Prodigal Daughters…

One of the most wonderful aspects of our recent trip to Amsterdam was the sense of pilgrimage brought on by being there together. As kids we were at our Oma and Opa’s at least once a week so our sense of ‘Dutch-ness’ has been very strong all of our lives and the sense of shared heritage during our visit – particularly as it was Lil Chicky’s first foray across The Channel – was quite poignant.

The icons of Amsterdam and The Netherlands, though I’d seen and photographed them many times before, seemed to shape our pilgrimage and just like the tale of the brave Dutch boy who held back the swirling waters by putting his finger in a hole in the dike, we remained resolute walking, eating and snapping our way through four fabulous days.


And speaking of walking, what better place to start than the klompenmakerij, or the wooden shoe factory.

L to R: wooden shoe tree outside the factory in Marken
carved shoes hung up to dry; souvenirs galore.

Lil Chicky even tried a pair on…


…but decided to buy the pair that she could actually fit into her suitcase.

Still speaking of walking, If you’re walking anywhere in Amsterdam, it pays to pay attention. Cyclists rule the roads and there was a point where we found ourselves caught mid-street with a tram on one side and a cyclist on the other. The tram driver stopped.

Clockwise L to R: Bikes parked in Dam Square; 
view from the canal; 
the ‘bike park’ (how on earth do you find your ride again?)

Travelling further afield we saw our first windmills, standing tall over the flat watery plains, and paid homage to sails of a typically Dutch kind.

Scenes from Zaanse Schans

The Netherlands produces three billion tulip bulbs every year. We found a few down at the flower market on The Singel in Amsterdam…and a few more of ‘nature’s gifts’ on our travels.

Clockwise L to R: Tulips at the bloemenmarkt on The Singel; a very literal hash tag;
wheels of gouda cheese everywhere from Amsterdam to Volendam.

Speaking of nature’s gifts, two particular girls would never have graced the world with their special brand of Aussie Dutch-ness without at least a little contribution from the bloke who lived for a while at 159 Amstelkade. So we caught the number 24 tram on Thursday night, walked about 15mins and found ourselves here…
Prodigal daughters – finding Dad’s childhood home. 
Pictures were duly despatched to said sire.

With all of this pilgrim-ing, we needed to keep up our strength and every day was punctuated with cries of remembered vittels from our childhhood.

Clockwise L to R: Enjoying hot chips and proper creamy mayonnaise; 
waffles for every palate (including Lil Chicky’s); 
Dutch apple pie – chock full of layers of thinly sliced apple – evoked a real ‘Oma’ moment for us; 
yours truly enjoying a well-earned oliebollen; 
two excited faces waiting for our inaugural Amsterdam poffertjes; in the making.

And when all was said and done, and all of those memories were tucked away into the chinks of my mind and heart, I wanted to bring a little piece of it home with me…

My hand made Delft vase, a wonderful reminder of our trip.


…and while tulips will no doubt look amazing once they are in season, my irises look gorgeous at Gidday HQ.


So that’s Amsterdam – and a day trip or two – done. 

Until the next time I need a nostalgia fix!

A skip in my step

So the great Chicky Adventure is done and my sibling partner in crime has arrived back on the other side of the world (and is working through her jet lag by all accounts).

It was such an amazing two weeks – firstly for the unadulterated ‘just us’ time, secondly for the opportunity for me to introduce her to this amazing city I call home, and thirdly for our shared pilgrimage to Amsterdam, Dad’s childhood home, and the delicacies we enjoyed in memory of our Oma and Opa.

I’ve been meaning to pick up the blogging ‘pencil’ again over the last few days but I have felt so full of everything we did that I haven’t known where to start. The anticipation of Lil Chicky’s first trip here. The pride in the sharing of my new hometown and experiencing its fabulous-ness through her ‘new’ eyes. The privilege of helping her celebrate her 40th birthday. The sheer intensity of spending 2 weeks – 24/7 – together for the first time since…well forever.

All underpinned by a lifetime of sisterly memories, the effortless and uncomplicated recall of funny stories, childhood scrapes and sibling rivalry, and squillions of photos…

…including a few selfies.

DAY 2: Fab Finchley – looking for coffee in the pouring rain. 

DAY 3: Can’t go to London without visiting the Queen. 

DAY 4: Hamers do ‘the henge’ (squeezed between visits to Salisbury and Bath). Technically not a selfie thanks to a kind Aussie chap on the tour, but close enough.

There’s a small selfie gap here while we undertook birthday celebrations (part one – The Mousetrap and dinner in Covent Garden – and two – Pret-a-Portea at The Berkeley)…

DAY 5: Fashionista food at the Berkeley

…Westminster Abbey, Tower of London, Globe Theatre and a visit to Carnaby Street.

DAY 6: Yes, we bought these. Because we had to get out of the rain. And the Irregular Choice shop was just there. Really.

Then we went to Amsterdam…

DAY 9: Arriving at Amsterdam’s Central Station about 2 minutes before torrential rain…

Waiting for our first poffertjes (teeny tiny pancakes served with butter and icing sugar and eaten with a toothpick) of the pigrimage trip in Dam Square.

(More on Amsterdam in a later post).

After 4 days, we returned to London, hired a car and drove first to Silverstone and then to Donington Circuits to tick a few things off Lil Chicky’s motorsport bucket list. Looks like Day 13 was a lucky one…

The Winners’ Podium at Silverstone – cheesy but had to be done.

We decided to take Day 14 easy with a visit to the Museum of London after the ‘wild storm‘ had abated…and when Day 15 dawned bright and blue-skied (if a little chilly), there was just one thing left to do…

DAY 15: It endeth on The Eye – our last sibling selfie of the trip.

Full of our time together and tired from our two weeks of tourist-ing, we said our emotional good-byes at Heathrow last Tuesday. After I’d waved until she’d disappeared behind the security barrier, I made the long trip home to Gidday HQ. It’s still my warm and cosy haven but a little quieter. And yellow banner of the Money Shop, which became our welcoming ‘nearly home’ beacon as we turned into my street each night, has now taken on a new and poignant significance. Another memory, meaningless to anyone else but enough to inspire a skip in my step…

…one that only Lil Chicky will understand.