Ahh...the breathtaking beauty of Holland! We had a fantastic vacation spending one week at CenterParcs (Het Meerdal) and then three days at George's relative's who we decided is a first cousin once removed.
We took 3 days driving the 1,000 miles (1,600 km) to get there (spending a night in Budapest and in Nuremberg, Germany) but on the way back we drove 17 hours to Budapest without stopping for longer than 45 minutes. The drive was more or less uneventful (if you don't count our GPS getting wiped out) and the kids were superb. We enjoyed a week swimming, riding bikes (although our goal of having Abigail and Matthew riding without training wheels was obviously not one of their goals), playing on numerous playgrounds, bowling, mini-golfing, etc., etc. Elizabeth, unfortunately, had a couple injuries. The first night she got her finger pinched in the hinged side of a door and two days later she scraped her foot on the swimming pool floor coming off a water slide. Although the pinched finger didn't leave any lingering discomfort, the scrape was a real nuisance by not healing and needing antibiotics. (I'll spare you the gory pictures.)
|We got a kick out of being in America.|
|playgrounds were everywhere in the park|
|The kids spent an afternoon as a knight and princess and another afternoon as painters.|
|We rented bikes and rode all over the park on the smooth paths.|
|A "summer cottage" in the village of Renswoude where our relatives live. (They live in the village not the cottage. Bummer!)|
|Bike ride - notice the half bike Matthew is on.|
|The Dutchman and his family.|
|Abigail loved this hat of Dicky's and loved taking pictures.|
|A visit to Holland wouldn't be complete without seeing windmills.|
Spending nearly 2 weeks outside of Ukraine was good and bad. We needed the change of scenery and culture, rest, and time together as a family. We reveled in the familiarity of Dutch culture, the order, the cleanliness, and the respect for others (especially children). On the other hand, our time away made it a bit hard to want to return to Ukraine. (The kids were even crying.) Now that we are home, however, and busy getting back into the swing of "normal" life, we are happy to be here...but look forward to another vacation in Holland again some day.