14-16 April ’04 Wed, Thur, & Friday. First off WE HAVE OUR CAMPER VAN !!! We picked up “Bumble Bee” on Wednesday afternoon. The paper work was not what I had expected. A short but concise purchase and sale agreement and transfer of title. Done ! We had noticed on one of our train trips that Ikea was in the area so we ask for directions and headed out to see if they had any thing we could us for our van. It also gave us a chance to drive the streets, use a map under driving conditions, watch for bicycles, and or course pedestrians all at once. It was about what you would expect. A lot of yelling and cursing on our part and only one finger on other drivers part. We did find a few things at Ikea, It took us 3 days a lot of gas and headaches but Bumble Bee Goldie is ready for action. I (Louise) have this awful cold that just wants to hang on, so as you can imagine, I’m not easy to get along with. We are cooking in our home now. So far so good. The hard part will be not buying too much food. As we have very little space and the frig only works when we are hooked to electricity. This camp ground is okay, not as clean as I would like, but it works. It is costing us about $18. euros a day. Laundry costs 6 euros to wash and dry. Food costs are about the same as home. Dutch is a strange language, and it is impossible to figure out what some foods are. The homes are beautiful some with thatched roofs. We are in the country with lots of horses, cows and sheep. Of course with all of the canals there are lots of ducks and chickens. Today we are going into town to use the internet and sight see a bit. The weather is still warm and sunny. Should be 20 C to day.
To Utrecht and
12 & 13 April ’04. Monday & Tuesday. The flight was uneventful with the exception we had a far amount of turbulence while flying over the Med. Arriving in Paris we were anticipating a struggle like we had when we were last here but, it didn’t materialize. They are going through a huge change and remodel of their terminal. Our arrival in Amsterdam was a little early. A quick go through the baggage claim and we were out to find our train to Utrecht. We definitely learned from our last time here and found the right train at the right track, made the right transfer and got off right were we were supposed to. NICE JOB !!! Taking our bags we walked to Donna’s to see it our VW Camper Van was waiting for us. Well, it wasn’t. First we found out today is a “Second Day of Easter” holiday, and second, it just wasn’t ready for some --- reason. We knew we would be spending a night in a B&B tonight but right now I’m not too sure how much longer we may have to extend. We definitely will find out more in the morning!!!! Well we had walked from the train station to Donna’s and then on to the B&B so after checking in with this little lady who’s home we will be staying, we headed off to have a cool one (or two). The first place we found was a small neighborhood pub that was sooooo smoky that we couldn’t get out fast enough. The second was a pub that catered to the “yuppies” of Utrecht and we had a great time. We had a chance to visit with a young couple that introduced us to a great “starter”. I can’t tell you what it’s called, but it is a deep fried ball of gravy meat mixture that you dip into a mustard mix. It was great!!! Well a long walk back to the B&B and get ready for bed. We started this day at 2:50am and it is still very light out at 8:30pm but we are still going to “hit the rack”.
Tuesday. Goodnights rest, a continental breakfast, and we were out the door to Donna’s to get the latest on the van. Boy, after being in Egypt and having all the bright sun and hot to hotter days we are just a bit chilled this morning. One more thing to get used to. I’ve really had some negative thoughts about our dealing with her since I tried to get some answers from her through an email 2 weeks ago. Louise is not worried and is doing her best to keep me in line. Donna said this morning that all the “work has been completed” but has to go in for the road worthiness check up this morning (APK). Sooo, Louise and I headed into town to arrange for the bank transfer and hit the Internet Café to see if we had any news from home. We have really been fortunate in having so many friends and family keep in touch. Will B, Bruce R, & Rakesh Gandhi from India to name just those we heard from today. We thank all of you who keep in touch. Well after spending a day walking Utrecht window shopping we ended by going by to see Donna once more. She didn’t have the van certified yet but tomorrow morning is a sure thing….
We made it to EUROPE !!!!
15 March ’04. We departed Seattle at 1:25 and arrived in Amsterdam 9 hours later only it just happend to be 0725 in the MORNING and we got a cat nap of about 30 minutes on the plane. As we looked out of the window of the plane on final we quickly noticed just how flat the countryside is. Texas is flat but Amsterdam is not only flat but it is below the sea level too. There are little to large canals everywhere. The large are no more than maybe 150 yards wide and the smallest about 5 yards. After we went through customs (that was a breeze) we entered into the main part of the airport which is like walking into any large SHOPPING MALL in the states. There is even a casino with slot machines and everything a gambler could want. What ever you might want to find is right there for you to spend your money on including groceries. A walk through the mall and you will find the trains that will take you just about anywhere you might want to go. Louise went to the ticket counter and bought our tickets to Utrecht and they told her it would be a direct ride and would take about 1 hour. Being very pleased about that, we could just about imagine what it would be like to get to our hotel and take a nice quiet nap before going out exploring the area. Well you might have guessed it already, but it wasn’t exactly like that, now was it? We did find where the train was to stop, we did SEE the train and it was stopped and we? thought it wasn’t the right train as it wasn’t supposed to be there for another hour. Well, to make this a little shorter, we finally did get onto a train, it went one way and then for some on known reason it went back….TO WERE WE STARTED!!! We then got back onto another train and it took the SCENIC ROUTE all the way to UTRICHT!!!! Well, what would you expect, we were tired…..
After departing the train and finding a cab we finally made it to our hotel and I gave the cab driver a 5 Euro tip (just felt like it). Walking into the hotel and finding our room to be “comfortable”, we had to pack our luggage up two flights of the STEEPEST stairs I think I have ever encountered. Now most of you have no idea how heavy our luggage is. Keep in mind we have packed “light”, and what we brought is what we expect to use, wear, and what ever for the next TWO YEARS!!!! Well, we got the luggage set in and it was too early to go to bed as we were not too late into the afternoon and we would most likely sleep into the early morning and then what…. So we went out and walked this wonderful town of Utrecht….Very nice I must say. We did finally go to bed about 5or 6 PM and did wake about 9 and then at 11:15 went back to bed and slept until 7 this morning. Now after having breakfast here we are heading out to see “GOLDIE” for the first time in her glory.