Holiday Home Exchange in Utrecht

Jan 3rd, 2009, 06:22 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 665
Posting during our home exchanges, when I have some time, is a nice way for me to give the boys down time and let them flop around and play video games without being antsy and pestering them.

They are great travelers and adapt really well to new places. They've done great at the couple of museums we've taken them too as well. On this trip the oldest, pickier one has discovered he loves bitter ballen and by extension croquettes.

Bitter ballen are like small, round croquettes, popular as a snack or bar food. He's been eating them at tea time and today he ordered croquettes and ate them. On our last trip to the Netherlands he hated croquettes. It was funny because after he'd finished he observed someone cutting them and spreading the croquette on bread -- he announced he's eating them that way next time.
sprin2 is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2009, 06:40 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 665
We thought we'd do another long bike ride during our last few days here. We bundled up yesterday and set out to explore the Vecht River but just outside of Utrecht Mr. Sprin2's tire got flat.

We were told of a bike shop near by and walked there but they were going to take most of the day to fix it. Slowly he walked the bike back to our part of town and one of our local bike shops fixed it in the early afternoon.

It was a shame because it was a really nice day but we put a good spin on the misfortune by having a great lunch / card game and then going to the movies to see Bedtime Stories -- and some shopping for me!

Today we set out again on the same trip, hoping to get as far as Breukelen. Unfortunately, today was pretty cold and we only made it to Maarssen. We were frozen by the time we got there and thawed out in a cozy restaurant with several more hands of cards.

After lunch, with it still cold, we headed back to Utrecht. We passed a frozen canal outside Old Zuylen with lots of people skating. We stopped both ways and slid around on the ice. It was very fun but we'll have to return in nicer weather to see all these houses along the Vecht.

sprin2 is offline  
Jan 5th, 2009, 02:22 PM
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 26
I'm the sister who joined sprin2 the second week. This was my first experience with a home exchange, and at first it was a little weird to be in a room with other people's stuff. But by the end of the week, I felt right at home. Never having been to NL before, a highlight for me was a canal boat tour in Amsterdam- highly recommended for a cold winter afternoon. We used because they were cheaper and located in a familiar area, corner of Spui and Rokin.
enchantedacres is offline  
Jan 6th, 2009, 01:52 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 8,351
Hi enchantedacres, nice to meet you!
I met your sister and her family when they were in Friesland last time they were over. It was so nice tomeet then all. What great nephews you have - my DIL was very impressed with them, not least the way one of them demolished her pie
Jana says Hi btw sprin2!
hetismij is offline  
Jan 6th, 2009, 03:02 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 448
Fun to read your report. Utrecht is a great city. I have worked there for almost 6 years.

Another tip for kids (if you want to 'wear' them down for a day):

A large indoor playground for kids till 12 or so. Not in the nicest area (industry), but fun to do on a cold/wet day.

TommieG is offline  
Jan 15th, 2009, 01:16 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 665
We're home now and just a few final thoughts --

We visited Amsterdam three times during our home exchange.

Loved the Amstelkring (Our Lord in the Attic). We had not been here in probably 15 years and it's now a self-guided tour.

Get your Anne Frank tickets online. Even in December the line was crazy long and the tickets got us right in. Can't say that the experience was excellent -- but the boys had read a book about Anne Frank and we were reading "Tamar" about the Dutch resistance so they were keen to see it -- and it was enchantedacres first time in Amsterdam too. For the rest of us who saw the museum many years ago it is perhaps not as moving as it use to be prior to the massive crowds...

Had great pancakes on Kerkstraat right off Leidsegracht. A little spot serving breakfast / sandwiches most of the day.

We found the trains to be excellent for transportation -- it's a hassle that Americans can't use their credit cards. One day we had enough change to use a machine -- otherwise we had to use the agents.

We absolutely loved Utrecht and will look forward to when we can return next and hopefully ride more bikes -- and my boys want it to be warm so we can rent another boat!
sprin2 is offline  
Jan 16th, 2009, 01:00 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 8,351
Sprin2, no one can use their credit cards for train tickets, not even the Dutch.
We use our debit cards, and you could have too.
hetismij is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2009, 04:19 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 2,627

Glad to see you made it home safely.

Very nicely done. Thanks again.

SandyBrit is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2009, 04:54 PM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 1,691
Yes, I must concur with Sandy. I'm glad to hear you made it home safely. And thanks for sharing your adventures in the Netherlands. I enjoyed reading your report.

Robyn >-
artstuff is offline  
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