4 January 2009


After posting the last entry, we slept very well - right up to the alarm! We checked out and then got a free breakfast to take away from one of the kitchen staff who told us to GO AWAY, then winked at us as we left with pocketfuls of bread and boiled eggs to eat at the station.

We arrived at Amsterdam Centraal with plenty of time to spare, and ate our breakfast before we hopped on the train for the 45 minute trip to Lelystad. A bike path travelled alongside the train track most of the way there, sometimes veering off to go through towns or around fields. You really could ride around the Netherlands without much difficulty (though I’d personally avoid doing it in such cold weather!). We saw a little wood with lots of deer, several paddocks of sheep and more of cows – but mostly we saw A LOT of ice. Nix was very excited to see so much whiteness! We were even more excited to see some people ice skating on the wee canals around Lelystad . . . real European winter!

J picked us up at Lelystad ("Are you Australians?"), where S and P got off the same train. It was an hour and a half drive, but we went through a little town where people were skating on a pond (a bit bigger than a football/soccer field), so we had to stop and go and have a look. J was very excited, and insisted that we go out on the ice. We were a bit timid, but it was awesome! Underneath the ice we could see the water still moving and the reeds waving around.

That was a nice break in the drive, and even so we arrived at the ferry terminal in Holwerd with plenty of time to spare. We got our tickets and I had a mocha at the cafĂ© – this wasn’t entirely intentional, but it was what appeared in my cup after I pressed some random buttons in an attempt to get a hot chocolate. It was quite OK with a couple of sugars in it. We also ate apple cake. Om nom nom nom nom.

The ferry itself was comfortable, cheerful and huge. The population of Ameland is something like 3000, and the ferry is licensed to carry 1200 passengers. Clearly the island was more of a tourist destination than we were lead to believe. We braved the freezingness to go out and have a look at the surrounds as the ferry wove through the shallows (a movement you couldn’t feel at all below deck). The horizon was blurred in the haze, but we could see Ameland approaching in the distance. At one point we went through a patch of ice, and I amused DB by telling him that we were surrounded by icebergs. Apparently because there are no currents in this area, and the sea is so shallow, the only movement is the up and down of the tides, and so ice forms quite easily on the surface.

At the other end, J had arranged for her father to pick us up, and he whisked us away to het Zwanewater, where come the weekend upwards of 120 people would be staying. We were slept about 6 to a room, and the place was very warm, with a few different lounge/common areas and a big kitchen. We put our stuff down and had a cup of tea and a bite to eat while saying hello to people.

In the afternoon we went outside and explored a bit. There is an irrigation channel/ditch running alongside the driveway (it smells of frozen cow dung . . . at least that’s what we’ve been told the smell is!), and it was frozen over, so a bunch of kids (both young and old) were skating and sliding and stomping on it. The sound of ice cracking beneath your feet is quite disconcerting, let me tell you!


Today (Sunday) is our last full day on the island, and as we both have colds we are going to go hunting for painkillers and decongestant in the village. We’ll upload more pics and stories of our stay in the next few days when internet connections are easier to come by! This family is full of Mac fanatics, and so we have about 34879 computers connected to wireless internet. Heh.


  1. I'm so jellus and miss you both heaps and heaps and heaps.

  2. HULLO!!! WE MISS YOU GUYS TOO! come and look after us and make us not sick!!!

  3. oh, honies - i'm sorry you're sick! let's hope it passes quickly!
    i send big cuddles (you both look v snugglable in you winter woolies) and kisses xoxoxo

  4. Sorry to hear you've got colds, hope you get better soon! Those pictures of ice are amazing! (I am also sick, so I sympathise especially.)

  5. az, i hope you feel better before you have to fly out! are you excited? when do you leave!?

    yay, essie cuddles! *glomps* you would love the coldness, i think!