A Travellerspoint blog

Flying to Feutreventura

Wednesday - 2011-08-10 (William's Birthday)

Why is it that when you have to get up early, you never sleep the night before? Did I set the alarm, will it go off, What happens if I sleep through the alarm? What happens if I go back to sleep? 03:30 came soon enough and we were all up. We managed to get away by 04:15, the same time as Karen & William who had about an extra 15 minutes travelling time. Fortunaltly the airport is close by and we managed to meet up and get out of the car park in the required 20 minutes. Off to a friend of Karen & William to drop their cars, back to the airport for me to drop off my hire car, and we were into the airport.
9 of us were travelling from Bristol - Mum & Dad, Karen & William, Joe & Anna, Peter & Alex & Olivia, with Irene & Alan, Rebecca & Penny travelling from Manchester and arriving about 2 hours after us.
The airport was heaving and our plane was full. The formalities were completed with little hassle. They picked up the tubs of yogurt and a few other contraband items, but overall it was a smooth exercise. The flight was (as expected) uneventful. Arrival in Feutraventura was great, warm with a light breeze and an air conditioned coach to take us to the hotel. Our party was the last to be dropped off, but it did mean that the Rep could spend some time with us staight way. Only 2 of the rooms were ready when we arrived, so with bags stowed into those rooms we headed off for lunch. The first of the 21 all you can eat buffets!
Dad had booked us into an all inclusive package - even alcohol, sure not top shelf stuff, but basic spirits & wines and local beer. Free water, and all meals included. Not bad. But more importantly a change for the family to be together for the first time in a very long time. I was on hot bricks waiting for my sister to arrive!
Finally I saw the coach, our room faced the street and I was on the balcony at the time. I waited as they checked in at the other building then walked to our building (the resort was spread over 3 buildings). As they dragged their luggage Irene looked up and this big smile crossed her face. It had been 14 years since we had seen each other. I'd like to say that she hadn't changed, but I would be lying.
The afternoon and evening were spent catching up.

pcd

Posted by peter.dudley 17:00 Archived in Spain Tagged islands canary

Weston-Super-Mare

Tuesday - 2011-08-09

We had arranged to meet my parents for lunch and were planning on going on to Ruth (Camilla & Williams mother) for afternoon tea. However the way I was feeling I really wanted to get back to 'My Mums' and drink buckets of Tea all afternoon. When we arrived at Brent House, Ruth was there!! Dad had brought her down with them for which I was very thankful. Being under the weather I'm not sure I did the buffet justice, but the deserts were nice and rich.
The afternoon was spend attending to a few financial matters and wandering around the town. It's changed (as you would expect) but not that much. It still seems to have the same character as it had 14 years ago. The new pier is obvioulsy different, but the entertainment is similar to what was there previously - all designed to take money out of your pocket. I managed to lose 1.20GBP.
An early night was had by all as we had a 3:30 alarm call, and 04:00 departure planned.

pcd

Posted by peter.dudley 17:00 Archived in England

Amsterdam to Bridgewater

Monday - 2011-08-08

06:00 and we were on the road having set the alarm for 05:25 'google' reckoned about 4:15 to get to calais, and the last checking was 10:50 for the 11:20 crossing. The weather was lousy, but my faithful navigator nailied it again, and we arrived early. So early that we managed to get a crossing an hour earlier. I'm just hoping that there were no speeding fines picked up along the way. Arriving in England I really felt the pressure was off, we had achieved all the major goals of Europe, and were back in the UK. Bridgewater was only a few hours away and I could relax. We stopped briefly in Newbury for a pickup lunch and made our way down the M4 and M5 to Bridgewater. It was different driving on the english motorway, the hedges seemed much higher than when I was last here, and I was suprised with the proximity of trees and other obstacles so close to the road.
Finally we arrived at Karen & Williams new house. They have been there under 3 weeks and must have worked like slaves to turn an empty shell into a home. That evening we went to 'Spoons' a typical english 'gastro' pub. Where I had a typical english mixed grill.
My snoring had been a real issue for the girls, and I had put it down to the sudden increase in weight and nightly alcohol intake. However over the last few days I have been brewing some kind of ENT issue. It had started with a light ear ache, turned into a swollen abcess on my back teeth, and finally resulted in a sinus cold. I now wonder if my glands had started swelling and the snoring was as a result if that. During the course of the evening I went rapidly down hill. Fortunatly Alex and Olivia were in the guest room, and I was in Williams office. What I can say is that the 'bed' in Williams office was really welcome and VERY comfortable. come the morning things were improving, but the sinusitus was well entrenched.

