Getting Back on Our Feet...and Our Bikes in Springtime Den Haag

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Thursday 4 June 2015

Getting Back on Our Feet...and Our Bikes in Springtime Den Haag

Since our health focused fortnight, with Esther starting to feel stronger now, this past week or so has allowed us to get out and about a little more and start thinking about our plans for destinations and adventures in the summer ahead.  We're very lucky in our Kijkduin base that not only does it allow us to be close to Esther's Oma, we also have so many beautiful outdoor spaces right on our doorstep, with the long sandy beach a few hundred metres away and plenty of parks and greens dotted throughout the surrounding area even though we are so close to Den Haag.

During the time we were especially focused on Esther's convalescence the weather was actually quite good which at times was somewhat frustrating.  So as Esther began to feel stronger, we were glad to be able to venture out a little more into the summer sunshine even if at times the May winds were quite strong and it could still be a little chilly.  But with an extra layer or two on, we have been out and especially enjoying some strolls though the dunes and park in the evenings, smelling the fresh air and watching the sun set into the clouds or even the sea on a very clear evening.

It's actually been a wonderful time of year to be wandering or cycling through the area as nature is in such amazing bloom right now, with recently hatched swans, geese and moorhens waddling after their parents among the blossoming trees and flowers. Every day we pass places where we have seen the new families in the past and look out for them, trying to notice changes and hope they're all still doing fine.


One of our favourite rides is still the cycle through the Madestein park on our way to visit Oma in Wateringen. We've tried to visit whenever we can and spend time with her, talking walks, cooking lots of fresh tasty veggies (keeping up our regular visit to the organic market in The Hague) and playing our favourite game, Triominos, together. We've also tried to offer help where we can, picking up a few bits from the shops, Esther travelling with her for a hospital appointment, collecting supplies from the hospital and taking her to visit Opa's grave for the 4th anniversary of the day he passed away.


We even got to enjoy a trip down memory lane as we passed close to Oude Rijswijk, on route between collecting something from the hospital in Voorburg and dropping it off with Oma in Wateringen. Esther's grandparents lived here for more than 30 years and many of Esther's happy childhood memories involve this area, their flat on Steenlaan, the main street, Herenstraat, and the local animal park  in particular. It was a very happy and surprisingly emotional event to take some time out just to revisit these places and remember old times as we were already passing so nearby. 


Of course there have been some practical jobs to do too. For example, during our adventure last year there were still things in the motorhome we wanted to change, things we wished we'd taken or left behind.  We started this job in the UK and with a bit of unexpected time on our hands we've continued to put some of those right.

Also, we've taken different bikes this year. Our trusty cheap hybrids, which carried us up so many Tour de France climbs have been sadly left behind and we're carrying our old road bikes with us instead. However, having not ridden them for years we've started to get them set up again and adjust them where we can.  Testing them out with several peaceful evening rides through the sandy dunes within sight of the sea between Kijkduin and Hoek van Holland.

So, all in all this past week or so has started to become more full of activities and we're keeping a definite eye on when we might think about heading onwards. Our priority at the moment is still making sure that Esther is well enough to tour.  Although there have been a few worrying episodes this week, on the whole we are feeling optimistic that things will continue to improve. Monitoring the re-introduction of foods closely and keeping a food diary has really helped.  We don't want to take unnecessary risks by rushing off too soon and besides, the Hague really is a lovely place to be at this time of year.

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