Last week I received an e-mail from long time friend and bicycling buddy that he would be in Germany flying in from WV, USA and planned on coming to visit me and Crystal for a couple of days.
We have been in our house for about ten days and it has been a fast and furious ten days. Here is what has been going on around the Bailey house:
1. Driver Licenses. Took the course and passed the exam for a NATO License to drive in the Netherlands. This is one of three licenses we will end up getting. The next is tomorrow when the VW Toureg is registered. When we get the registration we will also get licenses so we can drive the vehicle. Finally once we get our resident’s cards (a four week process) we can then initiate the process for Dutch driver’s licenses. I thought the DMV’s in the States were a pain….
2. Telephone, Internet and Television. Apparently these are all mixed together. The general rule is if you are not a Dutch resident with a telephone number you cannot have telephone, internet and television at your house. This became quite an issue with us severing customer loyalty to T-Mobile and initiating a new relationship with KPN (the national Dutch provider). Of all of the places we went the local KPN office in Sittard (a nearby city) went above and beyond to help us with getting new iPhones, Sims for our iPads and a package for the house that includes telephone, internet and television ( including BBC One and Two and several English Channels). I think our price is more than Germany but in line with what I believe the cost of living is. We are just now waiting for the appointment to connect the house.
a. Fiber Optic. Interestingly the day the packers brought some of our shipment was the day that the Fiber Optic installers were working on our street to provide all houses in the town Fiber. I suspect in about nine months the fiber will be on line for usage. (not sure why it takes so long). In the end it was chaos with ditch diggers and packers swarming the entrance of the house all morning.
3. Packers. 2/3’s of our stuff arrived last Thursday. The other 1/3 is in Antwerp awaiting processing (not sure why – except US, Dutch, NATO bureaucracy slowing things down)
The majority of the furniture, household goods and clothes arrived. We (Crystal and I) have been unpacking boxes like crazy. The Living Room, Dining Room and Master Bedroom are basically laid out furniture wise… Now it is a process of sorting and placing things in their place
4. Crate 14 or the crate that has the coffee making supplies and machine. This crate has not arrived. As it stands I am using a French Press and I realized, I am no good at using my French Press. My skill has been inconsistent at best either making a fair cup to a terrible cup. I think I am going to switch to the mocha machine (stove top Italian style) that Hank Robinson gave me. I used to be able to make a good Americano with it.
5. An inventory of the town as observe in my morning runs and rides:
1 herd of deer across the street
3 Donkeys next door
?? Goats somewhere nearby I have not seen them but I hear them all day long.
2 + 1 Bakeries (one is closed but I think it opens next week after vacation)
1 Grocery Store with local fresh produce
1 Cathedral that has a bell that rings on the 1/2 hour
1 Eis Cafe with great coffee and friendly service.
1 Museum – Going to try and look at it Wednesday
5 Art Galleries – I think the town might be a local Artists Colony.
I went on my first ride to the nearby town of Valkenberg. Just to get an idea of what biking is like here. The terrain is relatively flat with rolling hills. Much easier to pedal in then in the Oberpfalz, Germany with the huge climbs to get to anywhere. The one thing I got in to bicycle traffic. Where I had to pass people. It was kind of nice as the past five years I was basically the only one out and about. Also the cars were very careful of all the bicyclers on the road. I hope that is the rule rather than the aberration for the day.
I guess that is all I have right now. With boxes getting upacked a bit of settling I will have more time to explore.