Category Archives: Holidays

Meivakantie in pictures

After falling in love with Texel during the May holidays last year, we decided to make it a bit of a tradition and went back this year. And we fell in love with this beautiful island again, with its dunes and beaches and sheep and lighthouse.

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Short break on the way up to the lighthouse

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SO windy up here

We visited Ecomare, a museum and sanctuary for preservation of Texel’s nature and animals. They rescue seals and porpoises (bruinvis) and then either release them back to the sea or keep those who can not go back.

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Bruinvis, neither brown nor fish

One of my favourite things about Texel are its dunes. We took long walks through several of them, the quietness, the beauty, the scents are out of this world.

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Una and I ran our first race! We ran 1km together and then a few hours later I ran my first 10km. After my first infamous attempt at running with other people I was so nervous I would get lost again. But as this was the most popular annual race in Delft, there were so many people so I was safe. The atmosphere was great, the public was cheering us on all the way, from the Old Town, all the way Delftse Hout and back.

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Who says you can’t have ice cream before a race?

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And then, the last weekend of the holiday, Auntie Louise came to town. She was here for only a few days but we tried making most of it. We ate our weight in the South African delicacies Louise brought with: biltong (Mark), rusks (I) and Louise reciprocated by indulging in the best Holland offers – stroopwaffels. The kids LOVED having her around and they sure spent enough quality time with her, given that they would start around 5am by storming into her room and only leave her alone having passed from exhaustion late in the evening. I am sure if she ever sees Lego Star Wars again, she will run screaming. Louse has been to NL quite a few times already, so she’s done most of the touristy stuff but this is the first time she came when Keukenhoff is open, so we couldn’t miss the chance. We were lucky with the weather that day (Louise was still wearing her winter clothes though :)), the tulips although past their prime were still in full bloom, the kids were happy and full of energy, all in all a lovely day.

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Tulips, tulips everywhere

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Who is this boy and where has my baby gone?

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Say what? You call this WARM weather??

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Genetics is fascinating

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Una was so fascinated by the flowers, the photos below are all taken by her.

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Christmas staycation 2014

This year we decided to stay home for Christmas, both Mark and I took two weeks off during the kids holidays. And it has.been.awesome. The goal for the holiday was, as a friend of ours nicely put it, to do as little as possible. We have been leaving the house on a regular basis, day trips, museum visits, quick trips to town for coffee, hot chocolate and Christmas shopping, long overdue dinner out with friends but most of all we have been resting at home, cooking, eating, playing, and just enjoying being together.

And a couple of photos from when we did decide to leave the house…

Kinderboeken museum (Museum of children books) visit

This is definitely my all time favourite place for children in our area. The museum is in Den Haag, which means a short train ride for us, which in itself is always a big adventure for the kids. The museum has two fixed expos, one for younger children, age 3-6, Kikker en Haas, which is just beautiful, and the bigger one for older children (7+) with tons to do and see, all books related of course. We go there often and the kids love it.

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Rupsje nooitgenoeg (The Very Hungry Caterpillar)

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New expo about letters “ABC met de dieren mee” (ABC with animals)

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Nestor was more interested in the hiding and climbing opportunities than the actual content but I guess that means that the people who created the expo did a good job

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A big hug for Kikker (beloved character from the children series by Max Velthuijs). One of the expos is Kikker en Haas and it is phenomenal.

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Christmas day

The pictures speak for themselves I think, we had a lovely, easygoing day at home, with lots of food, playing, chilling together.

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Nestor was happy enough to pose with the Christmas stockings but visibly anxious to open the “big” gifts.

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A “death by chocolate” type cake, Serbian style, proudly decorated by Una

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Christmas lunch…

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and what we all did afterwards…

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Cheating a bit – it snowed two days after Christmas

Kasteel De Haar (Castle De Haar), the largest and most luxurious castle in The Netherlands.

