Friday, November 6, 2009

Day 2: Tai Chi, Kampen and sleeps

Frans wrote:

5 Nov '09: Officially our second day in Europe but our first full day nevertheless. We all woke up at some unholy early hour thanks to the time difference and Karen suggested a bout of Tai Chi or Yoga or something.

Maxine was the wisest of all of us and declined but Evonka and myself would join in the fun. Karen showed 'The Moves' and we followed as good as we could. After the first sequence was finished Karen spoke these glorious words of salvation: 'If your body is telling you that you shouldn't do something then don't do it' ......and you couldn't see me for the cloud of dust........... Hey! Stop laughing! At least I gave it a go?!?

As planned we made our first trip in the local area so we all could get used a bit to the climate and local conditions. It gave me a bit more opportunity to play with all the gadgets in the Merc and try to find the switch for the cruise control. This car really has it all:

  • Seat warmers, pretty handy in this climate
  • Electric mirrors with a special button to fold the mirrors in

  • Build in Navigation

  • Build in Bluetooth, immediately connected to my mobile

  • Sunroof, not so handy in the middle of winter but great if you need to 'clear the air in a hurry'....esspecially with 4 of us in one car......

  • Parking sensors, they scream in unison each time I drive into our drive way... it is a 'bit' tight....

  • Automatic window wiper sensors, not so handy when a low flying goose shits on your window but otherwise really good

  • Radio with build in Traffic updates to warn you about the Dutch traffic jams

  • In car security alarms

  • Speed limitor and Cruise control (Discovered only on 6 Nov '09)

  • Electronic compass
  • In build computer for fuel consumption, travel distance, etc.
  • ...and a number of other thingys I haven't quite figured out.

We set off on the dyke along the river Ijssel and avoiding the major roads made our way to the old city of Kampen. This ancient city with its old wall and access towers is full of history and architecture and I was convinced my fellow travellers would admire this beautifull piece of the past and gaze in amazement at buildings dating back before Captain Cook's grandfather was born but alas.... the first thing that irresistebly drew them was a bloody shoe shop! .....God give me strength......

......continued on 7th of November:

In Kampen we strolled through the main shopping centre and drank koffie at the Hema, a Dutch chain of shops that sell common household goods, clothes and a few delicatessen. It is famous for their Hema sausage that they sell 'hot' straight from the boiling pot and can be eaten 'uit het vuistje'....out of your hand...

At the Hema we stopped for a Coffee and a snack and Maxine went looking for a toilet. I've always known that a toilet is an important utility in a woman's life and understandably so but travelling with 3 women it becomes REALLY important if you want to get some place in a day, trust me...

After some searching we located the toilets at the back of the Hema store and Karen and Yvonne were introduced to another Dutch custom, if you want to pee, you pay! The Hema toilets were the type where you have to drop a 50 cent coin into the locking mechanism on the door for it to open so the Hema stood to make 1.5 Euro from our Aussie travellers but with typical female ingenuity the three of them managed to get into the toilets on the one single coin! So much for contributing to the Dutch economy....

From Kampen we travelled to Batavia stad, there many hours was spend on checking out all the Factory Oulet Shops and where we had lunch at La Place restaurant.
I think we spend about 3 hours walking around there and I'm pretty sure I'm the only one who actually bought something... a mixed bag of chocolates...

From Batavia stad we drove to Leystad to briefly visit my sister Ruby. A cup of tea was had by all together with the usual biscuits and we admired Ruby's handywork on her car.

She purposely stuck large stickers of some animals on her car to avoid it receiving the same fate of her last car which was stolen and wrecked.

Obviously even joy riders don't get any fun out of driving a car dressed up like this.....

From Lelystad we travelled back home to our Chalet at the scherpenhof where a meal was prepared in a joint effort by the Ladies. One advantage of being the designated driver is that i don't have to cook or wash up, there must be some fringe benefits to this job.....


  1. The three of you going to the toilet on one single coin... I love that approuch... that is how we do it in Holland... even with strangers... just keep the door open for the next one. It is ridiculous to pay for the toilet, especially when it isn't cleaned after every visitor. Isn't it?

  2. Jolanda, PLEASE?!?! I'm trying to get this lot doing the right thing at every Alberts Corner and here you are encouraging them?!?