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Achterhoek

We spent a lovely week in the “Achterhoek” (rear-corner) region of The Netherlands. Maaike’s parents had found a beautiful little holiday home to stay in. Extremely efficient use of space (see the steep stairs in one of the pics.)

From there we were able to get out on a few bike rides and explore the area. It’s was (is?) a rich part of the country, and old. We visited Zutphen a beautiful old town, one of the oldest in the country. It had been part of the Hanseatic League which was basically a group of rich trading cities that supported eachother (lasted 300 years!) It’s incredible when you think that it lasted 300 years, I wonder how much longer the EU or the UK are going to last. Frankly I hope the EU at least survives the upcoming Brexit insanity.

I also worked a number of days. It’s so incredibly lucky to be able to have this role. If I was pinching myself to keep believing it wasn’t just a dream, well, I’d be black and blue all over! I guess remote working isn’t for everyone, but, I love the flexibility it affords.

We also went past a quite pretty looking house, turned out to be owned by a billionaire Dutchman – Onstein, fairytale stuff (though his story isn’t entirely fairytale like, daughter was kidnapped etc.). Also had lunch at another of his places – Ruurlo. He has turned it into a museum for his art collection.

Anyway, a really lovely time exploring the area. Anna’s first time out in a bike trailer, she quite liked it (well, she didn’t say otherwise, though perhaps that’s ‘cos she can’t actaully talk yet)

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Camping – Irish stylez

It was coming to the end of the first 1/3 of our time in Europe & Ireland. Before leaving though my eldest brother Chris suggested going for a short hike. More an excuse to get away for a night and have some delicious steaks and wine. Apparently this is how people camp in Ireland these days ;) It was delicious, though, I feel I probably ought to go vegetarian (or at least weekend-a-tarian).

It was a nice spot. I think we actually missed where we were supposed to be and it ended up being a very short walk. That said, it was really lovely down by the river. There was plenty of firewood, we found a decent flat spot to camp, and it was just lovely hanging out. It’s different being in a place where there’s 4G access though. That’s definitely one of the nice things about NZ, when you go bush, there’s really nothing for yourself or others to be distracted by, at least connectivity wise.

Being close to Dublin, and maybe just in Ireland (I’m not sure), there was quite a bit of rubbish at the site. Chris makes a (really good) habit of bringing along rubbish sacks and collecting as much as can be fitted in. Really good practice. I can’t say I’ve noticed quite the same level of rubbish at NZ sites, but, I’m generally not camping that close to cities I guess. Still, honestly, it was just lovely to get away with me auld brother (and young nephew!) and just hang out. It was a pretty spot.

Next, scrabble, mum had a huge victory, the cactus flowered (just after we’d left), and flew to Eindhoven for the next part of the “holiday”

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