Bussum, The Netherlands, Fri Dec 14 - Day 14
Trip Start Nov 30, 2012
34Trip End Jan 31, 2013
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We intended to leave at 9am to get to Heathrow Airport in time to get our flight to Amsterdam. Caroline is an amazing cook and whipped up batches of pancakes with fresh raspberries, blueberries and maple syrup. Even Zed who just wanted to pack the car and had no intention of having breakfast succumbed and sat down to a hearty meal of pancakes. After taking lots of family photos and even more photos of Georgia, wefinally set off at about 10am and drove to Heathrow airport.
We had plenty of time to spare. We didn't have a clue where to go to drop off the hire car so we decided to follow one of the hire car courtesy buses and that worked a treat. Dropped off the car, cleaned out all the rubbish, got our security deposit refunded, did loo stops and waited for the courtesy bus to take us to the terminal
If we had left at 9am it would have been tight but leaving at 10am we had about 40 minutes to get to the terminal and check in. Good luck with that one. I started to (belatedly) panic and Zed went into zen mode. He just said we would not panic, we would just get to the terminal and see what we could do. Well, we had to buy new tickets for a flight that left hours later.
We hung out at an Italian restaurant and without a doubt it is the best airport food any of us have ever had. The place also has a restaurant in Covent Gardens and the meal was incredible - and not expensive. I felt so bad about my monumental stuff-up and Zed just kept telling me to stop, it was done and to stop beating myself up about it. He wasn't mad or upset just very zen.
I texted our friends in Holland about the 5 hour delay. Joachim texted us back to chill, we'd soon all be catching up and told us how to get train tickets to their place. We went through security at Heathrow which took about 30 minutes and then just killed time in the very busy waiting area
In 1985 Joachim was backpacking for a year around Australia and met my friend Janet who was holidaying in Perth. She told him to look her up when he got to her hometown near the Gold Coast. He did and then Janet drove him up to Brisbane and he and Janet stayed with us. Janet's dad collected MGs so Janet, Joachim, my brother Simon and I spent the weekend driving around in the MG and smoking cigars.
Joachim remembered that my parents were away for the weekend and when they returned we had some family dinner to go to and he borrowed a suit. He must have stayed for a few more days because I drove him up to Goombungee on the Darling Downs so he could see rural Queensland.
Anyway, Joachim and I kept in touch and when I went to Europe in 1989 I met up with him and his wife Mary-Ane. They had just married a few months earlier and we all spent a weekend together
Joachim had the opportunity to purchase the data company he worked for and it has done incredibly well. About 8 years ago they built their house which is bigger than even most Australian homes. When Joachim drove us back to their place we were all in awe. We walked through the front doors and into the lobby which has a giant chandelier. The chandelier came from a castle. The house is breathtaking and we were all a tad overwhelmed. Mary-Anne designed the whole place and Zed was in seventh heaven. Tall rooms with no chance of him hitting his head on anything. The ground floor has the living areas, the first floor included our bedroom and the top floor had more bedrooms and a guest bedroom.
Our bedroom was a giant room probably bigger than our lounge room back home and was all white - four white bunk beds, white bedding, whitewalls and roof and beech floors. Really simple and beautiful. Joachim then took us downstairs below the kitchen area where they built in a 50 metre in-door pool. Heaven. The kitchen is enormous - 2 huge parallel island benches and then at the far end a kitchen table that easily sat the 11 of our combined families
I was all "what's done is done" about the plane ticketing thing but it still hurt. The tickets we paid for (purchased back home over the internet) became worthless with no return and the next flight a couple of hours later had to be paid for as well. Fi says I was Zen but I was crying on the inside ... a lot. I still wake up at night sometimes and shed a tear over that. Whenever I am hit with something like this I look forward to getting back home, buying some more shares and property and working harder at my job to eradicate these events from my memory.
Fi has described Joachim and Mary-Anne's house very well and it is very, very, beautiful. Fi and I have many times thought about building a house from the ground up and having seen what can be done we are very motivated to explore this further when we get home.
I made careful note of some of the interior design ideas Mary-Anne had come up with and some of the energy saving and structural things Joachim had come up with, there are some great ideas there for when/if we build something ourselves.
p.s. I have added some pics of events from the next day because (for some reason) the blog interface would not let me add any more photos to the next entry.