Claire, Alkmaar, the Netherlands


Posted Apr 10, 2008, 3:20 pm
Hello everyone!

I'm Claire and tomorrow my journey will start. I'm going to the UK! I can't whait to start my journey. My biggest goal is to have a lot of fun with my host.

Here i am in the garden at my last day here in Alkmaar.

World here i come!

Big hugs Claire

Posted Apr 10, 2008, 3:26 pm
Claire's travellist is:

1. Steve& Helly (UK)
2. Mondfalke (Germany)
3. Marjolein (Going on a trip to Italy)
4. Hsuan 1223 (Taiwan)
5. Mupplet (Singapore)
6. Michele one L (USA and in July)
7. Brightondebs (UK)
8. Chrissini (Austria and not before july)
9. Jessicamarques (Brazil and after july)
10. Gingermuggins (Australia and after august)
11. Peridot-Fayth (UK and after september)
Steve & Helly

Posted Apr 18, 2008, 6:21 pm
Today I arrived in Calne.

I decided to rest as Helly & Steve promised I'd be busy seeing lots of exciting things during my stay here.
Steve & Helly

Posted Apr 20, 2008, 8:12 am
The weather has been awful but I spent the evening in the dry. Auggie arrived today and Tibipanda is about to go to America.

I sat in the summer house talking about toy voyaging with Pierre Bear, Billy Goat and the others. It was so nice to meet other toyvoyagers and hear about their tales of adventure.
Steve & Helly

Posted Apr 22, 2008, 6:46 pm
Today I went with Helly to work. I was supposed to visit Avebury but the weather was awful. Instead I spent the day meeting a cross-eyed 'Knit wit' and a bunny with a strange tail. I chatted to them and tried to pursued them to become toy voyagers.
Steve & Helly

Posted Apr 22, 2008, 7:16 pm
Look at me . . . I'm so excited because I visited Avebury stone circle this morning. It's massive and the road runs straight through the middle of it.

I could get up close to the stones and touch them, they're huge! Much taller than me and I'm a giraffe!

This was just so exciting and apparently there's more to see here but Helly's saving that for another day
Steve & Helly

Posted Apr 25, 2008, 5:48 pm
I got very excited because there was a crop circle in a field of rape on my way back to Calne tonight. However Auggie had his photo taken with it and not me as the bus came along and wanted to pull in where Helly had stopped! Poor Helly, she'd tried to show us the circle every day this week but each time either it wasn't clear enough or there were too many people waiting for a bus. Today she ignored the man waiting for a bus but had to leave when it came down the road behind her. Still, here's a photo of what I saw. Isn't it beautiful!
Steve & Helly

Posted Apr 25, 2008, 5:52 pm
After that Helly stopped so I could see one of the white horses that Wiltshire's famous for. This is Cherhill white horse and I've passed it with Helly each morning on her way to work. Wiltshire has about eight or nine horses, so many Helly keeps forgetting.  I'm hoping to be able to see one, maybe two more next week.

I studied the information and looked at the map of Wiltshire which shows the position of them all.
Steve & Helly

Posted Apr 28, 2008, 6:15 pm
Here I am at Stonehenge, I'm so excited to be here. The stones look very impressive, as if they could fall at any time!

I looked from this angle and then we drove up a by-way and looked from another view point. The weather was good too, which was a bonus as it was supposed to rain.

I climbed up to read the Salisbury Plain information board with Auggie.
Steve & Helly

Posted Apr 29, 2008, 8:17 am
After Stonehenge we stopped at Shearwater Lake to have a picnic with Helly's parents.

We only stopped an hour but isn't it lovely!
Steve & Helly

Posted Apr 29, 2008, 7:30 pm
These two stones once formed one end of another avenue of stones leading to Avebury. They're called the Adam and Eve stones.

I'm staying with Helly and Steve just a little longer so I can go to France with them on Wednesday. Pierre Bear has told me all about it. I can't wait.
Steve & Helly

Posted May 5, 2008, 6:37 pm
Here I am in Dover.

I was due to leave Helly & Steve but before I go I'm having a surprise visit to France.
Steve & Helly

Posted May 5, 2008, 6:41 pm
It's Thursday morning and here I am at the 2Cv FrEnch national!

