10 days of isolation: Day 0

Day 0: Almost all things that could have, did have.

Arrived in Newcastle, England on the mid-morning of June 2. We had 4 large bags, 2 backpacks, 2 laptop bag and 2 kitties. The entire travel process was stressful and sometimes I can’t believe that we actually got out of the Netherlands.

Prior to leaving we had to arrange a place to stay (its home quarantine in England). We planned everything a month in advance. If we had flown to Edinburgh, we’d have to do hotel quarantining, so we opted for England. A dear friend of Chris’ allowed us to stay at his place 🙂 We booked our flights with KLM and then afterwards found out they no longer take pets to the UK so we got a refund a few weeks later. For a hot minute, it seemed that we might be stuck in NL. But we found that there are ferry services that’ll let you take you pets across the channel. So we booked that. We then book our pre-travel covid test, and the 2 & 8 day tests for when we’re in England.

In the weeks leading up to departure, I’m full of nervousness and a feeling of listlessness. I also swing to excitement and start planning what I’m going to do once back. The UK is opening up while the NL kind of kept closed. So a week before we leave we check to see if the covid tests we pre-ordered arrived in the mail in England. We find out from the friend that mine arrived but Chris’ has not. We later found out that the postman arrived but because no one can to the door so it was not delivered. It went back to the post office and then got sent back to the lab. We emailed but after a few days we did not get a response and ultimately we ordered another kit. We plan on getting a refund.

So we start packing, I knew we had a lot of stuff and went to Primark and got the largest suitcase they had. It turned out to be a good thing because Chris’ Magic cards and books took up a lot of space. We also threw out a bunch of stuff to make everything fit. The last few days were stressful.

So on the 30th we go for our covid test. When we get there they ask for our travel ID and I freeze, I forgot my Dutch residence permit. For a second I think that I ruined it, but they accept my Australian driver’s license and all is good. That night at 11 we get the good news. Negative.

The next day we go to the trial of Chris’ attacker and after three hours exit. It’ll be two weeks before we find the verdict. That afternoon we get into a taxi and take all our stuff to a nice hotel in Amsterdam. During, the ride the kitties get stressed and are panting and crying. When we arrive at the Hilton, a pet friendly place, they end up sooking for the longest time. While in the hotel I get onto Vodafone and try to see if i can get my old UK phone number re-instated. But because it hasn’t been active in over a year, they can’t. They send me a link to get a new sim card and I fill in the address.

On the 1st we decide that we should get some calming spray for the cats. I find a nearby pet shop and after getting not only lost on the way to find the train station, but lost inside as the tram line I needed to take had been moved around because of major construction I get to the shop and then return. Later we take a taxi to the IJmuiden dock and while on the way get a phone call and realise that the ferry leaves at 5pm not 5.30. We make it anyway and with a little time to spare. So nerve racking. But the boat trip was pretty good. I think they could have offered internet for free, but they offered it at an hour, 3 hours or a 24 time lots. We had dinner and breakfast and I think there was not that many people on the ship.

The next day we disembark, they had a trolley for all our bags and we exit without problems. So we get to Newcastle, go through customs and exit to terminal. I found that the place was almost deserted. It was unbelievable; it was like it was a holiday or something. I was expecting a taxi ring but there wasn’t one car in sight. We only had a NL phone, and it wasn’t connecting to the UK phone network. So I go back into the building and find a dedicated free phone line to a taxi service. I pick up the phone and find it dead 😦 I exit the building again but with their business card and tried calling with our phone. Our call didn’t go through 😦 But then we hear a man ordering a taxi on his phone and ask to call from that. We tried calling from his phone but got a message saying the taxi he ordered was on his way. So we copy the number and try calling ourselves, it doesn’t go through. But then his taxi arrives and we ask the driver to call another taxi and he does 🙂 The taxi comes within 5-10 minutes and for a moment it seems that we cannot get all the luggage in, but after some tetris we do. The drive was uneventful and we get to our friend’s place. Later that day the 2nd covid kit we need arrives, and all is good 🙂

We spent the day watching TV and catching up with our friend. It was strange watching UK TV. I hadn’t watched a TV since before coming to the Netherlands. It was also strange to find how much I didn’t prefer to watch. We had take-away for dinner and it was so much cheaper than the Dutch version.

