We were greeted by a heatwave - 31 C so it really was warm! The girls and I had a good snigger at one of our bus companions from Ireland - he was complaining about roasting, shame he has probably never experienced temps above 22 C... Arrived at the train station, impressed myself ordering tickets and then discovered that I had no clue which platform to go to! I had to go all the way to information, stand in a long queue which turned out to be a life saver! The reason I could not find our train on the list in the station was because I had to change trains! Information staff were very friendly and helpful and printed out a schedule for me which told me whre to change, which platform to go to and what time the train would arrive -Dutch efficiency at work! From then on things went very smoothly until we arrived at Enschede and did not know which way to go to meet Marianne in the town square. I confidently told the kids that my Afrikaans would help get us through the little predicament only to discover that it really was not much use! I understand Dutch better than they understand my afrikaans!!! I decided to follow my nose for a while and then saw an approachable looking couple and asked for directions. Luckily we were heading in the right direction and found the pizza place, Pinochio's which Marianne had told us about. Gratefully sat down and ordered a late dinner, the kids had pizza and I had a vegetarian pasta. The pizzas were delicious...probably something to do with the Dutch cheese! Marianne joined us after her dinner and we had a glass of wine before heading off to Vasse, exhausted by now -it was almost 23h00 and it had been a very long day.
Wednesday was a stunning day! A little bit too stunning, I sat in the sun and got a little bit sunburnt, had a swim and lay in the sun a little bit more, followed of course by another swim because it was 34 C....The kids were all happy to see each other and my only frustration was the fact that I could barely communicate with Marianne's folks as they speak in a dialect. I did go to the supermarket and bought supplies for lunch and dinner which I prepared for everyone - after all I was planning on desserting them all on Thursday to go off on my own little adventure.
Thursday morning was pleasant enough to start. There had been thunderstorms the previous evening but blue sky was visible which was great as I was going to have a day just for me in a town called Zwolle. I had tried to look up some information online and besides finding out that it was just over an hour away on the train and that it has a VERY old church I was not sure what to expect!
The train journey was pleasant and I cannot tell you how friendly the Dutch people are! At one stage I started wondering if I had missed Zwolle so I turned to a man sitting across the aisle from me and asked if he knew how long until Zwolle, he told me 2 stops and then proceeded to give me a little bit of a background and gave me directions on how to get into town, appologising because he was going to Zwolle for business so did not have the time to show me the way!!!
Zwolle was lovely, I wondered around, enjoyed a coffee at a nice little coffee shop and walked down cobbled streets and into an old church which was being refurbished. I enjoyed a walk along the canal with a couple of stops along the way to enjoy the peace and quiet and watch the boats. I absolutley loved my day away from everything, not having to worry about a thing for a few hours was awesome.
Of course all good things come to an end and it was a very sad little me back at the station waiting for my train to take me back to Enschede!
In Enschede I had a coffee and a muffin and walked around a bit before heading off to Marianne's office for the trip home.
I have so much more to tell...but think I will have to do it in instalments or this post is going to be too long....so next time I will tell you all about....trips gone bad, children in Germany without passports and more!!!