July 2010, Netherlands
7 July 2010
Three years ago in Mexico we met this fantastic family from
New Zealand. We hung out a lot with Geoff & Ann and their five
children who were traveling for a year through the USA and
Mexico in a travel trailer. We had never expected to see them again
this soon in Holland! They took another sabbatical and are going
to travel through Europe for about six months. They bought a
camper in England which fits them all seven.
We got them acquainted with Dutch traditions and sweets. But
also Indonesian food which has started to become a real Dutch
dinner. On their weblog
http://nieuwys.blogspot.com/ the kids were talking about '
the great Dutch feast'.
The next day we took them to the historic center of Maassluis
and let them pose in front of a Dutch windmill. We let them
taste a Hollandse Nieuwe (raw herring) in Hook of Holland and we
have fries and kroket (beef ragout rolled in
bread crumbs) while we watch to boats go by
to the port of Rotterdam. They loved everything except the
Beschuit with strawberries and chocolate
Tasting Dutch treats!
The Kiwi family in 2007 in Mexico with their travel trailer
The Kiwi family in 2010 in the Netherlands and their camper
This is the traditional way to eat raw herring....
12 July 2010
The fun part of buying a new house (read mobile home) with a ready
made garden are the surprises. Which color will the hydrangea bloom? And
what is this weird scrub going to do? The biggest surprise was an
enormous tree with velvet leaves who started to bloom with huge exotic
flowers! It turned out to be a magnolia tree who was blooming for the
second time this year.
13 July 2010
Our friends from New Zealand are still traveling
through the Netherlands and we loved to spent some more time with them. We met
again in the northern province Drenthe and had some lovely days together.
When it started raining during the barbecue we just moved to the garage.
Ten days later the family joined us for PJ's birthday and the next
day we took them to the center of Rotterdam. There we visited the cube houses
designed by the architect Piet Blom. The concept behind
these houses was that he tried to create a forest by each cube representing an
abstract tree; therefore the whole village became a forest.
PJ is getting a pedicure from Johanna
'Vla' is the favorite desert
Tree houses from Piet Blom in Rotterdam
24 July 2010
Redecorating the mobile home is taking more time
than expected. But it will turnout just as we like it.
30 July 2010
The last weekend with the Kiwi family, before they are heading
south. We went to the sailing flower parade. Along the canal we found a
spot and saw about 50 flat boats passing by. In the past these boats
were used to transport horticultural products to the auction
building. Now the boats are decorated with flowers, fruit and
vegetables. The theme of this year was 'Strange Birds'.
In the evening we drove to Rotterdam
for the 'The Battle
of Drums', four brass bands drumming for the golden drum. This event
is a warming up for the Rotterdam Summer Mardi Grass which will start
the next day. The four finalists departed on four different spots in the
city to end up at the center of town. On a stage they started the
musical battle against each other. At 10.30pm we call it a day and the
next day we read in the newspaper that the Earthquake Brass won
The Erasmus bridge (The Swan) light at night
31 July 2010
The Summer Mardi Grass (Carnival)
of Rotterdam started 26 years ago as a small scale party in the
center of Rotterdam, organized by the community of the Netherlands
Antilles and Cabo Verde, just like they did in their 'homelands'. But
nowadays all nationalities are joining the carnival and more than
900.000 visitors are watching the street parade. With thirteen persons
(six adults and seven children) we took the subway to the center of
Rotterdam and for two hours we watched the colorful parade go by. It was
hard for me to stand still with all the swinging music.
Laila is the Queen Summer Carnival 2010
A transvestite is posing for me
People from Bolivia
Silver eye lashes!
Dutch public toilet at festivals
After the parade....
August 2010, Netherlands
27 August 2010
We have visited our Belgium friends Patrick and Greetje in Oostende.
These travelers have interrupted their trip around the world for the
birth of their first grandchild. We have met Triek and Greetje in 2006
in Argentina and we traveled together for a while. Our Belgium friends
have built a beautiful vehicle with a very modern interior in which they
are traveling the world. Their camper is parked at the moment in
Malaysia. You can follow their trip on
|31 August 2010
I should not complain after the flooding in Pakistan, but August
in Holland was a very wet month. With an average of three times
more millimeters of rain (170mm) it was on of the wettest months
in years. On August 30 gusts of wind of 100 km per hour were
We noticed that, but fortunately our mobile home and new covered
deck survived the storms.
September 2010, Netherlands
The month of September was dedicated to the remodeling of our mobile
home. The blue color is fading and it got greener and greener inside.
Claudia enjoyed painting and tiling an old sideboard. This way she can
use the Mexican tiles.
The garden becomes really nice when PJ build a covered patio.
October 2010, Netherlands
Fall announces itself with fat spiders and mushrooms in the garden.
