Losing Loved Ones From Afar

Losing someone you know is hard, but losing someone you love is harder. ❤

It was something I never really thought about in my future when moving to the Netherlands at 18 years old. So many happy moments and future plans did not involve the death of a loved one, but its so natural and the worlds way of making room.

Back in 2012, I got a phone call that I never expected. I was woken by my partner’s mum with the phone in her hand, telling me to speak to my mum on the other end. It was already strange that she was waking me up as my alarm was always set, but even more strange that my mum was calling the house phone instead of a Skype call or a Whats app message.

My granddad had been receiving treatment/chemotherapy for Cancer for a while. All was going so well and after multiple treatments he was officially cleared and on the long road of recovery. But unfortunately from being so weak from the treatment he caught a sickness bug while at the hospital, without a strong immune system to fight it, fatally sending him to sleep overnight.

He is someone I will always look up to, knowing how proud he would be. He would put a smile on everyone’s face no matter what situation it was and never had a bad word to say. My love of puzzles was through him, who always had a new puzzle being put together every week. Also with the love of cycling, we explored the island, but mostly to Cowes to watch the yachts and eat either some fish & chips or an ice cream together.

I’m not looking forward to more phone calls abroad like this, but life goes on and we will handle it as it comes. I believe that family is the most important thing in life so cherish those moments together.

❤

Advertisements

United Kingdom

Here are a list of blogs written about locations in England.

Innsbruck (8) Innsbruck (7) Innsbruck (6) Innsbruck (5) Innsbruck (4) Innsbruck (3) Innsbruck (1) Innsbruck (2) Isle of Wight v2 Innsbruck

 

Coming soon!

  • London

Walking Routes on the Isle of Wight

It’s hard to write just one post about the Isle of Wight, as it’s the place I was born and raised for 17 years of my life. So much to say and so much to see! But for now I’ll pick some topics and expand from there!

Whether you are visiting on your own, with your partner or with children these 6 walking routes (which are some of my fav) are fun for all to explore and enjoy!

1. Tennyson Down

To reach the top you can start either at Alum Bay and take the pathed road via the Needles (great views) or from Freshwater Bay. Once you reach the top, there is a memorial to Lord Tennyson, a poet who lived nearby for 40 years. It’s often windy so dress appropriately and don’t walk too closely to the cliffs! For more information check out this National Trust webpage.

Don’t miss the opportunity to check out the Alum Bay while you are there, where you can walk down to the beach or take the chairlift for some fantastic views of the lighthouse.DSC_2912

2. Parkhurst Forest

Are you ready for a red squirrel hunt? There is a special route you can follow to spot the famous isle of Wight red squirrels. They can also be spotted at different locations on the island, but in my experience I have seen most here! There are also plenty of other paths to explore the forest and enjoy the peace and nature too.

1
Source: Lin’s Isle of Wight Walks

DSC_2364

4
Source: Visit Isle of Wight 

DSC_2317.JPG

3. Compton Beach

This beach is perfect for walking along with sand in your toes (or exploring the rocks), swimming and to watch the sun set in the distance behind the cliffs towards Tennyson Down (above those beautiful white cliffs). You can walk all the way along the beach when the tide is out, but you can also walk along at the top too. Just be aware that the edge is very slowly falling down into the sea, so dont walk to close to the edge if on the beach or above it. This beach is perfect for dogs too!

DSC_2556DSC_2520DSC_2536DSC_2549

4. Steephill Cove

This hidden treasure can be reached walking down from the parking area, but I recommend to walk to from Ventnor along the coast. Take an afternoon here and stop at the Crab Shed for  lunch. On a clear day you may even see France!

DSC_2950

Steephill Cove; Isle of Wight
Source: Upix Photography

5. Cowes Cycle Track

This track used to be the railway track from Cowes to Newport, transporting goods and passengers from 1859. Now tarmacked, it can be walked and cycled from Newport to Cowes and back. Closer to Cowes there is a refurbished wooden bridge to cross over, a popular place now to feed ducks from. This one is pretty easy with as its flat and just under 10km there and back.

