Sandra is Portuguese and has been living with her husband in Almere near Amsterdam for a few years, and I've been following her blog for a couple of years too.
We drove to Almere and parked in a parking lot next to a shopping in the city centre and the couple met us there shortly. We walked to a nearby coffee shop - Café op 2.
After coffee Sandra and J showed us around the town centre and then they invited us to their place to continue the conversation.
We had a lovely afternoon, our husband's had a lively conversation going, when we realized it was getting dark and it was time to go, but first we walked to the lake near their house for a photo.
|Art around Almere|
|Almere streets and architecture|
|A lake in Almere near Sandra's house where we went to take a photo before leaving|
After dinner we packed up our suitcase as we were leaving Amsterdam the following day in the late afternoon.
On Monday, 2nd of April we packed the boot of the small hire car with all our suitcases and drove to Den Haag to have lunch at the house of a South African couple who are friends of Karina and Thomas. We had already met them the last time we were in Amsterdam when they also lived there, but recently they bought a house in Den Haag about 60kms away.
On the way we saw some quirky life-sized white animals on top of a building just outside Amsterdam, lots of windmills and windfarms.
|On the road - a modern bridge, animals on top of a building, windmills, my daughter's building model in the foyer of the building.|
After a delicious lunch, M presented us with a beautiful chocolate Easter cake that looked exactly like one on the cover of a magazine she showed us. She loves baking and is always trying to perfect her craft.
The other guests at the lunch, a young Portuguese couple who work Karina,and who had just arrived from a holiday in New Zealand announced that they had gotten engaged while hiking in NZ and would be getting married soon. M volunteered to bake their wedding cake, and I'm sure they get a beautiful cake for their special day.
|Amazing chocolate Easter cake, the little pug that M and S have that travels everywhere with them|
Unfortunately by 3,30pm we had to leave and drive about 40km the airport as our flight departed at 5,50pm. Karina was also flying with us to Portugal, but Thomas stayed behind and would return home by train later in the day and would join us in Portugal on Friday evening.
After check-in, and because Karina is a frequent flyer due to her work trips I was able to join her for a quick snack in the frequent flyer lounge while my poor husband stayed outside, but only one guest allowed :)
We flew Transavia, a Dutch low cost airline, and even though the seats had been pre-booked they put the 3 of us in different rows, a bit strange... but I sat by the window just as I like, so all good.
|At Schipol airport|
Three hours later we arrived in Lisbon, at 8pm local time. While my daughter and I waited for our checked luggage my husband sorted out a rental car.
|Arriving in Lisbon|
When ready we bought a Vodafone Sim card for €15 that would give us free calls and internet usage during our stay. We then met up with my husband in the parking garage and drove the 30km to Cascais, where my family live and where we had rented an Airbnb apartment for the 4 of us, which by chance was just 500mt down the road from my sister.
On the way we called the family - both my Mom and my sister were waiting to feed us a late dinner, but we settled on going to my sister first as she had collected our apartment's keys earlier in the day. It was already close to 11pm when we popped into my parents place to give them a hug before going to our place to sleep. Late, but in Portugal most people go to bed quite late and I know my parents are night owls too...
|Our beautiful Airbnb apartment in Cascais|
Early the following morning my younger sister and nephew would be arriving from South Africa and the family would be almost complete to celebrate my niece's wedding later in the week.