I’ve done it! I’ve finally caught up and written about the entire wedding time (except I didn’t actually write about the wedding, because well… it’s a magical time, with love all around and you had to be there, sorry).
We had guests for 2-ish weeks and we were busy, so I couldn’t write and entertain. The return to work then meant it took even longer to write.
Sorry to all the fans who thought I was single or something like that. Now it’s official. Married. Yep.
There’s even a little boy on the way. Yep. That’s the announcement.
So, you can start here:
When you get to the bottom of the post, click the next blog on the right hand corner “Stade II…” and repeat until you have read about my parents leaving.
That was the whole adventure.
I hope you enjoy the read!
Today didn’t go as planned. Ingrid decided to take her family to Keukenhof. They came back with mixed feelings. It wasn’t bad, from what they said, but there were some things that weren’t impressive either.
I went with my parents to pick up their rental car and we took a leisurely, scenic drive home. Picking up the car was a little bit of goodness. The car my parents had booked had not yet been returned, we got a free upgrade…. to a Mercedes! It was a bigger car, which made putting the luggage in easier. It was fast, I think I managed to get up to something like 200km/h on the Autobahn and it didn’t even sweat. We got a free GPS, I don’t think the rental company knew that. They asked if we had paid for a GPS, we hadn’t, so they didn’t add it as a charge. The GPS took a little while to program, but once we had the hang of it, it was a bit of brilliance too! Enough about the car, I cannot even remember what model it was, so it’s not like I’ll get any interest in terms of my review.
Groningen was our first stop on the way home and last town we’d visit in Netherlands while the parents were here. Groningen is a little, quiet, pretty place with the famous canals running through, old architecture and plenty of shopping, if one is so inclined. We found an Australian restaurant there! That was a surprise and it was almost too much that we walked in. We wanted to see if we could get something more like Groningen food, so we kept walking. Unfortunately I cannot remember the name of the restaurant. It was a hip little place, lots of old stuff around the place, most of it is for sale too. The menu was in Dutch. Turns out I could use my half German skills to translate enough for my parents. We ordered in English, I dared not try to talk German with a Hollandaise person, it’s a little too close to being offensive, I think. My parents both ordered toasties. I convinced my Dad to try a Rooibos tea. We were done and on the way back to the car before the parking ticket expired (we’ve had to pay that fee before and it’s a pain). Ingrid’s posse was still admiring tulips.
Emden: one of the cutest, little towns in North Germany. It is a town built around a bit of a port. There are always impressive ships moored, the sun shines on a large public space nearby which is surrounded by cafés and restaurants. We walked into a little shop because something bright caught the attention of my Mum’s eye. She ended up buying something for all of her grandchildren. I was acting translator, although the service lady seemed to speak a bit of English. She was quite old, it was impressive. We still had time to kill, if The Posse was to catch up with us. I asked for a coffee recommendation and we headed off. In this public space is a bakery run by a Turkish man, I believe. He was super nice. We sat by the window, drank our coffee, ate some cakes and watched the people outside. We then made a bit of a tour of the town, although most of the shops were closing by this point. It didn’t matter, Mum had spent enough. I showed the Rathaus (Townhall), some churches, some of the old buildings and some more shops. Returning to the car inspired me to also walk a little further. There were huge Finance Buildings and Council Offices not far from our parking place. It would be interesting to work there, in such history, although I suppose every work environment quickly becomes just another office…
It was getting late and I had to get up around 6am to go to work. We headed home to wait for The Posse. Our surprise for all of our parents, we had rented them their own house for the week. It would give both families time to know each other, my parents time to practise Spanish and Ingrid’s parents time to practise English.
It was something like 1:30-2am before we were all going to bed. That’s right, I went to work with 4 hours of sleep. Badass.