IMG_1139

7
Source: Worthing Wanderer

IMG_1147

6. Newtown

This less popular touristic area is a place I would visit often as it does not compare to anything else on the island, reachable by car, bike and a local bus. Mostly used by birdwatchers, it’s also a natural harbour and marshlands that is used by local fishermen. The 17th century historic town hall is now open to the public so take a look and learn the history of how the French raided in 1377, which destroyed most if not all of the village. Take the wooden walkway all the way along to the end of the route to try and spot some uncommon native species!

DSC_2697DSC_2693

DSC_2723DSC_2732

DSC_2720Check out more walking routes and extra information on the National Trust – Isle of Wight routes.

UK Road Trip, 2011

After quitting my full time job in England and having a month before my start date to work as an Au Pair in the Netherlands I wanted to do something spontaneous. I had to sell my car and sort out all my belongings to keep, sell or to give to charity. The month was passing by so quickly!

Well before selling the car we decided on a road trip in England! My partner had arrived in the UK to visit me on the Isle of Wight for about 2 weeks, but we spontaneously decided that I would pick him up at the airport and we would just drive from place to place until the two weeks were up!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Picking him up from Bournemouth Airport, due to being too late to land at the usual airport of Southampton we had a hotel for the night before we first set off. Our plan was to drive anticlockwise around England.

Below are the cities we visited! The bold cities is where we had a place to sleep and the other cities is where we took day trips to. Planning everything went well, once arriving at one place we booked the next place for a few days in advance making it cheap to do being last minute.

  • Hastings
  • Brighton
  • Clacton-On-Sea
  • Cambridge
  • Scarborough
  • Newcastle
  • Bath
  • Wales

Screen Shot 2016-03-27 at 21.03.35

This is the estimated route we likely took to the cities we had sleeping arrangements in. This map does not include the day trips from each city.

Hastings

This was our first stop, a lovely little place to walk along the beach and for a some seaside lunch.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABrighton

While we were here we did the usual touristic sightseeing and shopping but it was raining for the whole time, giving us not much time to enjoy the beach or relax in the sun with an ice cream. We visited a little castle on the way to our next destination, which was pretty and gave us some great views of the cliffs towards Dover.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAClacton-On-Sea

This was a beautiful little spot to stay and relax at. Close to the sea with some beautiful walking routes.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACambridge

We visited Cambridge for a day trip, a place not to be missed during a road trip around England. The beautiful city has so much to see and do it was hard to decide what to see and where to walk first! As tourists of course we had a punting tour along the river and visited the King’s College Chapel and the grounds.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Scarborough

Once we were settled at the Cayton Bay Holiday Park, who gave us a luxury camping home with bottle of wine for a different couple (which we drank!), we were greeted by the beautiful view of the sea and coast. We walked here for ages! In the city we visited the seafront, got the ice creams we missed out when in Brighton and visited the castle.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Newcastle

We took a day trip here to visit the Angel of the North and some shopping. Driving from Scarborough along the coast was beautiful and we ended up having the sun the whole day, making it a great day for lunch outside and lots of walking.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABath

Stopping here on our long journey back to the Isle of Wight was the perfect place. The city gave us the combination of history with visiting Bath Abbey and relaxing with lots of little cafes to sit at and unique shops to visit.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

dsc_0494

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Wales

A day trip over the Severn Bridge to visit some castles, such as the Raglan Castle. We also found some roman ruins that we discovered along the road too.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Heading Home To Southampton

We took the Clifton Suspension Bridge back on the way driving south. We planned to stop at Stonehenge, since I had also never been here so close to home. It was rather busy but we queued up for a ticket and an audio guide. Interesting to visit!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Overall we loved our spontaneous trip, even if we missed some pretty nice places to visit. Every place had its uniqueness and different activities to do so its hard to pick the best place, however Scarborough was one of our highlights, greeted with sunshine and those pretty views!

