Friday, 31 August 2012


Another item on my 28 things list is to visit the birthplace or grave of a cultural icon.  One of my best friends, Loreto, and I are both mad keen on classic books and both love the Bronte sisters' work.  Earlier this year she visited Haworth in Yorkshire - the home town of the girls where Emily and Charlotte are buried.  When my sister asked us if we wanted to go out for the day while we were back, this place immediately jumped to mind.  We had a lovely day out walking round the town, visiting the old school room, the cemetery and the meadow before a lovely pub lunch in the local.  The only down side to the day was that the church itself was closed and the sisters are buried there so I didn't achieve my goal of the day but in the end, it was such a lovely visit I didn't mind.  We bought a couple of nice keepsakes for the flat and Nico took some amazing photos that just scream Yorkshire every time I look at them.

In the car with Lucas

Haworth Railway Station

Thursday, 30 August 2012


We try to make it back to England twice a year.  We alternate Christmas between England and Germany but go back at some point during that break and then Summer.  It's always hectic trying to see everyone and we don't always manage to see everyone we'd like to on every visit but this year was special for several reasons.

First of all, the way the holidays fell this year meant that we could be home for my nephew's first birthday.  Last Summer, he arrived late and as the holidays fell differently I didn't get to meet him until Christmas!  I think it was quite exciting to be there for his first birthday as he is into everything now.  He was walking before he turned one and I don't think it will be long until he is talking too.  He is so cute and funny and we had a great time with him.

Secondly, my best friend gave birth to a beautiful baby girl at the start of the month so it was great that this time I could have tiny little baby cuddles!  How cute!

Of course it's always great to catch up with family.  I speak to most of them pretty regularly by phone or skype but it's nice when we all get together.  We were also there for my cousin's fantastic GCSE results which was nice to celebrate.

On the topic of family, it was a big week for my Gran as she moved into sheltered accommodation.  I feel very lucky that it was the week we were back as it gave me a chance to see both the old place one last time and the new place and also meant that we could help out.  We spent two days helping her pack and were also there for the big move day on our last day in England.  Being at the meeting where she filled out all the paperwork and also spending some time in the new place has really put my mind at ease.  She has the same independence as before (it's not a home that she's in) but she has a lot more support and social contact.  She is also very positive about it and I'm sure will feel the benefits once she settles in.

As I've mentioned before, I'm not allowed to give blood in Germany.  Nobody who was living in the UK during the BSE / CJD outbreak is allowed to.  As I still want to do my bit and Nico does it too, we try to coincide our visits to England with a donor session.  This year was a little different as the town hall was being renovated and the session was moved to Elland Road.  It was Nico's second visit and after his surprise during the first one last year, he asked if he could take photos to show Germans how different it was.  As you can see, they said yes.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Amsterdam - Day 3

The Amstel River

On our last day in Amsterdam we wanted to go see the Van Gogh Museum.  Again we booked the tickets in advance which turned out to be a huge advantage.  We decided to walk there through the southern area of the city which we hadn't seen as much of.  This meant we avoided the crowds and saw some other areas which we might otherwise have missed.  I have to say, I definitely prefer the south.  It's less touristy and quieter but still interesting and lively.  If I were to go back to Amsterdam I'd try to stay there but I imagine the prices are higher there too.

The Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum are both on this beautiful park and we had a gorgeous day to visit it.  Apart from booking online, I'm also glad that we booked the audio guide.  It was really nice to hear some of the stories behind the paintings and even Van Gogh's own words on his works.  The museum provides an insight into his life in chronological order.  There were also some special exhibitions.  

On the way to and from the museum, we visited a lovely street market where we bought some fresh Dutch cheese as a present for my Dad in England and found the Bazar restaurant.  The Bazar is a Turkish eatery based in an old church.  The decor is amazing and the food was very good.  We were there in the late afternoon and I was worried that the lunch menu wouldn't keep us full but the portions were large and the flavours were delicious.  The drinks - I had fresh grapefruit juice were exactly what was needed on such a hot day.  Delicious.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Amsterdam - Day 2

On our second full day in Amsterdam we had booked to visit the Anne Frank Museum and knew where it was from the day before.  Our biggest challenge was finding a non-expensive gluten free breakfast on the go so we eventually settled down on the canal to a breakfast of cheese and chorizo and olives.  It was wonderful.

The Anne Frank Museum was always on my must-do list for Amsterdam, I read the book some years ago and it was really enlightening to see where it had been written and understand a bit better the kind of life they led there.

Afterwards we headed back to the hotel through the centre.  The crowds were a bit much so we cut down a side street to find a drink.  While there, we looked the place up on Trip Adviser and decided to stay for dinner as it was well up in the ratings.  It was a little pricey but nothing near the first night had been and much more worth it.  The food was delicious.  Nico has even recreated the recipe since we have been home and I'm so glad we went there!  It's my biggest food tip for anyone visiting Amsterdam - Van Kirkwijk.

Our hotel