As I am writing this, I think back on our exit from the Netherlands and wonder how we even managed to not only survive that country but exit it as well.

The Netherlands Chapter is finished

I arrived on March 15, 2020.

I left on June 1, 2021.

It was a total of 14 months and 18 days. And I based on my experience, I don’t recommend living here.

Utrecht is a beautiful city, no doubt about it. It looks like Amsterdam without the tourists. Come visit it for a day or two but don’t settle in the city, or in the surrounding suburbs or even further out. Rent has been averaging 1200 euros a month, plus the tax rate is too much and healthcare is not free.

I know that the whole Covid thing was just one half of our issues, but it was with a combination of a lot of smaller things that made our stay terrible. I’m just glad that I’m returning to the UK. I had a better quality of life there. In fact, as me and husband self quarantine with a friend in England, we can see that he has a better life on the dole than we did in NL.

It was such an uplifting feeling when we decided to leave NL. And going back to Edinburgh too. I’ve already planned out the next few months. I’m going to rejoin the gym, get a job, get the vaccine and if I might get composite bonding on my teeth.

Also look at this stylised free image of the Netherlands below. It almost looks like this place could have been nice.

Utrecht, a month in.

Today marks the one-month anniversary of my arrival to Utrecht. It is the one month mark for the coronavirus shutdown.

The day me and Chris got out of the UK was the day when everything closed. In the beginning, like 90% of everything was shut down. Thankfully supermarkets, laundromats, and that variety store Action were still open. Also, you could order food online and whatnot.

Now there are cafes and small corner restaurants open for takeaways and whenever I got out for a walk, I see plenty of people. And people are canoeing along the canals! I thought you couldn’t do that? And there are so many people out and about just lazing about. I’ve also seen that many people repairing or building things too. No better time like the present, I guess.

What am I personally doing?

Trying to learn a bit of Dutch through Duolingo. Trying to write/edit my stories. Overly bonding with my cats. Wondering why I haven’t accomplished more in my life now that I’m left with nothing but my thoughts. You know the usual.

How clouds are made in Holland

While in Holland we saw how both regular clouds and storm clouds are made. Observe below.

Regular white fluffy clouds are being produced. It is so that Holland can have the classic cloudy European look.


We experienced days of clear weather and so it was nessecary that storm clouds then be produced to ensure rain would occur. You can see the transormation from white to dark.


And here are what the wind turbines are actually used for – directing which way the clouds drift. All the re-newable energy stuff is a con 🙂

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Amsterdam Holiday, 2015


Stereotypical Netherlands, Zaanse Schans.


It’s taken me too long to get this out here. Chris and I’s trip to Amsterdam in late 2015 was our long overdue honeymoon.

Wednesday, September 23rd:

Early flight to Amsterdam followed by a train into the city where we walked to our Airbnb place (which was boss by the way). Followed by us just walking around the city exploring. We passed a train station and there was a bicycle car park and all the levels were just covered in bikes like a mass of grey. We saw a lot of coffee shops, shops that sold pot and places the did both.

Thursday, September 24th:

Took the train out into the countryside where we met a long time friend of Chris’ who drove us to Zaanse Schans to look at the windmills. After that we drove to Zandvoort, a very beachy town that I liked because it actually showed me that Europe had beaches that reminded me of the ones back in Australia. Along the way we passed a town called Haarlem. We had some drinks in a church turned pub and then saw a clog museum (turns out you need to wear special socks with those shoes).

Friday, September 25th:

We did a lot this day. Went to see Body Worlds by Gunther Von Hagen followed by a canal cruise where we saw more of the city. We saw a sex museum that was very average and then did some more wandering about taking in the architecture. That night we walked through the red light district, it wasn’t that impressive, very touristy.

Saturday, September 26th:

We went to the Torture Museum and then to the awesome Dutch Resistance Museum, where we spent a few hours there. It was a wealth of information about resistance against the Nazi’s, I recommend it a lot. Then we found a little love lock bridge, but I’m not sure if it was an offical thing. We then wandered into this small but shitty pub that gave me a drink with flies in it 😦 And we also went hunting for a certain market, but found only a dodgy side street, I don’t think that it was on that day.

Sunday, September 27th:

It was a lazy day. Before we got the train back to the airport we met up with a friend Chris hadn’t seen in years and flew back late that day.