There were 3000 2CVS, SO MANY CARS!

I didn't camp, I stayed in a gite about half an hour away. The weather the first night was awful so I was glad I was dry.
Steve & Helly

Posted May 5, 2008, 6:46 pm
On Friday we travelled in convoy to Dunkerque beach with 2449 other 2CVs to see if we could break the record of the number of cars to park along the sea front. I think we must have done it!

We walked along the sea front and it took most of the day to see them all. Even then we missed some further along. We were told the line of cars stretched all the way to the Belgian border.

There were all sorts of carnaval figures as well, but no one knew what they were or why they were there.
Steve & Helly

Posted May 5, 2008, 6:50 pm
Pierre & I had a little joke:

The cup on the table is a 'Grand Cafe', a big cup of coffee. The thing is, neither Pierre or I are very big and look how small the cup is!

Pierre thinks the English and French have a different idea of the size a big cup of coffee is!
Steve & Helly

Posted May 8, 2008, 7:08 am
The final place I went to today was to the war memorial. After reading what it said and thinking how stupid people are - you don't see giraffes having wars - I rested for my journey back to England.
Steve & Helly

Posted May 8, 2008, 7:11 am
It's my final evening. I've really enjoyed all the things I've seen and my surprise trip to France.

Maisie cat decided to say goodbye. Tomorrow I'm off to Germany.

Posted May 16, 2008, 9:34 pm
Today I arrived in Hamburg in Northern Germany. I already heard a lot about this city. But first I had to get out of my envelope. Ah, and as a surprise Pip was waiting for me right outside.
Pip told me about his visit at the harbour last weekend and I am sorry that I coulnd't celebrate the birthday of the harbour. But I had so much fun in France, I had a lot to tell Pip either. I also met a friend of Pip who he got to know here. We had a snack together and then went to bed as it was really late and I had some days of travel to recover from.

Posted Jun 29, 2008, 12:33 pm
Today I visited the inner city of Hamburg. It was great to see all the people running from shop to shop. First we visited the lake "Alster". It is just in the middle of Hamburg.
There was a small river going from there to the town hall. We followed it and I really liked the town hall from Hamburg.
As Jenny didn't had so much time for me, she decided to take me on top of the St. Petri-church and to show me Hamburg from the airview.
It was not easy going up the stairs and it was a very hot day. The first steps were from stone but later it was wood and it was shaking all the time. I was really happy to arrive at the top and even happier to be safe on the ground again. All along the stairs were little windows to look out.
On top it was really narrow and there were only small round windows to look out.
I was able to see the town hall again through one of the windows.
I could also see the old St. Nikolai-church. It was burned and bombed in World War II. Behind the church I could see the harbour. It was not so good to see but I saw some ships!

A short time after my visit to the city I continued my travels and went to the Netherlands.


Posted Jul 2, 2008, 7:25 pm
Hi mum,

I arrived in Den Bosch today! I'm excited to be back in the Netherlands! It's already very crowded in this house haha. There is Nick, Chompers, TheOutsider, Davy and Roots Bear. On this photo you can see them all!

Posted Jul 2, 2008, 7:31 pm
Atfortunately the weather isn't very good here. I watched the rain all afternoon. It did smell great though. Very fresh.

I'm looking forward to seeing more of this part of the Netherlands when the weather is better. And of course I'm looking forward to going to Italy!!

Hugs Claire

Posted Jul 7, 2008, 3:02 pm
Hi mum,

I went to Groningen! We ate at a Tapasrestaurant. Tapas are little Spanish snacks. We ate lots of stuff like spare ribs, dates (dadels), lambs, melon in honey and lots more. And for dessert a chocolatecake!! The restaurant had some beautiful and colourfull stairs!! After diner we had some drinks on the Marketplace called the 'Grote Markt'. We also went to a bar called the Newscafé and to the cinema. To the movie called In Bruges. It was a weird but cool movie. All and all we had a really nice night in Groningen!

Best wishes,


Posted Jul 7, 2008, 11:13 pm

In Nieuweschans, in the province Groningen, was a very cool festival today. It was called Celtic Midsummer Festival (Keltisch Midzomer Festival).

