Goodbye 2020

Ending this endless downer of year on a good note with watching Uncle Vanya again on BBC Four last night…

As I’ve already seen this twice in the theatre and once in the cinema not long ago, I admit to now and again simultaneously also reading on my new e-reader that I’ve fallen in love with. I’m reading the Bridgerton series right now and late last night finished book 3, book 4 is up next.

I did record Uncle Vanya so that I can view it again and again if I choose to. 🙂

I’m not feeling particularly reflective today, so just looking ahead to the new year and a promise for better times. We’re ready here for the evening with the traditional Dutch ‘oliebollen‘ and ‘appelbeignets‘…

I hope you all have a nice New Year’s Eve!

Happy 2020 from Frankfurt!

Yesterday, on New Year’s Eve, Mr Esther, my mini-not-me daughter and I spent strolling through the center of Frankfurt. Mini-not-me is tired of Mr Esther’s and my preference for older looking towns, she wants to see modern skylines and buildings and such, so we stuck to the newer part of town. We all especially liked the Zeil shopping mall.

One store called Saturn stocked an amazing collection of cd’s and dvd’s, the likes you rarely see in The Netherlands anymore, where streaming online and digital copies are I think overtaking the cd and dvd collections. Mini-not-me found a collector’s item BTS cd + booklet she really wanted and I was amazed at how many classics were to be found on dvd. I took a trip down memory lane from when I lived in Germany in my teens, when we used to watch these shows on TV as a family (and bought myself an old Rock Hudson & Sidney Poitier movie I’ve never seen before)…

We strolled some more, then mini-not-me and I returned to the hotel for a rest as mini-not-me has been battling a flu, while Mr Esther went to the historical museum.

Our experience last year in Hamburg had taught us that it would be good if we reserved a restaurant for New Year’s Eve dinner. A few weeks ago we had called a few restaurants and finally found a spot at an Italian one that we thought would be nice. On the phone at the time they told us they only served a special standard New Year’s Eve menu and we said fine and didn’t think anything of it. When we arrived at the restaurant at 7 pm we felt slightly under dressed as it all looked fancy. We were welcomed with champagne…


…  they only served wine per bottle (not per glass) and the courses started coming. There were six (!) courses in all! Halfway through the evening we figured out the actual standard menu price per person (hadn’t thought to ask beforehand) and as the fancy courses started coming we figured it would probably cost a pretty penny. We were right, it did cost a pretty penny, probably close to what our hotel stay was costing us. Oops! Honestly, though, we just laughed it off. Our own fault for not asking more details in advance and the dinner and all the courses (mostly marine-themed) were absolutely delicious! We figured, what the heck, we’d just enjoy it and that we did. It was long, though, we sat there for close to 4 hours!

We then walked down to the river and crossed one of the bridges to the other side of town (just outside the main party area, an area that was too busy for us to want to brave). A lot of fireworks were already going off but we found a nice spot at the end of the bridge, near police and security, where we felt safe enough to stand and enjoy the fireworks that were already lighing up some of the Frankfurt skyline.

Then at midnight all hell broke loose with people setting off their fireworks. Seriously, I think I have rarely stood in the middle of such a mighty fireworks explosion before.

I made some gifs from the small video I made, you’ll just have to imagine the deafening noise along with it!

It was a little scary but also exhilirating and beautiful at the same time, despite the air polution and the garbage. The atmosphere was festive and not grim, which was also cool. Things calmed down relatively quickly, I found, and we were back in our hotel rooms by one am.

This morning we slept in a bit, took it easy at the hotel after breakfast and then in the afternoon, in glorious albeit cold weather, we walked down to the beautifully reconstructed Alte Römer area. We first went to the river hoping to secure tickets for a Main river cruise at the end of the afternoon (the website had said the cruise was also available on Sundays and Feastdays), only to find that there were no cruises on New Year’s Day. And yes, the trash in the picture was trash from the night before. Wow.

