We flew to the Netherlands two days before my (dreaded ) 30th birthday. When we arrived, my whole family was there to greet us! Not just my parents and brothers and sister, but the whole extended family including aunts and uncles What a surprise! They had organised a whole weekend away, and rented two minibuses to drive straight from the airport to Putten, a small town in the middle of the country. We stayed in a nice hotel there, in the middle of the forest. It had snowed a lot the day before we arrived, and the next day we woke up to a winter wonderland. There hadn’t been much wind, so all the snow was still lying on the trees, it was so pretty! After a breakfast some of us went for a walk in the forest. You’d think I’d get enough of snow after living in Tromsø for this long, but it was so beautiful I couldn’t stop taking pictures!
Kaya took Mare on the sled, though some of the way she sat on my dad’s shoulders. She was all wrapped up on her sled, wish I could be transported like that
Some more photos of the forest… I could have almost taken black and white photos, you wouldn’t see the difference!
A group photo of those that went walking (others went sledding or sat by the fire in the hotel), and a portrait of my parents.
That evening we also celebrated Sinterklaas, the Dutch version of Christmas which is normally celebrated on the 5th of December. A lot of fun! The next day it was my birthday Everything was decorated and everybody was wearing party hats and singing for me, and I had a pile of presents – they really spoiled me
We left the hotel, but we didn’t go straight home. My sister had organised a “family day”, a new tradition that I’ve always missed as I am never in the Netherlands when she organises it. This time we went to a farm where we did a bow-and-arrow competition and a competition in traditional old-dutch games, which was a lot of fun They even had a version of shuffle puck (air hockey), no idea how “traditional” that really was but it was good fun. We also used the opportunity to take some rare family photos… unfortunately everybody is squinting into the bright sun, but I still like the photos – it’s not very often we have this opportunity.
The farm was located in the middle of nowhere, in a typical Dutch landscape. Now that I live surrounded by mountains, I was impressed by how flat it is in the Netherlands
What a great weekend I enjoyed every minute of it. We spent the rest of our week in the Netherlands enjoying the small joys of urban life – going shopping, going to the cinema, spending evenings in cosy cafes without going bankrupt Paul flew to London on Boxing Day, and I flew back to Tromsø a few days later, as I had to work during the New Year period.