night involved er… not sure, but we ate a lot of cheese.
Next day was the only day I saw hills in the Netherlands. We drive south to a little bit of Holland that is between Germany and Belgium, to where Marc s parents live. The plan for the day was to get out on the road, or bike path, on the Mopeds. I had been told a little bit about the Mopeds by Bec but didn t have a great idea of what it involved, I was thinking more along the Vespa kind of thing. The 1960 s PUCH mopeds were just little motor bikes, and lots of fun. I got the automatic and with the seat right down, I still could only touch the ground with one foot. Anyway, the 3 of us zoomed about the country side for quite a few hours, all the bike paths are usable by motorized bikes too, so I was only on real roads a couple of times. We stopped for ice cream and then tried to ride up a hill. My bike didn t have as much power as the others and couldn t get up the hill. Marc tried and failed too, so we had to set a new path with fewer hills.
My bike was also a push start bike, so it had to be rolling along to get it started. It s quite hard doing that with only one foot able to touch the ground. And this also added to the sore backside.
That night Marc s parents made a great big dinner for us, lots of meats and different sauces.
Marc had to go to work the next day, so bec and I wandered into Eindhoven, heading to the modern art museum. It was raining, and all the umbrellas were with Marc in the car. We got a little wet but nothing too bad. We took our time getting to the museum, stopped in a café for tea and coffee for well over an hour, and followed by lunch in another café for probably about an hour. Finally we got to the museum, which was closed. So what do you do in Holland when the museum is closed and you are a bit damp from the rain? You head back to Bec s to make Lamingtons.
We caught the bus back, and as we got the front door Bec had the revelation that her house key was actually on the other side of the door in the house. After a little bit of worry about the few hours we would have to wait in the rain for Marc to come home, we checked the backdoor, which involved climbing a quite tall fence. Once we were in the back yard we discovered that the back door was also locked! Another few minutes passed and Bec discovered we could break in, and it was successful!
So we made the sponge for the lamingtons, Marc came home, we watched another movie, Escape from Sobibor, a 1960 s movie about an escape from a concentration camp in WW2. We also had some cheese.
Another day followed where Bec and I wandered the streets, the museum was open and full off interesting and sometimes confusing art (A stick, 40cm long, painted red white and blue propped up in a corner). I really enjoyed the Picasso, if you are in Launceston, it will be up in my office when I get back (not the original, just a postcard… or is it!). The museum was interesting in itself, it operated right through the Second World War, and had a timeline of its history built into the gallery.
The rest of the day was filled with wandering through Eindhoven, which was flattened during WW2, and not restored to its former self after. So lots of 60s and 70s buildings about.
It was now time to finish the lamingtons, and surprise surprise we get home and Bec discovers her key is exactly where it was the day before. So around to the back, over the fence and into the house. Well, not really, due to the ease at which we broke in the day before, Marc had taken a little more heavy handed approach in locking the house. Consequently, we had a 2 hour wait for Marc to get home. No lamingtons were finished that night. We did have some cheese and a few beers, 2 each, but the beers are big here.
My last day arrived, Lamingtons were finished, Marc struggled with his hang over and seeing 20 patients in the morning, and Bec and I went for a little drive to find some iconic Netherlands locations that I hadn t seen yet, mainly the coffee houses and a sekhs shops (Can you figure out the translation for that?). After looking up some locations of the sekhsshops, we ventured out to find them, out of the 4 addresses we had, the first 3 were wrong, or maybe just mail order places, the 4th was the real thing, and quite lame really. It was next to a coffee shop, which we spend about 30 seconds in. But ticked them off the list.
That really sums up the whole trip to the Netherlands, next morning I was dropped at the airport and said bye to Bec and Marc, quite sad, the time I had with Bec was great. It s not often in busy lives you get to spend 5 days doing very little with close friends. Definitely a highlight of my trip to date.
Getting to Edinburgh.
Leaving Eindhoven was straight forward, no real different from usual security measures, apart from being padded down. London was a different story all together.
I checked in for my flight with heaps of time, no line either. Then to get through security. My hand luggage was too big and needed to be checked in. I always keep my laptop and camera things with me in my hand luggage and generally don t want them getting damaged. I ended up taking my laptop and camera in a canvas bag on board with all my lenses and everything else having to be checked into the fragile section. I packed the lenses in the only thing I had that was soft, a t shirt that I ve been carrying about (V!). At the other end I checked everything and it was all ok, luckily, I would have no idea what to do if anything was damaged.
Anyway, I flew into Glasgow on a cheap flight and then had to train over to Edinburgh, all good. Finished Wuthering Heights, and started into About A Boy (thanks Tori!).
First thing I see in Edinburgh is a bill board with my danny bhoy photo on it, i’ll post it when i download my cards next.
I ende up seeing 3 shows that night, Sarah Kendall, Charlie Pickering and Geraldine Quinn. All good in there own ways, I really enjoyed Charlie s show a lot, Geraldine s show was more a singalong for me as I know all her songs and love hearing her perform them. Sarah has some great material too. After having a couple of pints I ended up in bed about 1.
Next stop Pitlochry, for the wedding!