pcd

Posted by peter.dudley 17:00

Amsterdam

Sunday - 2011-08-07

semi-overcast 20 °C

Alex had commented that the queues for the Anne Frank house get quite long, and we should be there bu 09:00. At 10:30 the girls finally decided to get up (must have been something to do with my snoring). The queue was massive, and the wind bitingly cold, so must so that I purchased a hot pink hoody in support of the Gay Pride weekend and to keep warm. The girls didn't want to be seen with me for some reason. I was expecting the house to be a real disappointment having waited over 2.5 hours to get it. I was TOTALLY WRONG. The wait was worth every second. You move through the front part of the house and think, yeah this is OK. Then you move to the rear of the house and the reality that they faced hits home. A smaller darkened room, in which they could make no noise during the day, nor use the toilet for fear of alerting the workes below who had no idea that they were hiding in the house. This is a visit I'd recommend to anyone.
After a quick lunch, Alex and Olivia headed off whilst I visited a Coffee Shop. I've only ever had a puff on a joint and frankly it did noting for me. But I was in Amsterdam and going to a Coffee Shop is just one of those things you have to do (just like going to Manly beach when in Sydney - at least for the first time). The giy at the hotel had given me the name of the coffee shop he used and said, explain that it was your first time and they will look after you. Well they sure did. They explained that you lit the joint like a cigar but smoked it like a cigarette. Take 3 puffs then wait 10 minutes and see how you feel. I felt really really good! I managed about 1/2 the joint and have no idea how long I was there. I now understand why people smoke non tobacco substances, and reckon if I was 30 years younger would probably become a regular smoker.
That evening Alex met up with some MacRob school friends and Olivia & I had a take away. We had an early start on Monday.

pcd

Posted by peter.dudley 17:00

Dusseldorf to Amsterdam

Saturday - 2011-08-06

Again, up earlier than the girls to get some Broitchen for breakfast, and then on on the road for the journey to Asmterdam. We wanted to go via Neimegan and Arnheim if possible. Camilla's father (John) had spent time in Neimegan during the war and I wanted to have a look at both towns. Unfortunatly time was against us and Arnheim was missed out. Our visit to Neimegan was brief, just a lunch stop, but the visit was long enough for us to realise that we all want to go back at some time. The journey to Amsterdan was (fortunatly) uneventful.
We arrived in Amsterdam in the late afternoon and found our hotel. Amsterdam is like many cities trying to keep traffic (and pollution) out of the center. Hence when we checked in we discovered that on street parting is 4Eur per hour. Our options were to move the car outside of the parking ring, where parking was free, but that involved a) trying to find a parking spot and b) at least 1/2 an hour of travel each way. Given that parking was free on Sunday (the following day) we chose to pay the 28Eur to stay in the spot we had found on the street right next to the hotel. We also discovered that this weekend was the Gay Pride weekend in Amsterdam. This helped explain the extorsionate price for the hotel, but also meant we had a greta time in the center. We had already discivered that the Van Gough museum was closed, but still had the Red Light District, a Coffee Shop visit and the Anne Frank house on our list. We found details of the torture museum, which both the girls expressed interest in visiting so that was the first stop of the evening. Must forms of turture I was already aware of (not sure that that is a good thing), but it was nice to have a little more context added in most cases. As we were leaving the question about progress was raised with current examples of the US approach suggesting that the use and purpose of torture in the middle ages has not progressed too much in the last 1000 or so years.
With the vast number of people in town, finding somewhere to eat was always going to be a challenge. However we hit the jackpot. We found an Argentinian style steak resturant and each had a most magnificent steak cooked to perfection, and excellent service. By now it was raining heavily and as we headed outside the sidewalks were awash with soggy cardboard and debris. Olivia was in a pair of very flat flip flop type shoes, it can not have been too savory for her as we made our way to the Red Light District. This was an eye opener for Alex & Olivia. Girls dressed leaving very little to the imagination, but just enough. Stuck in a small room, smaller than 2m * 3m with a red fluro light hanging outside and a glass door, parading their bodies for anyone interested. I pointed out to Alex and Olivia that this was the reason their parents wanted them to work hard at school. Some of the girls seemed good sports and layed it on for the tourists, others were bored and stood there smoking, others were more interested in having a chat on their mobiles. There were a variety of shapes and sizes available, but the common trend was the long black straigtened lacquered hair, a style a bit like what the young boys are wearing, only slightly longer. The one thing that is a big tabboo is taking photo's. The pimps will gang up on you if they find you photographing their merchantise.
pcd

Posted by peter.dudley 17:00 Archived in Netherlands

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