Dutch Citizenship?

Since June 23rd I have had a rather big dilemma on my mind. As most of you will know the citizens of the United Kingdom have voted to leave membership of the EU, nicknamed Brexit. I think no one really saw it coming, that it would be official, since the polls were so close but really? Who really imagined that they would no longer be part of the EU?

Within the first few days after the vote I was curious what my options had become, as an English person living in the Netherlands. Up until now there is still no certainty what will actually happen, or how I will be personally affected. So everyone is having the same doubts and concerns.

Now that it is getting closer to August I have the option to choose to apply for Dutch Citizenship, and to become a rightful owner of a Dutch passport. Because in August I will be officially living in the Netherlands for 5 years. However there is currently a motion at the government that will most likely go ahead, stating that it will be 7 years residency instead of 5. So I may still need to wait another 2 years to apply. What also makes this more amusing is that my passport runs out also in 2 years so I’ll most likely have to apply and pay for a UK passport again anyway!

The doubts I have, is that if I apply for Dutch citizenship through naturalization (the only option that applies to me) that I will lose the right to keep my English citizenship so it will not be dual citizenship. Of course no one really knows what will happen to expats abroad who still have English citizenship, but I don’t know if I should apply for Dutch citizenship in August or to wait and see how the United Kingdom plays it out.

And the only way to have dual citizenship is if I was married… well I’m not rushing into that anytime soon haha! But I do feel that having dual citizenship will give me better options in the future, in regards to travelling back home and visiting family/friends, or to work in England if I return, or even when I have children in the future who could then also have dual citizenship.

Well for now I am playing the waiting game with the UK. Waiting to see what their next move it, what will be decided and what options I may have.

IMG_20160624_164611

Norwich, England 2013/2014

First Visit – November 2013

The first time we went to Norwich, it was to visit my Dad, step mum and brother in their new house. It wasn’t recent, as they had move at least 10 months before, so we were fairly late with checking it out and visiting, but we finally had some time for a long weekend in a cold November.

We didn’t want to fly this time, and seeing as we still had access to a car we booked the Stena Lines boat from Hoek van Holland to Harwich. On the day of the sailing it was all a bit hectic! We left our house rather late and it was a lot busier than expected on route. The boat was set to depart at 13:15 and we were not yet on it!! Racing around the last roads and silly roundabouts, Lennart put his foot down to race for the boat. My phone started ringing and it was Stena Lines asking if we were going to make it or not as they willing to wait for us. I told them we were about 5 minutes away but it was more like 15! Thinking back we know it was rather dangerous, but if we weren’t speeding then we wouldn’t have made it! We got to the border security to check our passports and tickets but they waved us to go straight onto the back of the boat as there was no time, they were seriously waiting on us. There was some dodgy looks from the staff on the boat, as they were instantly raising the drive on part of the ship, but we were so grateful that they waited for us in our little car. What an exciting start we had to our long weekend away. Plus they never did check our passports or tickets.

Rotterdam to Norwich 2 - Google Maps - Internet Explorer

Reaching England we were very excited! Firstly because we would be driving our little Dutch car on the left of the road, secondly because it felt like I was already home in the country I know so much about, but thirdly because within a few hours of driving from Harwich we would be parked on the driveway of my family’s new home. Seeing as we were the very last car on the ship in Holland, we ended up as the first off in England.

Arriving at my parent’s driveway and tooting the car horn, the front door was opened and I saw my dad and their new dog Murphy greet us, followed by my step mum and brother. Bringing our suitcase inside from the rain and also a box of delicious Dutch treats we brought with us, we all went through to the front room. The plan for the weekend was to catch up and enjoy each other’s company, and of course we got to check out the area they now lived in.

During the weekend we had a tour of the city centre, checking out some of the shops and grabbed some warm lunch in the main shopping centre. It wasn’t snowing but it sure was cold outside! Just like all cities, shopping on a Saturday is crazy. So many people were already shopping for their Christmas gifts and checking out the deals. It’s a very pretty city with lots of unique shops as well as the big chains.