We then visited the cathedral where Mr Esther had hoped to go on a guided tour only to find that the tour had been cancelled for the day. Oh well, we enjoyed looking around anyway and Mr Esther was able to photograph some coats of arms as well (his hobby is heraldry).

We walked through the Alte Römer area…

… but couldn’t find many cafés open for tea and cake. We finally did find the café at the Hauptwache open (closer to the modern part of town) to round off our afternoon. We had another little hotel rest after (mini-not-me is still not feeling great), then dinner at an Italian fastfood kind of place (cheap, compensating nicely for the evening before) and then went on another evening stroll around town.

Tomorrow we head back home again. Our son, who’s been at home working and celebrating New Year’s with friends, has also come down with the flu, poor thing! He’s never ill and I hate that we’re not near him while he’s feeling bad. He did go in to work today but left a bit early and is now crashed at home. Luckily he is free tomorrow and can hopefully recuperate a bit. And apparently I mind him being on his own more than he does. 🙂

Before we leave tomorrow (or really, later today – I see it’s 1 after am now!) we want to go up one of the towers for an overview over the city (also closed today). Despite stuff being closed it’s been a great few days and it was nice having mini-not-me to ourselves for a bit. She really liked Frankfurt, by the way, and says this will be a trip she will always remember fondly. That makes my heart very happy in this new year. We’ve started 2020 well (despite illnesses) and I hope you have too!

Happy 2019!

Wishing you all a Happy New Year from Hamburg!

Pics aren’t so great (taken with our phones) but you get the idea. 🎉

Best wishes and may 2019 be a good year for you all.

Aaaaand… we’re off!

Last night was the last evening Mr Esther and I spent with our kids this year, so we had a mini family New Year’s Eve celebration with the traditional “oliebollen” which are served for New Year’s here, some bubbly wine and sparklers…


Today we all set off in different directions. Mr Esther and I left at around 11.30 am for Hamburg, the kids left at around 3 pm by bus and train for my older brother’s home town. They are spending the night there so that tomorrow morning early my older brother can drive his daughter, my kids and my younger brother to the airport. Off to London they go!

After two stops we arrived at our hotel in Hamburg at around 5.45 pm. Mr Esther has been feeling a little off today and that got worse on our drive up to Hamburg. He’s feverish, so this evening we’re staying put at our hotel.


Hopefully Mr Esther can sleep it off somewhat so that he feels a little better tomorrow and we can start exploring Hamburg a bit.

I expect to not be online much tomorrow, so I’m wishing all of you a good New Year’s Eve now. Have fun celebrating, not celebrating, sleeping, whatever it is you want to do and talk to you all again in 2019! 🎇

Best wishes for 2018!

The evening of New Year’s Eve has started here in The Netherlands, just about 5 hours to go till midnight when this gets posted… Of course, it would be a perfect time to look back at this past year on blog and in my life, but life goes on, and I find I have little time to really reflect right now.

Last night my husband, the kids and I returned from a relatively last-minute 3 day trip to Disneyland Paris!


We had never been and especially Mr Esther has been very reluctant to do this but the kids have been wanting to go for years and I have always been curious about it too. Ever since 2004 we have spent the week around New Year’s Eve in a cottage in the north of The Netherlands owned by my parens but the cottage was sold last summer and it felt empty not doing anything at this time of year with just the 4 of us. So, just before Christmas, I suggested Disneyland as a trip. In the spirit of creating family memories while the kids are still at home (now at 14 and 16 years of age), Mr Esther quickly agreed and the trip was planned.

So basically, this past week, I’ve been super busy here with Christmas (two days of festivities with two families and my brothers came from abroad as well!), a day of helping my sister get stuff moved from her basement, and then off to Disneyland! Reflection has not been high on my list these past days, but it is starting to worm itself into my mind now, so a future blog post may spring from that (or not).

In the mean time, I’d like to wish you all, my dear readers, all the very best for 2018!


I hope it will bring many good things!