Going Dutch: Hold the whipped cream
We are dreaming about Dutch bikes. After a week that included one flight on a cramped and stuffy plane, followed by an endless string of rich German cakes, we’re definitely feeling our belts tightening. Hold that whipped cream, please. It’s still going to be a few weeks yet before we can be back on two wheels again.
For the moment we are researching our family tree in Wroclaw, Poland. It’s slow going. Every second record seems to have been lost by a succession of disasters: floods, wars and fires.
As we work through the archives, we also take time to catch up with contacts in Holland. Some are very positive – people have been so kind about putting us in touch with others they know in the area – and others are downright depressing. For every person who tells us something good, another warns us about the bad job market, housing nightmares and other frustrations. Still, we resolve to remain optimistic and not worry about it until we can see the situation on the ground for ourselves.
Bike of the Week… Here’s a funny bike we spotted in Wroclaw city centre. If you look closely, you can see the pedals are on backwards, so they face into the frame of the bike. It’s totally impossible to ride like this – even if the back wheel hadn’t been run over by a car. Were the pedals the owner’s attempt at stopping his bike from being stolen? Maybe he should have paid more attention to the nearby parking lot….
Websites We Like… Search the web for ‘Holland’ and ‘expat’ and you come up with a mindboggling array of sites and articles – enough to make your eyes glaze over for a good few days. So we were very happy when Cecilia recommended a look at her Amsterdam Guide with a nice, concise summary of what to do and where to live in the city and even where to stay in the Netherlands when we travel around by bike!
For something more in depth, Expatica is the place everyone recommends and indeed, their layout is also more straightforward and the advice better than most. As for job hunting, we also like Indeed, which pulls results from several sites at once. Finally, there’s Local Heart, Global Soul – the website of the family we’ll be staying with in Den Haag.
No, we can’t share… We might be able to spend 400 nights together in a tent but can we share a laptop? Erm. No. The biking has mostly kept our laptop use to a minimum but even so there were a fair few nights of ‘give me that’ and ‘aren’t you finished yet?’ when we both wanted to do something so today we took the plunge and got a second computer: the Asus 1005 HA-H. Fears of serious marital disharmony (caused by both of us in one room with a single laptop) have now faded and we’re loving the 10.5 hours of battery life. Expect a fuller review soon!