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.

Spent 10 days backpacking in Belgium and Germany

Days 1 & 2: Luxembourg City

Me and Chris flew into to Luxembourg City at around 10 am. We just mostly walked around the city sighting as we made our way to the small hotel we had booked about an hour’s walk away. I went and did a lot more sightseeing around the Grund area and the saw three museums:

  • National Museum of Art and History (Musee National d’Histoire et d’Art);
  • Musee d’Histoire de la Ville;
  • and Museum of Natural History (Le Natur Musee Au Grund).

I noticed that there was a lot of construction going on, similar to that of Tel Aviv. It seemed like they were upgrading their pipelines or something. I went on the 24-hour sightseeing bus tour as well, twice too as I wanted to get my money’s worth (it was 20 something euro). We then went and got a late Flixbus to the city of Trier.

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Days 3 & 4: Trier

Arrived late at night and was able to get into the hostel without any problems. Over the next two days, we saw much of the old Roman structures that had survived. I think the Amphitheatre was the most interesting because they even had information about the underground part. Other sights we saw were;

  • Porta Nigra;
  • Trier Saint Peter’s Cathedral;
  • and Aula Palatina.

We mostly stayed in the centre and again caught another Flixbus to Brussels.

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Days 5 to 7: Brussels 

We arrived in Brussels in the afternoon walked to our hostel. During our days here I went and saw so many old buildings. I went and saw the; Museum of the City of Brussels and the partnered attraction of the MannekenPis plus a building that had a variety of costumes for the boy called GardeRobe MannekenPis. I also saw the Museum voor Natuurwetenschappen. It had so many dinosaur skeletons 🙂 But my favourite museum was the Chocolate Museum called Choco-Story Brussels. I spent over two hours there!

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Days 8 & 9: Bruges 

We got another bus to Bruges and found it to be the most attractive place we had been to. Such pretty old buildings and canals everywhere. We should have stayed here longer. Everything looked like a medieval postcard.

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Day 10: Ghent 

We arrived here via train from Bruges. The centre of the city was like Bruges, but that soon ended when we left to head to our hotel. We went on a canal tour and that was one of the highlights of our time here. Another was seeing the red light district, it was similar to Amsterdam actually. I didn’t realise that we had come to the area until I saw the red lights lining the windows and the type of people decline in quality. But the ladies in the windows looked above average in looks. After that, we got a bus to Charleroi Airport and flew back to Edinburgh.

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Tor.com and other things

It’s getting closer! I’ve had serious writer’s block since returning to Australia 😦 It’s been almost two weeks and I think I’m just over my jet lag 🙂 Finally. I’ve been constantly checking the Tor.com submission page to see where my book is at and the speed at which this is going is having me a bit concerned. Either they have a lot of people going through the stories or they had a lot of submissions that didn’t meet the criteria and are culling through them like a hot knife in butter.

I wonder what they are going to say about my story. Is it shit and needs to be tossed into a dumpster and set on fire? Or is the best thing they had ever read? There is no in-between! That being said, if it gets rejected I’ll do a few more drafts and then self-publish it.

Tomorrow I’m going back to Queensland to my parent’s place and they don’t have regular internet – by choice! They say they have no use it. Like what are you!? Anyway, maybe that can be a benefit for me seeing as though I haven’t written anything since returning. Maybe I can finish all those half done first drafts.

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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.

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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.

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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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