It was so cool! Lots of people where dressed up.

Asterix and Obelix where even there! There was a battle between the grown-ups and the children and the children won everytime! Of course I was cheering for them :D

We had beers and spare ribs.

And we danced to Celtic music from the Dutch band Rapalje. And the German band called Faun.

Marjolein coloured a candle and her boyfriend Kasper got a very cool stone mug with 'Rapalje' on it! They also bought special tea. Marjolein's mother bought lots of juwelery and she flirted with Obelix! He didn't have a shirt on and was getting very red in the sun. So she offered him some sunblock! ;)

I had a great time!!

Hugs Claire

Posted Jul 10, 2008, 3:41 pm
Dear mum,

Another tv arrived today! Her name is Finja and she is also going to Italy with us! We are very looking forward to it! And of course I musn't forget my notebook!

Hugs Claire

Posted Jul 13, 2008, 11:02 pm
Dear mum,

It's almost time to leave for Italy! We will leave tomorrow from Den Bosch at 7:30 am with the bus to our first stop in Beek, wich is near Arnhem. From there we will get into the bus, that will get us to Italy! Firstly we will stop in Germany, near Freiburg, for a good night sleep in our first hotel. Tuesday we will continue our journey and in the evening we will arrive in Toscane, Italy! But I will not tell too much already, I will update as much as possible!

I have already learned some Italian:

Yes: sì
No: no
Thank you: Grazie
You're welcome: Per favore
Here you are: Prego
Fantastic: fantastico
I don't speak Italian: non parlo italiano
Do you speak English?: parla inglese?
0: zero
1: uno
2: due
3: tre
4: quattro
5: cinque
6: sei
7: sette
8: otto
9: nove
10: dieci
What time is it?: che ore sono?
Goodday/morning/afternoon: buongiorno
Goodevening: buonanotte
Hi: salve/ciao
Welcome: benvenuto
How are you?: come sta?
Have a nice meal: buon appetito
See you later: arriverderci
Have a nice holiday: buone vacanze

I will speak to you in Italy soon!

Hugs Claire

Posted Jul 27, 2008, 10:17 am
Dear mum,

Today was a traveling day. I am in France now, just over the bourder with Germany. Our hotel is very good, the bed nice and soft, and there is a swimming pool! Too bad it is too cold to swim. And because we are soooooo tired, we just went to sleep!

Apart from the nice bed, the view from the window wasn't all that.

We had a nice diner, a good night sleep, and after breakfast it was time to really go to Italy!

Posted Jul 27, 2008, 11:05 am
More traveling today! We went across Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Wow I'm seeing a lot af the world today! I will show you some photo's of Switzerland.

This is the bus I am traveling with and will be traveling with for the next days.

We went through the Gotthard Tunnel and after that we almost where in Italy. Just a few kilometres now!

Our first stop is in Toscane. The town in called Montecatini Terme.

We took a strowl through the town.

There wasn't much time, so we went back to our hotel, had some diner and went right to sleep!

Posted Jul 27, 2008, 11:37 am
Time for the holiday to begin! I started in Pisa and saw the Tower of Pisa!!

This building is where people are baptisted in.

Posted Jul 27, 2008, 12:14 pm
After our visit in Pisa, we had some wonderfull lunch in the mountains of Toscane. We tasted lots of wine and olives made from the people who live in the farm.

Posted Jul 27, 2008, 12:35 pm
Then it was time to go to Lucca. Lucca is a wonderfull old city with lots of beautiful buildings and old squares.

This square used to be an amphitheater. They build houses on top of it, but it still has the shape of the theater.

I had a nice shaken ice tea and a sorbet on the square!

Posted Jul 27, 2008, 2:47 pm
Florence is the place to be, lalala :D Florence has to be the most beautiful city I have ever seen! Did you know that every year lots of tourists end up in the hospital because they are overwhelmed by the beauty of Florence? It's called the Stendhal Syndrome after this man called Stendhal. He is the first person of who it is known he fainted after seeing Florence. His heart stopped pumping and he coulnd't breath. Thank God none of us had these problems but it is such a beautiful city!

