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Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Netherlands 2012: The trip and first two days

Hello again folks. I'll skip the lack of posts platitudes and just get right into the new things :). First though, there aren't any photos in this post. I'll put up another post with photos later - I still need to take them, and I plan on doing so post trip to City Hall to find out and sign up for some Dutch classes.

The trip here was ok. There were a few babies on the flight, fortunately only one was a serial crier. And bonus for me, my travel meds kicked in and I managed to get some sleep :). Our flight was an evening one, so that helped quite a bit. Oddly it didn't really feel like we were going, not even when we were at the airport. It only felt real once we landed in a very wet and cold Amsterdam 0_o. Schiphol is huge, and it was a good 10 -15 minute walk from where we disembarked to get to passport control. Only once we were done with passport control could we go to the baggage collection area. We were lucky and got picked up by a taxi ordered for us by Jerall's company. The car ride to Den Haag was a bit shorter than a trip from Cape Town to Stellenbosch.

One of Jerall's work colleagues had the key to our flat as she's two doors down from us - it'll make more sense once I have photos. The flat is well sized, and spaced, it just has a million doors and weird brown/burnt orange/burgundy colour. It took a while for the central heating to kick in, but when it did we were very glad for it. I'd packed us a summer wardrobe, with a hoodie each...it was a big mistake. It's been colder here than winter at home right now. The talk is two more weeks of this, and then great summer weather. Fortunately we'd each had a jacket with us on the trip here, so walking around outside isn't that bad.

After a shower, and a little unpacking we headed out to find lunch, and do some grocery shopping. Jerall's colleague T was off, and walked around with us for a little while. She showed us the closest stores, and where Centraal - train, bus and tram station - is. Also passed on some info about bus and tram routes. Having someone around who knows some of the tricks for getting around certainly helped a lot. We're going to need to get Dutch bank accounts as there are some shops that don't accept cash or credit cards, only debt cards. Fortunately we've not encountered it yet, but the canteen at Jerall's office only takes those cards so it's a must. Our wandering around on the first day lead us to a great coffee place :). Although walking around and seeing the menus for some places is scary, mostly because I'm always doing conversations. There'll be no sushi eaten here :(. That said microwave/oven meals are darn cheap 2 - 5 Euro each, for tasty filing meals :). Not to forget the broodtjies, this place is carb lovers’ heaven.

Yesterday we had to go register at the municipality - we're legal aliens *queue Sting :)*. We decided to walk as the weather was playing along, it took us about half an hour to get there, and we didn't get lost on the way there or back :D. We did however get lost on the way to Jerall's work. In the end he decided to just take the bus, and save walking there for when T is back at the office tomorrow. Once Jerall left on his bus, I just walked around. I found Chinatown, saw some dim sum places to try out, and just wandered around. I found a store that reminded me of Mr Price Home, but they had some grocery things as well, and bought a Hup Holland mug. The flat only has two mugs, and we decided buying a mug or two for use wouldn't be a bad idea provided it had something to show it was from the Netherlands so it could be a trip reminder item as well. I got a few more groceries, but hit a hick-up trying to buy washing powder and dishwasher blocks, my Eng-Dutch dictionary on my phone wasn't very helpful. My trip home from the store though wasn't that great, I got lost, but then just remembered to head towards Centraal and I could find home from there.

So far it's been pretty good, although I really, really need to get some more Dutch going on. Afrikaans helps you read things in Dutch, but using it to try and communicate with...it's not that great. Now I'm off to sign up for some classes, take some photos and get info on joining the library. :)


  1. Oh everything sounds so new and interesting. I'd love to be able to do an extended trip like this and explore all the little nooks and crannies of the city.

  2. It is new and interesting :). Agreed, an extended trip is a great way to really get to know a city. Hopefully you get to go on an extended trip soon :).


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