Sunday, October 29, 2006

Home sweet home

Long time no blog but much has happened, from team presentation in Berlin to back ‘home’ in Sydney…My last week in Germany was great, the weather was trying to impress me after the yucky spring weather and it was good to have so much blue sky and sunshine. I did some running, a little study and a lot of procrastinating and had a chance for many a long sleep in…very nice. We traveled up to Berlin for the team presentation, 10 days ago now…it is a new German team called ‘Getranke Hoffman’…unfortunately I don’t have any photos to share just yet so I can’t show you the team colours. I am the only non-German which is interesting and challenging in the language department but it is exactly what I need to kick me in the bum and really start to learn a language. So I am trying, I figure even 5 mins a night is better than nothing, but I have a terrible memory and so it is a slow process, but worthwhile J

I have been home just under a week, I arrived late on Wednesday night to be greeted by Kate and Richie and a lovely big bunch of flowers. The flight was long…you always forget just how far we are away from everything…and I completely messed it up, staying awake the first flight and then crashing out on the second. This has led to a week of the worst jet-lag I have ever had. I had 1.5hrs sleep the first night, and since then I am better but still awake early. It is amazing how productive I can be between 4 and 9 am! I have been cleaning the house, walking the dogs, doing washing…in fact I am so efficient that I put Kate’s wallet and car keys in the recycling bin…whoops ;)

The first night home the family came around to celebrate Nana Heather’s 81st birthday, it was so good to see everyone, hear Pop’s stories that I haven’t heard for at least 7 months and have a good laugh. Poor Richie is still puzzled by Pop’s riddles….we haven’t managed to solve them in 25 yrs so I think he has no chance. Richie was blessed with a cheerful rendition of ‘Patty McGintie’s goat’ – hard to explain unless you’re part of the Bates family ;)

On Friday night Kate and Richie took me out for a ‘surprise’, something they had planned and of which I had no idea. It turned out to be Cirque du Soleil which was a fantastic surprise. I have seen one before in Rotterdam, the Drallion show and this one was Varekai…it blows me away, I think you can never see it too many times. It makes me feel a bit of a joke that I call myself an athlete after seeing the strength, control, flexibility and skill that the ‘performers’ display. Very inspiring!

I had a great weekend catching up with friends, going down to Manly beach and going to watch Kate and Rich race. I am now back on the bike and it is not as scary as I would have thought after 5 weeks off….the running has done me some favours. Time to cook dinner in time for Robbie to get on the rollers. A lot coming up…hopefully I have time to blog it J

Saturday, October 14, 2006

The changing of the seasons

Autumn has arrived here...the leaves have gradually turned from green, to yellow and now a deep red. It is a pretty time, and with the weather still relatively mild...its nice to be here. I haven't had a real autumn in years, my life consisting of the spring-summer combination back to back.

It has been a relatively quite time, which I can't complain about at all. I have some study I need to get done and it is good to try and get it done before I head home to the craziness of Sydney...with so many different things to do and people to see. I have been running every second day or so to get my exercise fix...I haven't run in years and I am really enjoying it. It is cool here in the mornings (8 degrees or so) but the sun has been out most days, and it is a great way to start the day.

My team presentation is next Saturday in Berlin and then I will be heading back to Holland to fly out of Amsterdam to Sydney. I will be back in Sydney in less than two weeks....its been a long time...7 months away but I can't wait :)

Sending out birthday wishes to 'uncle' Graham and Gunnar - Happy Birthday to you both for today :)

Monday, October 09, 2006

Party time!

On Saturday four of us piled into Senffi's car to drive 6 hrs and meet some of our team-mates for some drinks and dancing in Amsterdam. It was the longest way I've ever driven for a night out on the town but was worth it.

We made it into Amsterdam (despite the highway being shut and us having no map)...met the girls and had a good night pulling our dance moves. For those who don't know me so well I am possibly one of the worst dancers there is....there is not a single bit of rhythm in my body, however I managed to shake my booty until well after 3am. I was quite impressed by my staying power (I am normally hopeless)! The club we were in at great music and a podium in the centre of the dance floor just big enough for our that is where we spent most of the night.

At 5am we arrived 'home' in Hazerswoude, slept for a few hours and then began the drive back. It was quite a way to spend a weekend but that is what the off season is for :)

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Bog from Croatia!

I am back in Amsterdam after a fabulous holiday last week with Jude. We got to see a lot but also had plenty of time relaxing in the sun, swimming in the Adriatic, eating great local food and drinking good local wine and beer....what more could you want in a holiday!?! It feels as though Salzburg was about 2 months ago so it was definitely a very relaxing week.

I really enjoyed our time on the island of Korcula...we stayed in local accomodation ie. someone's house in the middle of the old town, and our two days felt like a week. We swam off the rocks, sunbaked on the pebbly shores, drank cocktails in the stone 'turret' by the sea, ate lots of good food, and bought some beautiful local jewellery :) On one of the days we had lunch in the village of Pupnat which is 15km from the town of Korcula, pretty much in the deadcentre of island. The group was catching the bus out there but I decided it would be good to explore the place more thoroughly and so hired a mountain bike and set off up the hill (10%!) out of town to ride into the interior. The surroundings change rapidly as you ascend and move is quite dry and looks almost desolate with few trees, mainly coastal shrub. It was a beautiful warm sunny day and I had a sweat up by the time I reached our destination but it was well worth it. We had a beautiful lunch of local antipasto, pasta and dessert with plenty of local white and red wine to wash it all town. Most of the group jumped back on the bus for the drive home; 3 brave souls started the walk home (Jude included) and I cruised next to them on the bike for awhile before taking of down the fast descent home. I took a different route home, down the side of the 'mountain' for 5km to the coast and then a leisurely cruise back along the road that hugged the coastline...I even had a tailwind...lovely!
From Korcula we headed up to Split for a couple of days....similarly we had time to explore the local sites with plenty of down time for sun and swimming. Split is home to Diocletian (a Roman emperor)'s palace and it is amazing. It is quite run down but they are doing extensive restoration and it is incredible because within the palace walls is the whole of the old town....restaurants, cafes, heaps of shops and then lots of people living in apartments in the old buildings of the palace. One of the days we caught the ferry out to the island of Brac...hired chairs to save us from the pebbly shores and there we remained for hours, swimming in the beautiful clear waters of the Adriatic....mmmm....
After Split we had an interesting day getting to Zagreb (the capital of Croatia) which is where we were flying out from. We hired a car, drove on the smaller coastal roads to Zadar which is beautiful the whole way and then onto the fairly new super-highway for the last 200km to Zagreb. The new road is amazing and very different to what my visions were. Jude and I are both pretty hopeless with directions but we found our way to the hotel, explored on Sunday night and then flew yesterday.
I'm now back in Amsterdam, we went to Aalsmeer flower markets today which Jude wanted to see and then she flies tomorrow. I need to get back into the groove now, do some uni work and get myself organised for next year. At this stage I don't think I will be home for a few weeks yet but I will write when I know more....