I started today with a bit of a screw-up. The plan was to get up nice and early, go visit the house where Perry’s mother lived in Den Haag, then head down to Eindhoven. That’s all well and good but only if you actually know the address in Den Haag that you need to visit. I was quite sure I’d written it down, bookmarked in my Maps app, but no … couldn’t find it anywhere. I briefly considered just heading into Den Haag and asking random strangers if they could remember where she lived, but I guess that wasn’t going to be too successful. It didn’t help that by the time I got organised enough to head out, we would never have made it to Den Haag and then on to Eindhoven in time. (Not that we did get to Eindhoven on time anyway, but more on that later). Happily there’s still time to visit Den Haag, it’s a definite on tomorrow’s agenda.
So having checked the timetables we headed off to Amsterdam Centraal, bought our ‘OV-Chipkaart’ from the machine, and in we went, ready to catch the 9:38 to Eindhoven. That would get us there at 10:57, perfect timing to meet up with Gerda and Uco at 11AM. However, before long it started to feel like we were back in Sydney. Sure, I couldn’t understand the full announcement, but as it happens the words ‘defective train’ sound pretty much identical in Dutch and English. The train eventually turned up, about 15 minutes late, and we were soon on our way.
Once we were moving, the similarities with CityRail pretty much ended. The train was clean, quiet, and sure knew how to get a move on – up to about 150km/h in parts, through an amazing amount of beautiful green scenery.
At about quarter past eleven, we finally arrived – and quickly saw Gerda. We must have walked straight past Uco (sorry Uco!) as he was waiting up on the platform. But soon enough we were all together, and off we went to Gerda’s place, just a few minutes walk from the station. Coffee, cake, conversation, all in plentiful supply as we each learnt a bit more about our families on the other side of the world. After a few technical difficulties, I was able to contact Mum and Dad on FaceTime (Mum gets bonus points for getting the video working at her end), so we all had a brief chat across the world. Apparently even having been out of the country for 50-something years, Dad still retains his Brabant Dutch accent – nice one! I was thrilled to get a taste of the famous (well, famous to me at least) van Luyt wine – happy to say that it was very good!
After the FaceTime call, Gerda laid out a delicious lunch of cold meats, cheese, bread rolls, all sorts of delicious stuff. Oh and who could forget the Eindhoven sausage roll – at least that what I’ll call it. Kind of like a sausage roll, but in a delicious bread-y casing rather than flaky pastry. Yum!
We then headed out for a brief walk to one of the houses Dad used to live in as a kid. What a nice neighbourhood! I didn’t really recognise the house – but I’m sure once I get home and check some of the old photos, it’ll look familiar.
Y’know … it’s late, and I’m tired – rather than rush though this story now, I’ll continue it tomorrow when I’m a bit more awake. Good night 🙂