Tuesday, 12 August 2014

What a difference a couple of weeks makes

We arrived two weeks ago, and in that time we've done a smattering of day trips and official stuff like getting a bank account and registering that we are living here. Yesterday was our wedding anniversary, nothing went according to plan, from the appointment at the bank in the morning without the BSN number we are still waiting for for Toby to when we left in the evening, leaving our friend to babysit, Toby realised he'd lost the car key, which after much searching and my third bike ride into town, had been inside our friend's sofa for a couple of days. In the end, we ordered a pizza, played a board game with our friend and babysitter and had beer. So hardly a romantic evening but considering our luck yesterday, it ended very well.
We have been in our new apartment for almost two weeks, I'm sitting typing at our dining table from Emmaus de bilt, blogging with wifi, while the kids watch CBBCs, they have declared a pjama day and I haven't the stregnth to deny them. It's cold and windy outside, we've had a busy couple of weeks, we have plenty of food in the house and no real need to go anywhere today.
The boys have been cycling into town with us most days, and the days we haven't ridden, we've been on the bus and even got a train back from the spoorweg museum a few days ago.
Beautiful path into town, able to have a hand on R's shoulder to help him along, stop him wondering and make sure he stops at the lights!
Where we are, like every area of Utrecht, there is a dedicated cycle network and integrated public transport.
Local commuter train home, this carrage has flip up seats for bikes, pushchairs and peak standing room only.


The trains and buses have screens like this, it makes using public transport so much less stressful when you know where you are and where you are going.

This isn't the usual but having a slide at the local train station is always a bonus.

This bus was scheduled to meet the train we got and goes round the area - real integrated transport, no taxi needed.
Either we get the bikes out or we walk 30m to the end of our road and there's various bus stops going in various directions, we walk across the road and there's a shopping centre, I got the boy's haircut there yesterday. It's got a great bike shop, I've already got  my back tyre fixed, I thought it was the valve, turned out when I had the new hub fitted the spokes the fitter used are too long and they had punctured through the lining and into the tyre, the guy at the bike shop here said he shortened the spokes and replaced the lining and inner tube, so good job done by someone who knows what he's doing. I have to pick up Toby's bike today, he's having a service and having a back rest and foot rests fitted to his carrier, so Reuben can sit on the carrier. Reuben's good at cycling but his concentration is still such that you need to be one to one, that doesn't work with Leon there as well, who is fantastic but they've only been using the infra for a few days and I prefer us to be one to one with them, come the school run in September, it will be good to have the option for toby to take R on the back and Leon cycle. I'm going to do the same on my bike. It's a very simple set up - a back rest to stop him falling off the back and foot rests, it's not that comfy but it's only meant to be for short distances. In a few months I hope Reuben will be more accustomed to riding and we will feel able to ride with two kids next to us.
I've pimped our balcony. We have a lovely view of trees anyway and I've got a nice mixture of some flowers and culinary herbs. It's lovely to sit out there (although today it's rather windy) The door to the balcony has been open most of the time we've been here, it's a great design that you have the fresh air there right next to the kitchen, dining and living room, even if you are four floors up.