For a walk we went to the grounds of the Blickling Hall, a beautiful stately home built in the 15th century. We didn’t visit the inside of the hall but we have since read up the history of Anne Bolyen living here and how she apparently haunts the estate since her beheading from King Henry VIII. The grounds were massive, and also welcoming for walking dogs there. The rain was only just holding off for us so we decided not to take the longest route, but a route that would end up with us back where we parked the car.

2013-11-24 13.23.44

On Sunday we headed out for a walk to the beach. My dad drove us to Wells-on-Sea, in the north of Norfolk. It was cold, it was windy, but it was dry and great conditions for a winter walk along the beach. Murphy had a blast running over the sand and hiding in the small dunes. Afterwards we got back in the car and stopped by a local fish and chip shop. So delicious to dig into the warm chips covered in salt and vinegar that I hadn’t eaten in what felt like years. Mmm makes my mouth water just thinking about it! In the Netherlands it’s strange to put vinegar on your chips, and I have come accustomed to their chips with mayonnaise. It was a nice beach and little town to walk in and the sea air definitely helped us sleep well that night!

2013-11-25 13.15.37

It was really lovely to spend time with them all again after such a long time. Before we left we gave the gift that we bought for my brother, a Norwich football team scarf. Since moving there he has become a local fan and has been to a few games too. It’s always hard to say goodbye, but we were looking forward to the journey home, and planned our timing better to not miss the boat back to Hoek van Holland.

2013-11-24 20.30.18

“Missing someone gets easier every day because even though you are one day further from the last time you saw them, you are one day closer to the next time you will”

Second Visit – December 2014

The second time was for the Christmas period. It was a bit of a squeeze getting everyone into the front room. Both my Dad’s parents and my step mum’s parents had moved to Norwich by this time, so they were there, my step sister, her boyfriend and their dog Alfie were also visiting for Christmas from the Isle of Wight, and lastly my step mum’s brother and his fiancé were there. The house was full for Christmas & dinner.

It was such a great time to spend Christmas with all the family, sharing out gifts with each other, eating (too many!) sweets out from the typical sweet tins and drinking a new type of alcoholic beverage!

One of the best things I love is that my step mum makes the most delicious roast potatoes there can be, and I literally stuffed my face full with them when she presented them for the christmas dinner. She did amazing with cooking for 14 people!! We did it buffet style as we definitely wouldn’t of fit around the table. This really was one of those moments of gezelligheid.

During this visit we stayed at my dad’s parents house. They are renting a lovely little house with a garden since moving back from France. My grandparents haven’t given up their travelling yet though, as they are taking their camper back to France and Spain yearly.

We did some more shopping in the city centre and a few more walks around the area. My grandparents took us to Sheringham and Cromer, in the northern part of Norfolk. The sun was shining but we had our winter coats, hats, scarves and gloves ready! As soon as we opened the car doors we were hit by the cold winds coming from the sea. Our plan was to walk down the cliff hill path, towards the Cromer pier that was being battered by the waves, and back round to the car via a café for a warm drink. Many people seemed to have the same idea, as we were lucky to find a place for 4 to sit down in the warm. With hot chocolates all round we were blessed to be spending time with my grandparents.

Both places had lovely little shops full of books or antiques, locals selling jewellery and a few little cafés for a drink and a slice of cake. Check out the photo below of the height of the door from the book shop we found, my granddad just fitted but Lennart preferred to stay outside to not get knocked out or get a stiff neck. We also managed to see one of the steam trains leaving the station from Sheringham. Definitely not something you see in the Netherlands!

20141227_120155

The couple of days flew past and we were already heading back to the airport, with thanks to my Dad and granddad for driving us. It was lovely to catch up with all the family. We are not sure when we will be back in Norwich, but we can’t wait to see all the family again at my sisters wedding on the Isle of Wight in August 2016!