It is time to fly back to the USA and
December 2010, The Netherlands
On December 17th we get the sad news that the partner of PJ's dad has
passed away. We exchange the tropical Mexico for a snowy Holland.
On the plane from Detroit to Puerto Vallarta, we are
with only 27 travel companions, so we had lots of space. In Detroit, we were
told that only passengers with Amsterdam as their final destination are allowed
on the plane! We were lucky because 90% of passengers had to stay behind!
Without delays we arrived to a snowy landscape and stumble at the airport
on the stranded passengers and see corridors filled with abandoned suitcases.
What a weird experience when we hear
knocking on our door and PJ finds a white goose on our doorstep!
On December 30th we flew back to
April 2011, Netherlands
29 March - 24 April 2011
Our house has not been rented since December 15th, which is
our basic income. Something has to been done about it. We are not
satisfied with our broker and we decide to fly back to Holland earlier
than planned and work on our house ourselves. After a major cleaning,
painting, replacing a water bed for two single beds, new laminated floor
in one of the bedrooms and some wall paper our house is ready for new
renters. We contacted a different broker and he rents out our house
within two days! Till the end of December we have renters. We can leave
Holland and start traveling again without worrying about our house. In
July till half of August we planned to be home to enjoy the Dutch summer
in our mobile home.
June en July 2011,
|19 June 2011
My brother-in-law Harry died today of leukemia cancer. He became 60
years and was my brother Gertjan's partner for 28 years. I flew
home on June 16 and PJ came a week later to attend the funeral.
We stayed in Holland for six weeks and are living in our mobile
home. The summer is typical for Holland: rain, lots of rain.
We are having a great time with our friends and family. PJ tries
very hard to stop smoking.
to store our camper in Calgary, Canada and fly home on July 2nd,
but because my brother-in-law passing away the camper ended up
in the backyard of my cousin again in Utah. So we still have
this problem with our American visa: If you fly into the USA by
plane you have to leave the country within 90 days, but also by
plane to your home country.
If you fly into Canada you are allowed to stay 6 months and if
you cross a land border into the USA you can drive out of the
country within these 90 days, but you can go f.e. to Mexico,
without flying home first. Confusing? Yes it is!
We have bought a new flight ticket and are
flying on August 1st to Salt Lake City and fly out on October
11th from Calgary to our home country. We will stay home for two
weeks and fly back to Canada end of October. Then we will cross
the USA to Mexico.
October 2011 -
March 2012, The Netherlands
With an unreliable camper in Calgary we are just not looking
forward going back to Canada. PJ likes to invest his money 'in stones';
a house that we can rent out to foreign flex workers. Pretty soon we
find a nice house, close to the Rotterdam harbor. PJ buys the house and
we start working on it beginning of December. It takes longer than
expected (3 months) but when it is finished we are very pleased. We put
it on the rental market and within four days (!) it is rented and the
next evening the seven workers move in. We move to our other house that
has been rented for 14 years. This house is without renters at the
moment and needs some work. PJ wants to built a second bathroom on the
loft and two separate bedrooms. He is in the middle of the construction
when a real estate agent wants to come and have a look with a tenant.
The next day the broker called that his customer wants to rent it! We
now only have four weeks left to finish the house.
PJ is building walls
Three extra windows
fighting with wall paper
Tight here! (placing central heating)
Result on the loft: extra bathroom
For six weeks we are rebuilding our house in Maassluis. The
bare loft turns into two bedrooms, a laundry room and a bathroom
Just in time we are ready and the renters can move in.
Before the rebuilding
Placing a window
This is where the second bathroom will come
PJ is building walls
Claudia also helps...
Result: bathroom and one bedroom
Second bedroom with window
We move to our small mobile home
With the lack of wildlife around our mobile home I take pictures of
A duck feels at home in our bath tub
pool. She even lets her mate join her.
Finally we have decided on a date to
go back to Canada. Our camper has been stored on a field near the
airport. In the mean time it has frozen -2F, snowed and thawed again.
remains that after the
hugely expensive repairs
in Alaska, the engine
is still not functioning
properly and after the
remark of the mechanic
in Kamloops who said: "Make sure you
get rid of this truck as soon as possible"
we are eager to go back.
So in May we pick up the camper from storage, drive via
Yellowstone to Utah and the Dodge is replaced by a Ford. Claudia flies
back home after three weeks to find a secretary job for summer and PJ
plays around three weeks longer.
July and August 2012, Netherlands
Applying for jobs, applying for jobs and getting rejections....that
is what is happening to mee all summer. So I decide to give the outside
of the mobile home a make over.
entrance in 2010
entrance in 2012
garden in 2010
garden in 2012
3, 4 and 5 August 2012: Sailing
Flower Parade by boats
Nice sunset at the trailer park.