A Travellerspoint blog

Where to? What to do?

Reporting from Düsseldorf


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School's been out for a week now. We are finding our holiday legs. Enjoying the relaxed mornings. The kids have had a few sleepovers and playdates. We've had a few barbecues and drinks. Report cards and farewells are slowly fading into a distant memory. We have seven weeks left, stretching ahead of us. Where to? What to do?

Some of the requests from the children include:
I want to go to Legoland.
Swimming, we have to go swimming.
I'd like to camp again.
Can we take the iPods?

Some of the thoughts from the adults include:
Let's go somewhere we haven't been before.
We really should see more of Germany.
We need a challenge.

So: Where to? What to do?

Tomorrow we are heading off to Hamburg. We are trying something new, and staying in an AirBnB apartment. It has free parking and suggested it was good for children. It has 4 real beds, sleeps 6 and is priced right. And free wifi. We are there for 3 nights.

Then we are heading to Billund. Hmmm - what's there? Google it! Or watch this space!!

Posted by aboo10 02:28 Archived in Germany Comments (1)

Brussels and London

Reporting from Düsseldorf

sunny 15 °C
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So after a few quick days at home, changing clothes and sleeping in our own bed, and driving our real car... we headed off on the next stage of our Spring Break... a train to Brussels.

Brussels was gorgeous. We stayed in a Novotel, and split the kids - one with us, and one with Mum and Dad. The hotel was just off Grand Place, which was stunning. Overwhelmingly stunning. We checked out the churches, the mussels, the Mannekin Pis statue, and the beers. And some chocolate. Was perfect!!
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Then after two nights, we jumped on the Eurostar and headed to London for my little nephew's christening. Once again, the whole of my side of the family was together again, with Mum and Dad, all of us staying at my sister's house. The christening was at their house, and was a sweet little service, followed by a sumptuous BBQ reception. Great chance to also get my brother-in-law's family together, so very special for them having both sides of the family all together.

We left Mum and Dad in London for a week, because sadly it was the end of the Spring Break and we had to get back home to go to school. It had been a great 2 weeks - full of activities and seeing so much.

Posted by aboo10 11:14 Archived in Belgium Tagged churches children london belgium uk brussels train_travel family_travel Comments (0)

Road Trip (Part 2)

Reporting from Dusseldorf

semi-overcast 13 °C
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OK - so it's no secret... I'm catching up on blog posts now that school's out for the summer holidays... I had done the first part of this trip, with Mum and Dad in the family truckster... so now here is the second part.... Belgium....

So we left Delft, to head to Ypres, or Ieper in the Flemish West Flanders province of Belgium. Again, the drive wasn't too far, only about 3 hours. And we enjoyed the countryside, were stopped for a while by a bicycle race passing, and then eventually got into the town. It was cute. We drove through the Menin Gate to find our hotel. It couldn't have been in a more convenient spot - just down a tiny side street, right opposite the In Flanders Fields Museum. So once again, Mike unloaded the car and us and then drove it off to park... not too far away this time.
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We found a quick place for lunch, but were admiring the chocolate shops and cute cobbled streets, and adorable buildings. And working out what we needed to explore! The purpose of our visit to Ypres, was largely to hear the Last Post - which is played by buglers from the Ypres Fire Brigade in the Menin Gate Arch every day at 8pm, come rain, hail or shine, since 1928!! Ypres occupied a strategic position for both sides in WWI, and the town was pretty much destroyed.
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The main square and Cloth Hall (now In Flanders Field Museum) were painstakingly reconstructed, and are gorgeous now. Ypres in known now as the City of Peace, and thrives on a tourist trade of visitors curious to see remnants of WWI. Including us. We went on a tour with a British group, to see the Commonwealth War Graves, German trenches and several sites of key significance in various battles and also within the history of Ypres. We loved the In Flanders Field Museum as well, and it told many personal stories of the effects of war and was very well done.
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We then headed back home to Düsseldorf for a few days to wash clothes and celebrate Easter... before the next bit of the holiday!! The kids and Mum and Dad played games in the car, ranging from eye-spy to making sentences up using number plate letters... we all enjoyed travelling together and driving in one big car made so much sense!!

Posted by aboo10 06:49 Archived in Belgium Tagged buildings children history family_travel Comments (0)

Road Trip (Part 1)

Reporting from Dusseldorf

semi-overcast 10 °C
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The countdown has been on since we left Australia after Christmas for the Easter holidays, when Mum and Dad would be coming to visit us again in Dusseldorf. Their trip flew them into Amsterdam, where they arrived 2 days before school broke up for us, and so gave them the opportunity to get over their jet lag. My sister and nephew went to Amsterdam from London to meet them, and we drove over to join them on Saturday.