Santa Maria Novella

Campanile next to the Basilica San Lorenzo

Basilica San Lorenzo

Duome (Santa Maria Del Fiore)

Saint George (from Saint George and the Dragon) (Joris en de Draak) made by Donatello

The tourguide of the trip told us a story about this George. Donatello made this statue and showed it to his master. He asked him if there is anything wrong with George. His master answered: Yes there is something wrong. Donatello of course wanted to know what this was. But his master simply answered: I won't tell you, you have to find out yourself. Donatello wondered and wondered, he looked at George and he could not find anything wrong with him. He got ill of these doubts. Donatello got so sick, that at one point he was actually dying. On his deathbed he asked his master: Please tell me, what was wrong with Saint George? His master said: He doesn't breath. He looks so real, if he breathed he could just walk towards us. And then Donatello could die in peace.
It's a wonderfull story, but in reality Donatello lived happily ever after, after making this statue. But it's a good story :)

David (waiting for Goliath) made by Michelangelo.

This is not the original David, that one is savely in a museum.
It stands on the Piazza Della Signoria.

Ponte Vecchio

Posted Jul 27, 2008, 5:50 pm
The fifth day was a bit of a travelingday. We went to Siena first, but after that to our new hotel in Fiuggi. First Siena. This is a very old city from the Dark Ages.

It has a very famous square: Piazza Del Campo. The people of Siena call it the most beautiful piazza of the world. It has the shape of a shell.

Every year this Piazza turns into a racecourse. When the 'Palio' (horseraces) takes place, every person from Sienna goes to the Piazza. They stand on the inside of the square and the horses run on the outside.

Every part of the city have a horse in the race. And it doesn't matter if the jockey makes it to the finishline, when the horse makes it, the horse wins. Sometimes accidents happen because the jockey doesn't ride the horse on a sadle.

Duomo di Siena

We walked around the city for a bit and we had some really good pizza! Funghipizza (mushrooms) on the Piazza Del Campo.

Posted Jul 27, 2008, 7:22 pm
After our visit to Siena, we travelled to Fiuggi. From this town we are going to Rome! I can't wait! Here are some views from thr bedroomwindow, looks pretty doesn't it?

Posted Jul 27, 2008, 8:44 pm
Time to visit Rome! Or Roma as it's called in Italy. The bus brought us to Rome. We took the subway to go to the centre of the city. Went we got back at the streetlevel this is the first thing I saw:

The Colosseum! The Colosseum is soooo big!! It was built between the year 70 and 80 AD. The use was an amphitheatre. You could watch fights between lions, between lions and gladiators or just between gladiotors. One way or another, people would die. When the Colosseum was opened the Romans celebrated the opening with a party of 100 days. In these days everyone was welcome in the Colosseum. Everyday the fights and other events happened during the entire day. Romans where very ahead of their time: they already had fast food! You could buy it at stands near the Colosseum. Bread and wine, that sort of stuff.

Forum Romanum, this is the central area which the ancient Roman civilization developed.

The Pantheon (Temple of all the Gods)

Trevi Fountain

Spanish Stairs

Posted Jul 27, 2008, 9:45 pm
The second day in Rome! This day we had some time off in the morning and in the afternoon we went to the St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City.

On our free time we found a cool Toy Store called Al Sogno.

They had lots of very cool toys.

Too bad Marjolein found the toys way to expensive. But they seem to have a really good life in the store and they will be bought by rich people who will give them a good life :)

We had pizza again today! After walking around we went to Vatican City to see the St. Peter!

On this photo I am standing on the Bridge of Angels.

The view from the balcony. This is the way the pope always looks at the St. Peter's Square.

The guard of the St. Peter are Swiss Guards. They have to be realy Swiss boys from between 18 and 25 and not married. And of course Catholic.

The inside of the St. Peter's Basilica

The Piéta from Michelangelo.

Saint Peter's Tomb, where the popes are burried. It was not allowed to make photo's of the grave of the latest pope but Marjolein did make some photo's where she was allowed.

Posted Jul 28, 2008, 9:58 am

Pompei is a town from the first century after the birth of Christ. It was built by Romans.

Years (about 15 years) before the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, the town was destroyed by on earthquake. The inhabitants of Pompei didn't know it then, but this was just Mount Vesuvius warning them for the eruption.

