Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Dutch weekend

I made a last-minute solo trip to the Netherlands this weekend because Hester was free, the weather forecast for Monday was good, the tulips were in bloom, and Monday was King's Day!

Sunday I travelled to Voorburg and Hester's family took me on a drive to Gouda and to see the polders and windmills.

These first few pictures are of the town of Gouda.

Hester and her mom, Catrine

The polders are the low-lying areas protected by dikes. Narrow roads run on the dikes. This is also an area of the Netherlands with lots of windmills.

stork in nest
 King's Day is the annual celebration of the King's birthday (though it was Queen's day until last year!). It is a national holiday. Children use the holiday to set up tables to sell their stuff, using money to then buy other kids' stuff. It is like a big national garage sale.

The traditional treat for King's day is the Tompouce, iced orange in honor of the House of Orange.

On Monday Hester, Marius and I went to Keukenhof. We rented bikes and rode through the tulip fields and also visited the park. It was a beautiful day!

Wednesday, 22 April 2015


We were very lucky to have beautiful weather our first day on Santorini. We visited to a black sand beach where it was warm enough to wade if not to swim.                                                                                 (Gail's note: Mom says, "warm enough to wade," when she dipped a toe in and said "That's cold. I'm not wading in that." True to her word, she leapt backwards anytime a wave came anywhere near her toes.)

We went to Fira and explored some, hiking down to the water and then taking the cable car back up. Unfortunately the museum we'd hoped to visit was closed and the traffic was terrible in the city. We drove on to Oia, where we were staying. We had a little trouble finding our hotel, but as elsewhere in Greece, people are amazingly friendly. A café owner called our hotel to find out where it was. I was a little worried as it was on the "wrong" side of the road, but it turned out to have a terrace with a gorgeous view of the caldera. I spent a very happy afternoon in the sun reading and eating cookies. 

View of Oia from Fira
From our "veranda"

We had dinner at a great Thai restaurant (really!) called Paradox and then went to watch the sunset, which is the big event of the day in Oia. It was gorgeous. We went back to the restaurant as we'd promised Gail fried bananas (Gail's note: Yum!), and the restaurant owner said they were on the house! The food was so good that we went back the next day.

Wednesday, our last full day in Greece, was somewhat stormy and very cloudy. We still enjoyed walking a bit on the path between the towns, walking around town, and having a fish pedicure. It's good to do something utterly silly while on vacation.

Oia at night