We hired a family truckster, so that we could all travel together. And we picked it up early on the Saturday morning, brought it back to our house to pack and set off in order to be in Amsterdam for dinner. We had a great drive, and settled in at our hotel. Mike took the car back out to the edge of Amsterdam to a Park and Ride carpark, so that we weren't lumbered with excessive parking fees for the few days we were there. We stayed in Museumplein, and were booked into 3 hotels all a stones throw from each other. It was great.

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Over 20 years ago, Mum, Dad, Marnie (my younger sister) and I had visited Amsterdam, and we had cocktails in the American Hotel and Rijstafel for dinner at Puri Mas. Remarkably, Puri Mas is still there, and Dad was delighted to take us all back for Rijstafel again, this time with families in our entourage! Rijstafel is an Indonesian tradition, which is very popular in the Netherlands due to the Dutch explorers bringing it back years ago!

We spent our spare day in Amsterdam, visiting the Rijksmuseum, and of course the Night's Watch is most impressive. We also spent some time searching through the museum to find the Hartog Plate, which had been hammered to a tree in Western Australia by Dirk Hartog, a Dutch Explorer, in 1616 - some 150 years ahead of Australia being discovered by Captain Cook. Marnie and her family headed home on Sunday night, but it had been wonderful to have the whole extended family together!!
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The next day, we had a luxuriant buffet breakfast in the restaurant of the American Hotel, where Mum and Dad were staying. I was impressed because next to the juices, was self pour champagne! Then Mike headed out to collect the car, and came back to pick us all up, on the start of our family road trip. It was really only a short drive because our next stop was Delft, only a 2 hour drive from Amsterdam.

We were staying in a quirky eco-hotel, that we stayed in last time we were in Delft. We thought Mum and Dad would be intrigued by it a bit too, they were in a themed room which looked like they were by the beach, and we were in a room decorated like a, hmmm, like a cow. We again had a bunk bed, which delighted the kids. We visited the famous Delft pottery workshops, and Didi asked the tourguide some relatively sensible questions, showing that he was making connections to things he heard. Our plan for Delft, was to visit Keukenhof - the famous tulip gardens in the Netherlands. Although it was a bit early in the season it was spectacular. Especially the tulips in the greenhouses. The theme this year was van Gogh's 125th anniversary of his death, and there were scenes set up that visitors could interact with to be part of his artwork. Stunning and truly wonderful. We went to Keukenhof last year, and I promise we will be there again next year!!
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Posted by aboo10 05:38 Archived in Netherlands Comments (0)

Sunny days by the Amalfi Coast

Reporting from Dusseldorf

sunny 25 °C
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So the mystery destination was a flight to Naples, ending up in a small resort near to Sorrento, but up in the hills. Nothing is technically very far away, we are less than 100km from Naples airport, but that is a bit over a 2 hour drive thanks to thin winding roads. We arrived, and picked up our hire car, and got on the way. We had brought our trusty GPS from our own car as we knew we didn't then need to hire one! Once we were out of Naples, we hit bumper to bumper traffic, and the car was brought to a stop, and idling on the hills and corners frequently. We were edging along, not seeming to be moving far at all, when suddenly a snort of steamy smoke came out of the car.

We eventually got to the hotel - gorgeous spot. Woke up the next day to realise we were overlooking Isle of Capri. And with a lovely pool in the sunshine!! Mike had arranged for our hire car to be collected, and he had to return to Naples to get another! So the kids and I lazed by the pool for hours until he returned!

The next few days were jam packed with exploring the tiny towns along the Amalfi Coast, and enjoying pasta and pizza, probably a bit too much! We went to an amazing free flight bird show, and were the only people in the audience. The bird keepers had Jie Jie from the get-go, and she was holding out her hand to pat soft barn owls, donning the glove to let a huge hawk land on her arm, and running around with a pretend rabbit for a bird to swoop in on! We were in awe, and the setting was stunning. As we left they gave us a bag of warm, fresh figs to take back to our apartment to enjoy as the sun set with parma ham and prosecco! Tough life.

We went on a tour out to the Isle of Capri - next life I think I will stay out there, with my yacht moored. We had a lovely swim in the sea there. So refreshing.

Then home, via a night in Delft, and a wonderful night catching up with old friends from Shanghai!! We stayed in a quirky little hotel, our room had a double bunk tucked away, and the room was decorated showing the food chain from a forest scene. Very cute... think we'll come again!! Delft was a cute little town, that I think we could visit again... more to explore there!!

And I have now turned 40!!! What a holiday!!

Posted by aboo10 05:28 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

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