One of the positive things about Covid restrictions is that we have made the most of every opportunity to celebrate life. Normally we would probably allow Valentines Day to drift by unnoticed but this year we got out the bunting and decorated the house and then ordered a delicious take away gourmet meal. It was such a treat and great fun!
We were back staying with our daughter Hannah and her husband Pieter in the Netherlands while we prepared to return to our catamaran Sunday in Kaş, Turkey.
The snow and ice that had brought such joy and excitement to one and all over the past couple of weeks had melted away and the weather became a lot milder again. (See https://saltytalesfrombalihai.com/2021/03/06/floods-snow-and-ice/ for photos and video)
Taking advantage of the milder weather Hannah and Pieter went on a week’s break in the camper van while we “cat sat” and started packing.
In between our preparations we found some more places to explore, including an amazing water reserve called the Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen.
The park, very near to the famous tulip fields, is made up of hundreds of sand dunes which filter the rain water before it is collected and purified to serve the population of Amsterdam.
We saw lots of water birds and at one point three stunning young adult swans took off and flew right over us just feet away from our heads. It was such an impressive sight but I was very disappointed that I didn’t manage to capture it on camera.
There were also heaps of deer – some of which were very shy but others were much bolder.
We managed to get pretty lost at one point – the park is vast!
Meanwhile back in Pijnacker the first signs of spring were beginning to show – there were crocuses and mini narcissus blooming in every green space and garden.
Two days before we due to leave for Turkey (on 1 March) we had the most wonderful surprise. The Christmas parcel that our son Ben and his wife Sarah had sent off in November finally arrived! Only two months late but great timing!
Sarah and Ben had bought us a range of lovely Australian themed gifts which was so thoughtful especially as we had hoped and planned to be spending Christmas 2020 with them in Brisbane.
To celebrate we had drinks and nibbles outside – just like an Aussie Christmas except we had a space heater and a wood fire for warmth!
In our parcels a couple of us received mini bottles of some very special gin. We also had another small bottle of gin and the remains of a larger bottle so on our last night we had a gin tasting and sushi night. A great way to celebrate our last night together (for a while!)
The following day, we bade our sad farewells and armed with our negative covid test results, left for the airport to fly to Turkey and back to our catamaran Sunday.
Everything went very smoothly checking in at Amsterdam and on the flight to Istanbul but our stop over in Istanbul was not the greatest.
We hadn’t booked accommodation as we had discovered that if you are unable to book an earlier connecting flight and there are more than 12 hours between your flights then Turkish Airlines would pay for a night in a hotel for you.
The long and the short of it was that we walked kilometres to try and find the desk where you organise this and in the end we gave up and booked an airport hotel at a travel desk.
We paid top dollar and ended up in the dingiest and most horrible hotel possible. We agreed it was one of those disastrous events that we would put behind us and never mention again!
Early next morning we were back at the airport for the short plane ride to Dalaman where we were met by the car and driver we had organised from the Netherlands.
The weather was cloudy but felt warm in comparison to the Netherlands and the two and half hour drive was very pleasant – with lovely mountain views and gorgeous glimpses of the Mediterranean Sea.
The apartment we had booked in Kaş was perfectly located – very close to the shops and the market and just a short walk to the marina.
We had lovely views from our balcony and the only downside was that the apartment was situated right next to a mosque so every morning before dawn we were awakened by the call to prayer.
Very quickly we learnt to turn over and go back to sleep despite some noisy roosters and barking dogs who conspired to try and keep us awake!
It was great to be back in Turkey at the start of another new sailing adventure!