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For The Memories, Babe Finding myself in a rut, I've decided to try something new. Or a few things new actually. I've taken a job as an au pair. And moved to a different country. And don't know anyone else. And am directionally impaired. Here goes nothing...

Sorry, Mario, but the princess is in another castle...

NETHERLANDS | Thursday, 21 February 2008 | Views [5476] | Comments [14]

So today was my first real day-trip. The Family put all these travel books and brochures and such in my room for me to look at, and I found a good one by Lonely Planet about the Netherlands. So I was off to Utrecht.

So as a Texan, I'm not entirely used to the whole public transportation thing. I mean I've used it, in Paris and Chicago and New York, but I would definitely call myself a novice. I mean I understand how to read the maps and find the platforms. But not in Dutch.

So today was to be a testament to several of my abilities, but mainly my quest for self-sufficiency. I think that's a pretty fair overall description of what I hope to get out of this, other than the obvious, which is a view of Europe.

I'm not going to lie. It was a little rough. I got up and got dressed running late enough that I would probably miss breakfast, but not my bus. Except that I looked at the clock on my phone which was apparently 20 minutes fast, so I thought that I had missed the bus, so I wasted a lot of time and had a slow breakfast since I thought I had to waste an hour. Then I realized the clock was wrong and I could've easily made the bus. Way too long of a description, but it frustrated me a little, and so it was worth explaining. So I finally got on the bus, the train, and another bus. But more importantly, I got on the RIGHT bus, the RIGHT train, and another RIGHT bus. Then the tricky part.

My destination for the day was Kasteel de Haar, which is a castle that belongs in the Rothschild family, and as Lauren Anders has me hooked on the Outlander books, I've become newly-obsessed with the midieval. [Two things about this sentence: 1)I wrote Lauren's full name b/c in my previous blog I wrote Alex's full name. Continuity is important. 2)I have no idea how to spell midieval and I refuse to look it up.] The directions both on the website and in the aforementioned travel book say get off the second bus and it's a 15 minute walk to the castle. Neither source tells in which direction to walk, or gives a street name or anything to that affect. So after about a half hour of winding aimlessly in this adorable village refusing to ask which way the castle was (because really, who says, "which way to the castle?" outside of a cartoon), I decided it was a good a time as any to eat lunch. I went into a beautiful little cottage that became a beautiful expance of french-looking chandeliers in a cafe-esque setting. I should've taken a picture of the chandeliers. I even ordered from the [Dutch] menu and ended up with some type of apple pancake. It was good, as was my newfound favorite, hot tea. So finally I convinced myself I would never see the waiter again, and asked him the Tommy Tune question. Me-"Which way to the castle?". Slightly snobby 50-year-old waiter- "Right and right." Brilliant. Thanks a lot. How very helpful.

So after another 15 minute trek around the several options for "right and right," I finally reached the road that went up to the castle. I almost headed back to the train. Just like I almost left the restaurant after I couldn't get the door open. I'm kind of a quitter. Flaw noted.

I got to the castle though. It was cool, but a little pretentious. Seems like it should be a given for a castle, but here's some back story: apparently in the 15th century or sometime in that area someone built this castle in the middle of nowhere. It was bombed (don't remember why or by whom) and so only half a castle stood in ruins until sometime around 1900. At that point the Someone Rothschild, who had married into whatever family owned it, (de Haar maybe?) decided to rebuild it. She spent oodles of her trust fund to have a famous architect (that I had never heard of, but who also built the Amsterdam train station) rebuild the castle from the remains in the style that it was originally built in. So over the next 20 years, the architect created and built an imaginary version of what this castle could have looked like. But didn't. They have scale models of the current and original versions, and they are similar I guess, but not close enough to pretend they are the same castle in my opinion. So basically, it's a castle from 1920 by a guy that should probably work for Disney. Pretty good though. And beautiful gardens. Granted it's February and it's disgustingly cold (usually only a degree or two above freezing, though it is Celsius), so the flowers weren't blooming, but even the bushes and bridges and ornaments in the garden were really neat.

After leaving the castle, I got on a bus, and a train, and another bus. That is, I got on the RIGHT bus, the RIGHT train, and another RIGHT bus, though I did get off a stop early :) And then I ate wonderful quesadillas, and started this blogging thing.

Pretty good for a day's work! Though tomorrow will definitely be tougher. My first day alone with FOUR kids. Should be fun!

Fin, for now!

Tags: Adventures



Four kids!?! I thought I had it rough with two. What are the ages?

  mradventure Feb 22, 2008 12:10 PM


boy 2, girl 3, boy 7, boy 8. it's hard work!

  katieback Feb 22, 2008 7:20 PM


Kera- if you end up reading this, do you know which word I put in just for you and Scott? :)

  katieback Feb 23, 2008 6:43 AM


OK I am impressed with you getting on the right bus, the right train and the right bus. Do you think you could teach me how when you get home? Maybe that is why you can't find anything in Cape May there isn't a train.<br><br><br>

  Aunt Sylvia Feb 24, 2008 10:49 AM


yeah yeah yeah...Cape May is difficult! :)

  katieback Feb 24, 2008 8:58 PM


My favorite part of this story is that you got to have quesadillas! I'm so happy for you!

  lauren Feb 25, 2008 12:59 AM


quesadillas? really? so glad you went to the netherlands to experience mexican food!

  mom Feb 25, 2008 1:04 PM


AFOREMENTIONED: It's an adjective :)
I knew you loved me enough to use my favorite word :)

  Kera Feb 26, 2008 3:50 AM


Are you sure you weren't following a tour guide and actually figured it out all by your self? =]

  Michael Feb 26, 2008 4:54 PM


Post 2. I started playing Super Mario Galaxy today. The title of this blog went perfect with that.

  Michael Feb 26, 2008 4:55 PM


WOW! What an experience! Katie, once again I gotta say...you are so creative in thought! You should write a novel based on this adventure...You are very funny! Is it everything (and more) you thought it would be?

  Faine Feb 27, 2008 12:58 AM


NOT A COMMENT FOR KATES:<br>Michael- Scott and I are addicted to that game!

  Kera Feb 27, 2008 4:40 AM


hahahah! I'm such a goof! I re-read the last comment like three times as "Michael Scott and I are addicted to that game!". I kept thinking...wow...Kera is officially delusional, thinking that she and Steve Carrell hang out... :) haha

  katieback Feb 27, 2008 5:10 AM


Steve Carrell and I do hang out.

  Kera Feb 28, 2008 4:52 AM



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