Thursday 12th July 2012

Woke up to a beautifully calm and peaceful sunrise this morning (sleeping patterns still a bit messed up, I’m not usually one for sunrise!).   However the weather can change drastically very quickly and by breakfast we had a heavy hailstorm!

hailstorm

We left after breakfast and spent way too long stuck in traffic but it was well worth it for the  absolute pleasure of visiting what was my home city from 2003-2007, the charming Delft.

I have a good Australian friend who lives here – I met her when we were in the same  Dutch language/inburgering class back in 2003.  We both have Dutch husbands and dual national children.  Funnily enough, though I never knew her in Australia, we have close connections – a previous boss of hers ended up being my husband’s boss as well recently!   It really is such a small world.  Anyway, we were once discussing a few things and she commented “I couldn’t really live in The Netherlands for long…but I’d be happy to live my life in Delft” and I can understand that perspective.  There is something really special about this city, especially for expats I think.  It’s not as big and overwhelming as Amsterdam and also smaller than other large expat centres Den Haag and Rotterdam.   It has an abundance of beautiful buildings, interesting history, good shops, culture and so much more.  It’s also fairly affordable to live and easy to access.  I’m sure Delft will end up featuring a lot more on this blog so that’s enough for now!  Sophia was actually born here though we left when she was 4 months old, and she’s only been back briefly once on our visit here 2 years ago.

Bas dropped the girls and I off near the Oostport on his way to an interview.  It’s the first time I’ve had to navigate narrow streets with two young children in tow – especially two who have grown up in Australia with so much space, and not needing to watch out for bikes and canals until now!  Took a while for them to learn to not just wander where they wanted.  It really was lovely to share the city with them though.  They are very into princesses, wicked witches and dragons at the moment from fairytales and it was wonderful to see how a sight such as this inspired the connection for them to live our their fantasies!

oostport

The girls and I wandered for a little while and did a couple of quick touristy things!

Sophia cheese

clog

Also had forgotten that Thursday is market day in Delft, so there were extra sights to enjoy such as rows and rows of beautiful flowers for sale.

We had arranged to meet up with another Australian friend and her children.  Kristen and I had actually only met face to face once when we both lived in The Netherlands years ago.  Since then we’ve been good Facebook friends, following each other’s almost parallel lives as we’ve moved back to Australia, both had 2 children, both had homesick Dutch husbands….then back to The Netherlands.  She’s been back a year already so it was wonderful to get some tips and share experiences.  We met up in what used to be one of my favourite cafes in Delft more than 5 years ago, Cafe Vrij, and was great to see it’s still there and still has the same owner!

Our kids became instant friends and had baby chinos – something Kristen hadn’t seen before in The Netherlands so she was excited.  From the look of this photo they were all very much at home spending their days in cafes sipping baby chinos!

babychinos

We had heaps to talk about but the children didn’t stay still or quiet for long (despite the activities I’d bought for them) so we didn’t get nearly enough time to catch up but I’m hoping there will be lots more opportunities now we both live here.

kristen and renee

She did have enough time to impart a neat trick, I’ve been told before about putting your stroopwaffel on top of your tea to melt a little but had never thought of putting it in the microwave which was something she mentioned.  Tried it when I got back to Bas’ parents – 20 seconds and it’s delicious!!

stroopwaffel

The girls were really tired and napped on the way home.

napping in car

They missed the lovely view, but I’m sure they’ll get lots more chances  to see windmills.

windmill

Until tomorrow!  Renee