We went to this castle when Una was a toddler and thought now it would be a good time to do it again, given Nestor’s obsession with knights and dragons and swords and stuff. And indeed, as soon as we stepped into the gardens and he saw the castle in all its glory, his eyes lit up and he cried: “I dreamed about this, a castle like this one!” And now during the school holidays they had a special tour for children, “Fairy tales of De Haar” (Sprookjes van De Haar). As much as Nestor was fascinated by the outside of the castle, Una was taken by the tour and princess hunt, and the role she had in it (she got to wear a tiara!) Unfortunately it is not allowed to take photos inside the castle, so all we have are photos of the gardens and outside.

 

 

 

 

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Una was proud of her role as the map navigator

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The entrance

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A selfie

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The castle gardens

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The castle door

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Still in charge of navigating

Tomorrow is the New Years Eve and we have a full day of cooking planned. We are  going to our friends’ house for the evening, the plan is to let the kids (ours and theirs) stay up until they fall over, eat, drink, play Catan and be merry.

Happy New Year, may it be a great one, full of love and laughter!

 

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Long weekend in Texel with Auntie Wees and Uncle Deon

Last weekend Louise and Deon made the first stop on their European journey and came to visit. The kids were SO excited as they’d been counting down days to their visit, Una even had a little calendar on our family board where she would erase one day every morning for a month. Nestor’s enthusiasm *may* have been additionally fueled by the promise of a blue robot Auntie Wees made. Very quickly the kids picked their “favourite”, as you can see in the first two pictures and Louise and Deon spent the weekend playing, entertaining, cuddling, wrestling and whatever it is that aunts and uncles do that makes them so special in children’s eyes. We went to Texel together, an island in the north, which we ignorantly dismissed before as a place where stingy Dutchies, not willing to spend their euros to go somewhere where the sea is actually warm, go. What an injustice. The island is beautiful, an oasis of calmness, greenery, lovely architecture. And of course, mud walks. We could not do the full “wadlopen” experience as the kids are too young for that (you walk up to your knees and higher in mud), but we did the “droogvaltocht” where you get on a boat, get dropped off in middle of the Waddenzee (part of the North Sea) during low tide, spend an hour walking around, looking for all kinds of sea creatures and hoping with all you’ve got that your boat really does come back, otherwise within a couple of hours you’ll be 1.6m under the freezing North Sea water. The boat did come back and we made it to the harbour safely. The whole weekend was lovely, we walked, ate sea food, had a picnic on the beach, ran along the beach. Una got sick on Sunday so I stayed in with her while the rest went to explore the dunes in the west part of the island. After that we headed home, spent more than 2 hours waiting in the queue to board the ferry which we effectively used to deplete the food reserves we had in the boot. Monday came sooner that we liked and goodbyes had to be said. Louise and Deon are off to their next adventures, motorbike races, volcano photographing and Vatican exploring, which are all undoubtedly more exciting than Texel but all the hugs and kisses and memories made even it out. Stroopwafels help too :).

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Building Lego together

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Reading together

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Drooling over the yachts together

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Their father and I barely saw them that weekend really

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The island is so peaceful, you can’t help it but relax

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Freezing their fingers in Waddenzee

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Every child needs an uncle to teach them stone skipping

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Picnic on the beach by the lighthouse

 

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Mudflat hiking light (“droogvallen”)

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Una was absolutely fascinated by the sea life we found

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Nestor was providing live entertainment to the whole group. At one point he yelled on top of his voice: “Daddy, I found something special!! I found a craP!” (he meant a craB)

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Duinen van Texel

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Day 83

Today I am grateful for the slow Wednesday morning. Una is on holiday this week, so we all slept later than usual since she doesn’t have to get out of the door at 8am, had a long breakfast and when Mark went to work the three of us got on the bikes and went to town, ran some errands and had ice cream at 10am in the morning. It’s never too early for ice cream, right?

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Day 82

Today I am grateful for friends who are brave enough and crazy enough to take four children (their two plus our two) to an amusement park for the morning. They survived and came back to tell the tale.

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Day 71

Today I am grateful for the way our Easter eggs turned out this year. They were all done before midnight and with no explosions so I call it a success.

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South Africa in pictures

Because there is no better way to describe it.

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