Friday, December 07, 2007

We're Here!

The flight was sooo long and exhausting but we're here! It's 5am now, D is fast asleep but I'm wide awake so thought I'd put it all down before I forget.

Sydney-Bangkok-Zurich-Amsterdam. It was sad to say goodbye at the airport. I miss everyone terribly. It only starts to hit you on the plane what you're actually doing. All the daydreaming and planning in the world doesn't measure up.

After a delay of a couple hours in Zurich, we arrived before lunch on Friday, smelly, red eyes, tired, sick. I've lost my voice. We'd look over at each other throughout the loooong hours of flying and say, can you believe this? We'd be watching the worst movies ever made, like The Invasion and No Reservations, having just eaten some really rubbish food, teenagers running up and down the aisles, and then catch ourselves and ask, can you believe, we've done it! We wanted to, and we did.

We arrived, taxi to our new home in Haarlem. It's even nicer than the photos and description. It's a really beautiful ground-floor apartment, whites and chocolate browns, very big with gorgeous furniture. Actually, we walk in, look around, and start jumping for joy. We can't believe it ours for the next two months. I didn't know a thing about scamming wireless internet but I can get it fast and free here! And there is a wonderful huge kitchen (Kath, five burners, two ovens). I am going to be in cooking heaven!

First showers are the best, even if they are quick so we can get out and take a look. It's cold, but not worse than I expected. 8C. We wrap up and take a walk. Our place is so close to everything, a few minutes' walk to the main drag but on the quiet side. And about 20 metres from a canal :-) I'd read a bit about Haarlem, and many people had told me that it was nice, but we were gobsmacked. Sooo nice! Trying not to get run over by bikes, we walked up to the Grote Markt area which is the centre of things. Lovely interesting shops, and soon it was restaurant restaurant restaurant. I've never seen so many shoe shops, so Haarlem really must be the shopping heart of Holland! Already saw a gorgeous pair of brown boots, and on sale for 80E.

We spotted some markets stalls, and then my heart jumped. There was a mushroom stall! Remember how I'd been banging on about mushrooms? Well this was even better than I could have dreamed (dreamt? I'm tired). Baskets and baskets of different mushrooms, probably a dozen different varieties. And beautiful fruit and vegies. Gorgeous organic breads. And fish. Oysters for 9E, but I didn't have time to have a good look.

Having no idea what time it was and what time we felt it was, we shared a huge cornet of frites with mayonnaise, like everybody else in the city. Then we sat inside at a pretty cafe called Lunch and had a bowl of spicy tomato soup to warm up. I've never lost my voice before, I don't like it! There is so much to talk about! The fatigue hit, so we bought some tea and went home to sleep. We could have slept all night, but had to get up to meet the owner of the apartment. She's a lovely woman our age and we might meet up today as she offered to show us around. Soon enough we were hit with jetlag again so went to sleep, but now I can't, and it'll probably take a few days to adjust.

We have to register with the foreign police so we'll attempt to do that today. It doesn't feel like my birthday at all, all the attention has been on getting sorted and getting here. But apparently it is today, so we might have a nice meal and a drink somewhere. A great way to start a new year!

I am so happy we've done this.


Blogger Sarah said...

this is so exciting!

when you get sorted please don't forget that we need photos LOTS of photos!!

4:58 PM  
Blogger Jules said...

Firstly, happy birthday!

Its always really exciting (and a bit overwhelming) when you land in a new city. I can't wait to read all about your adventures!

5:53 PM  
Blogger Mars said...

look out for the magic mushrooms!

6:06 PM  
Anonymous thepretenda said...

oh happy birthday julia. So glad to read the start of your wonderful adventures with D

9:30 PM  
Blogger Mathilde said...

woohoo! great news. happy birthday, enjoy, and see you next week :-D

10:34 PM  
Blogger AlphaChick said...

You have done it! Doesn't it feel great ... liberating being able to let go some time

Happy Birthday! Something tells me it is going to be a fastic year ahead :)

10:42 PM  
Blogger Cookie said...

happy birthday! sorry I won't be able to join you guys next week for dinner, but I hope we get to meet soon after. Enjoy getting used to your new surroundings and have a great adventure!

11:53 PM  
Blogger eurobrat said...

I'm so excited for you!

Can't believe I'm leaving for Aus tomorrow. Worst timing ever.

Will think of you in Amsterdam!


8:11 AM  
Blogger Deep Kick Girl said...

Well, needless to say I really miss you already. Much more so than on previous trips. A year seems so very long.

Anyway, it sounds amazing so far and we're very happy for you.

Looking forward to the stories.

Love you!

9:18 AM  
Blogger Jo said...

happy birthday!

and i hope you guys have lots of fun in your new home!

1:11 AM  
Blogger Lola is Beauty said...

so excited for you ~ have a lovely birthday...x

3:57 AM  
Blogger iggy said...

It sounds like you're having a great time already!

(I agree about No Reservations being a terrible movie, having sat through it on the flight back from Brazil)

3:58 AM  
Blogger surfercam said...

Well done Jules!
Glad it has all worked out for you guys.
I bet you woke up the next morning and wondered where the hell you were!

11:00 AM  
Blogger TessaJ said...

Happy Birthday! And yes yes yes, this is so exciting. So happy for you :)

4:18 PM  
Blogger l'embrouillamini said...

Happy Birthday :) You will have a wonderful time in Amsterdam - I just know it! xx

8:18 PM  
Blogger The Late Bloomer said...

WOW, what an adventure! Welcome to Amsterdam, and Joyeux Anniversaire too!

Everything you described just sounds so perfectly wonderful, I'm living vicariously through you right now... That apartment sounds heavenly, ESPECIALLY the amazing kitchen. *drool*

Hope we'll have a chance to get together when you pop into Paris... Until then, enjoy every moment in Amsterdam! I have got to get up there myself one day.

1:58 AM  
Blogger Hannah said...

Well done on taking a risky move. You live longer if you take risks in life you know.

Have fun and I hope to see you in Ibiza over Christmas.


9:27 AM  

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