It’s only been a week since we last posted, but maybe this blog title is making you wonder if we’ve gotten into some trouble with the law, and are already trying to transition back to society. Or maybe the stress of the travel got the best of us and we were involved in some kind of intervention?
Nah. Our rental house is in a town called Halfway.
A week ago we checked out of our temporary apartment in Central Amsterdam and moved to Halfweg – the Dutch word for Halfway. It’s a charming, sleepy little town right on the train route in between Amsterdam and Haarlam. We can be in central Amsterdam in 15 minutes, which includes the 8 minute walk to the train station from our house. Or Harlaam is close by with another quick 15 minute jaunt. It’s a good house for us; comfortable living space, tons of natural light, three bedrooms, great internet and a neighbor with sweet (and quiet) dogs, and a neighbor husband who knows how to fix Zoe’s bike. But the house also has death-spiral stairs, although so far no one has been a victim. We try to ignore the floor that would be better as a bike path, and specifically the mystery of how said floor is supposed to be cleaned. Not my circus, not my monkeys.
The house comes with 4 bikes in various stages of disrepair. But there is a bike that Haley can tolerate and one that is good enough for me. Dan is having none of it and Zoe is another story because she’s a bit smaller. We took her to a bike rental store. The guy wasn’t sure what to make of our 30-day rental request and declared that it was cheaper to buy a bike and sell it back to him at the end of the month. When he threw in a new bell for free, Zoe was in heaven. So now the kids have transportation, and the icing on the cake is that the sun stays up until almost 9pm so it’s light for a huge part of the day. Halfweg is small with bike paths everywhere (that pretty much describes this entire country) so the kids are constantly OUTTA HERE!!! They love it. Haley wanders off on long bike rides and comes back with great pictures. Zoe ends up at the soccer field a lot where she’s trying to make friends, or she’s over at the neighbors offering to walk their dogs. The girls volunteer to go to the store a lot. Miscellaneous cash is regularly disappearing from our wallets to be spent on this or that at the store. Sugary foods are showing up in the kitchen at an equally alarming rate.
Overly Ambitious Bikers
The other day Haley offered to show me her favorite bike path. I was not about to turn down a rare opportunity to hang out with The Teen. From there we went for tea at a new cafe we discovered. At that point we were
bonding so much bored so we decided to bike down the road to Ikea. Google told us it’ll only take 18 minutes by bike. That sounds easy, right?
Well… the bike ride TO Ikea was fine, albeit a little cold. But we were a little “enthusiastic” about our purchases at Ikea and Haley was the only one with pouches on the back of her bike. So for her the ride home was a little exhausting. It was good for her, though. The girl needs to exercise. I put the new dish towels in my backpack, though. I’m generous like that.
We’ve done a few other excursions this week since we rented a car for a few days. We found a mall but declared it it was.. meh. Retail is not Holland’s strong point. By a WIDE margin. Spain was better and that’s saying something. Anyway, we did get a few clothing items for the girls for our annual family photos and a pretty new suitcase for me so it can’t be all bad. On our way to the mall we drove through Keukenhof, a town best known for their tulips. We were a bit unimpressed with the tulips there so we didn’t stop. We’ve been planning to be in this country at this time of year for 18 months, knowing we wanted to see tulips. Now we see them and they are … OK. We weren’t about to settle for that so we kept looking.
The next day we did a little more research and decided to hunt down more tulip fields so we headed north to a town called Anna Paulowna. We stumbled across some lovely fields of tulips along the way and once we reached the town we found an amazing botanical garden full of every variety of tulip you can imagine. We declared that this will be the spot for our 2017 family photos. We achieved our goal of seeing amazing tulips in The Netherlands in the spring. Bucket list item status: checked.
Like Venice But Not Venice
A few days later we drove to a town referred to as The Venice of The Netherlands. It’s a charming town called Giethoorn with most of the houses only accessible via canal and therefore boat. We rented a boat and explored the town. It was a pretty cold day but we had a good time. I was ready to hunt for an Airbnb in this area but Dan was like… NAH. He doesn’t like the cold.
Exit Husband, Enter Sister
I don’t often do a preview of blogs to come but this time I’m just too excited: My sister arrives tomorrow for a 10 day visit. This coincides with Dan taking a trip to the USA. He thought I’d appreciate the company while he was gone and he was right. So the next few blog posts will be all about Girls Gone Wild in Amsterdam. You don’t want to miss it.