United Kingdom, Netherlands · 6 Days · 10 Moments · August 2017

Tanya's Big Hare Journi in the Netherlands

19 August 2017

What more could I wish for! 😍
Changeable is the word for our last day. After four and a half minutes of sunshine (yes, real sun with blue sky), there was four and a half minutes of wind and then four and a half minutes of rain - and so it went on all day. I got switching from sunglasses to pink jacket and vice-versa down to six seconds! We took the opportunity in the sun to retake some pics 😎. There are lots of statues in Utrecht, in 2002 they had a referendum to decide what the next one should be - the Big Hare was selected (now that's what referendums should be about! 😂). And in the rain we revisited the best eaten & drinken places - perfect Thankfully 'changeable' wasn't the word for an uneventful journey home. They tell you in the departure lounge that there's 87% chance that your next destination will be sunnier than the Netherlands - well they don't put that on the Visit Holland site! 🙄 Utrecht is lovely, we've had a great holiday and I'd recommend it to anyone .. with a caveat to take a waterproof jack
There are many benefits to going away when it's not warm and sunny - you only need one shower a day; you don't need to faff with sticky suncream and constantly try to reapply without ruining your clothes; you don't need to walk round with litres of water; your companions don't get grouchy because they're too hot (of course they may still get grouchy for other reasons) and you don't need to get changed four times a day. So as we rise to another rainy day in Utrecht (our last day), I'm rejoicing at the pile of clean summery clothes we are taking home that don't need laundering - yay! 😀

18 August 2017

On our last night we found a nice bar which turned out to be a Bring Your Own Food place - we hadn't, so one drink and we left. En-route for dinner we popped to see Matt's apartment (memories of his 'quirky' Durham digs came back, so I was nervous). Well, all that studying paid off, the boy now lives in one of the smartest properties in Utrecht - he can almost touch the Cathedral and tower from his window. It is one of the most stylish apartments I've seen! Then back to our search for dinner. Like Goldilocks, we find a couple of restaurants too busy to fit us in, some not busy enough for us to want to stay and then we landed on a steak bar which was just right so we stayed and ate the lot 😋 Great evening, and 19,000 steps today - which I think should be doubled if you do them in the rain!
I'm officially changing the name of this trip to the Trip of the Big Hair. Even with shiny new pink jacket with hood my hair has grown about 10 feet wide - but I still faced stiff competition for the widest hair in Utrecht award .... from Karen. We have however had another lovely day, walking, eating (good breakfast pictured) and a trip down the canal on the tour boat. I managed one picture of Utrecht's famous landmarks from the tour boat - don't worry, we couldn't see anything either! After a couple of happy hours sat drinking rose wine and playing pass the pigs (games won - Martin x 2; Tanya x 2; Karen x 1) we're back at the hotel straightening our hair for the millionth time, before meeting Matt and his friend for dinner. Now what have I brought to wear that matches fluorescent pink .... hmmm

17 August 2017

You know if you like a city in the pouring rain it's a pretty cool place - well that's Utrecht. Obviously first stop is for something with a hood, it's a bit bright, so the Japanese keep following me thinking I was their tour guide. Eventually we find a good breakfast, then a rainy meander to chips and mayonnaise for lunch (when in Holland ...). The home-made mayonnaise was serve yourself - Martin served ours! Our afternoon walk took us to TripAdvisor's 3rd best attraction - a traffic light (it was a Miffy rabbit 🐰). We're picking up the lingo - just remove 'en' for English translation ie eaten & drinken is the place to eat and drink. Unfortunately it works on everything except food - so we haven't a clue when presented with a menu - hence chips for lunch as we could see them! Matt to the rescue for dinner, amazing Italian restaurant - platter starter pictured, ate everything else before remembered the camera! 😋 Asta la vista I suspect. BTW a spaceship landed in Utrecht.

16 August 2017

This is turning into an adventure. We arrived at Manchester airport and the familiar text ding went off - you've guessed, Flight Cancelled. The staff at Manchester, without any customer service skills, eventually booked us another flight to Amsterdam ... via Heathrow! And somehow in the process managed to take away our £5 food voucher and replace it with a £4.50 one .. err .. how did that happen?! Anyway, who doesn't love Terminal 5, good shops, good food and you don't need a brolly! We walked the c2 miles from plane to shops and an hour later did the same walk back on to the same plane for the next leg. So four airports and 13 hours later we finally made the 55 minute flight and landed at Schipol Airport. Matt's map helped us take the 'scenic' route to the hotel (good to get the city tour done early) which thankfully is lovely, albeit lots of low beams - bet Martin forgets that! A good burger & beer for dinner then 10 hours sleep - who knew doing nothing all day could be so tiring!
Well all six alarms worked, we picked Karen up on time and even with Martin's shortcut to the airport we arrived at the terminal 30 mins before check-in - don't worry we were still the first in the queue - phew! After a 15 mins wait THE text arrived ... Flight Cancellation. Picture Martin's face 😂 KLM have organised a taxi to Manchester airport and a booking on a flight 10 hours later, so not all bad - and the taxi almost passes our front door so we can pop in for anything forgotten 😀. We also have a £5 food voucher to put us on - again picture Martin's face, think his breakfast has already evaporated - ha, ha! Now let's check the weather forecast for our new visiting time .... ooh 😢

15 August 2017

Well, once we explained it's not a hotel to the kids (who seemed to want to sleep in!), we were all up, showered/bathed, breakfast-ed and out in good time for bowling (well obviously very early for bowling, but Martin was in charge of planning!). I thought it would be nice to let the little ones win so played a steady game, but Martin selfishly took the gold medal. Another trip to Piece Hall, lunch and a quick visit to A Karen's and we reluctantly dropped the kids home. Once we were home I packed frugally (Martin didn't), drank wine, watched two episodes of Corrie (only 9 left before I'm up to date), it feels like a perfect holiday 😎. Alarm is set for 5am - flight from Leeds airport is probably lunchtime but we don't want to be late - quick check of the forecast for Utrecht, yep rain, it definitely feels like our holiday! See tomorrow's update to find out if we make our flight ...

13 August 2017

Good food and great company at the Thai restaurant last night - and for probably the first time ever, the chilli sauce spilt down a shirt wasn't being worn by Martin! Today was a shopping day with Karen, so, after whipping up a quick chocolate and Guinness cake with cream cheese topping (guess who choose that recipe!) we were at the outlet for opening time and had a very successful day - obviously I can't reveal all that I bought, as Martin may read this! 😉 We had a good lunch too, as you can see from the pic 😋. Perfect end to shopping day was coming home and Martin was ironing - bless, he's my hero! 😇 Dinner tonight was a tour of Halifax eateries, most of which weren't serving anything to eat, but at least it gave us an opportunity to use the Pizza Express vouchers.