The drive to Amsterdam is along the coast of the North Sea. Wind turbines keep guard the whole way, turning majestic blades to power the country. No such beauty in Amsterdam. Traffic is intense and parking impossible. I jumped out of car and met my parents. We waited for Ingrid and her posse to represent – they had the task of finding somewhere to park. Today’s lunch was at Omelegg. Omeletts, a big business in Amsterdam it seems. After eating, I asked the waiter for a place to meet up and drink a coffee before beginning a night out in Amsterdam. The Posse had to get the car and check in to the hotel. It took hours. We, my parents and I, were sitting in a café and I had to remind my mother often to stop staring at the prostitutes on the other side of the alley. We moved on to the Science building to wait there.
The Posse returned but the access to the building was closed so the meeting point moved. Dinner was a bit of a let down, nobody was inspired. We ate at the restaurant in the library. The benefit was that we got a free dessert because they were closing for the night.
Carlos was pumped for a red light night but the Posse was uninterested. My parents retired from the group and slept for their last night in Amsterdam. We debated options to suit everyone. Carlos gave up and we all returned to our hotel. He’ll have to experience an Amsterdam night another time.
Saturday had us travelling to a tiny town called Hongerige Wolf, which is near the border, on the Netherlands side. We knew that a festival was taking place but had no idea what to expect. Hongerige Wolf is a tiny town near Groningen, it looked like there are maybe 30 houses on farms in total. What they do for the festival is open their fields for campers, open their barns for bands and get a few stages for DJs, bands and some performance art. Many of them also offer food and drink for a fee. It’s a great idea, surely it boosts the economy.
We saw a few singer songwriter duos and a few novelty bands. One such band play a variety of brass wind instruments and put on a bit of a show at the same time. The show appeared to be about two people who fell in love during the war, the man had to fight and was killed. The soldiers returned to the girl for some reason.
The performance art was funny and challenging, in particular because it was in Dutch. There appeared to be a show dealing with homo-sexuality and the feelings of loneliness and lack of acceptance that still exists. I think. There was a bit of nudity of course (it’s art!).
The food was diverse although dominated by all offers of soup. We declined. I had a falafel roll that was freshly made and delicious, later on I had an iced tea, also delicious. Ingrid had nachos, a toastie and a mango juice. You guessed it, all delicious too. Although I thought the juice was too sweet for me.
The night eventually ended with an African group who played a kind of reggae and dance music. It went on and on, we wanted to dance more but the body needed rest. We returned home around 3am.
I was writing a great tale of the weekend past: the Horror films we watched, the food we ate, the board games we played, our visit to the beautiful town Groningen in Netherlands; but I must have taken too much time because the draft has been saved with merely the title. Sorry dear reader. It is all gone. A whisper of a memory in the mind of an old man to be.
So you know, Ingrid and I saw a couple at the park in Bremerhaven, on a pier thing, across the lake from us, pants down, totally going for it. Their dog seemed confused. Some people walked passed, we’re not sure if they noticed.
That was our day trip this Saturday.
Mostly our week has involved talking to numerous office employees in an attempt to finalise my visa. I’ll continue this task this coming week but I won’t have the lovely Ingrid around to talk for me. My broken, limited German vs the out of practise English they thought they’d never use in Wilhelmshaven (kind of like most people and their feelings with algebra – sucks to not know what x equals).
We went to Netherlands for the day, ate ice cream and had a picnic in a park.
On the way home from the Netherlands, we happened upon a beer brewery party, many completely drunk Germans jerking to bad dance music. One really young guy was so drunk, he sat down in front of the speakers and had trouble getting up when security asked him to. They didn’t kick him out, merely stood him up.
We watched horror films until too late a few nights.
There was a concert of Rod Stewart and Cher cover bands. We met one of Ingrid’s friends here. She knows most of the people of the town.
I told a waitress that I am having a beer instead of saying I would like to order a beer (read broken, limited German). That was in a pretty little town where all the restaurants close from 2-6pm, except for the place we went to that was kind of British themed, except it wasn’t really. Ice cream is much cheaper here than Netherlands.