There where other warnings. The water dissaperead. Because of the hot lava the Vesuvius was making the water turned into steam.

In Pompei lived about 20.000 people. The went to the store

To the bakery

Or to a bathhouse

Or the just sat in there own garden, for example in the House with the Little Fountain

But on 24 August 79 the time stopped. The day turned into night and this lasted for three days. People didn't know what was happening. Some died because they breathed in the ashes of the mountain. Some died because of rocks flying around. Most people died right at the spot.

Almost everybody died in 79. But the city was preserved really well because of the ashes of Mount Vesuvius. So that's good for us, we can learn a lot, about the way people lived and what happened that day. We can go back in time and walk around like the people of Pompei used to do.

Posted Jul 28, 2008, 10:41 am
On our way our next hotel near Venice, we had a stop in Ravenna. In 409 AD Ravenna became the capital city of the Roman Empire. Julius Caesar gathered his troups here. This was in 49 BC.

We went to see a early Christian church famous of mosaics. The Basilica of San Vitale.

We also went to the mousuleum (Mousuleum of Galla Placidia) next to the church.

Posted Jul 28, 2008, 5:45 pm
Time to see Venice! Venice is by many called the most beautiful city in the world. We went here by boat. You could also go there by car but according to our guide you are suppose to go by boat.

We set foot on the land and went into the harbour of Venice after a trip of about half an hour.

On our way to Piazza San Marco we saw The Bridge of Sighs. This bridge passes over the Rio di Palazzo and connects the old prisons to the interrogation rooms of the Doge's Palace. It got it's name because the prisoner got a last look at Venice and their loved one from the brigde before there inprisonment or death and used to sigh there.

On the Piazza San Marco stands the Basilica di San Marco a Venezia.

There also stand two poles on the Piazza San Marco. No inhabitant of Venice would ever stand between those two poles, because people used to get excecuted their. Gulp!

On the left pole stands a lion. The lion is the animal of Venice.

We went for a walk around the city. The first thing we saw was the second most famous bridge, the Rialto Bridge. It's the oldest bridge in the city and build in 1181.

We had the most wonderfull view from the bridge!

We walked on and saw some beautiful sights.

Then we came across the only wooden bridge in the city: Accademia Bridge.

But sightseeing was the only thing we did, we also did some shopping! We saw a great toystore again, this was a Disney store!

Venice stretches over 118 little islands. It has a population of 271.251 people. People have lived on the islands for centuries but it is known as a city since the ninth century.

And now I am going back to my hotel! Bye Venice!

Posted Jul 28, 2008, 6:03 pm
In the evening after our trip to Venice we took a little walk down the beach near our hotel. I saw the Adriatic Sea in Venice but now I also got to touch it!

Tomorrow it's time to go back to The Netherlands. We will sleep in Germany the next night and by friday we are back in Den Bosch. The trip to Italy was so cool! I certainly want to go back ;)

I hope you enjoyed the updates!

Love Claire

Posted Aug 19, 2008, 12:46 pm
Hi mum!

I have more exciting news to tell you! Today it's time to leave for our next holiday! Check out the cool van we had to leave for the holiday! :D

Hugs Chompers

Posted Aug 19, 2008, 1:08 pm
We arrived in Austria the same day. We stayed in a Landall Greenpark near the town Gargellen. The view was beautiful!!

We are going to do really cool things in Austria, lots of walking and swimming! 9th of August we will leave for another country!!

Posted Aug 19, 2008, 1:31 pm
On our way to our next holiday-stop we went through a very small country. Called Liechtenstein! We saw the capitalcity Vaduz. Unfortunately there wasn't much time to make photo's, but look at this one:

Posted Aug 19, 2008, 1:39 pm
The next week of our holiday is in Switzerland! On top of the hill of the village Wildhaus is our very big house. For all of the family of Marjoleins boyfriend Kasper. This is a familyreunion! I met everyone!

This is our house:

And this is the view:

The family's name is Paping, so they had their own flag!!

Posted Aug 19, 2008, 2:04 pm
We did really cool stuff. On sunday we went on a picknick on a mountain! We roasted sausages on a campfire! Look at the beautiful surroundings:


Posted Aug 19, 2008, 2:19 pm
In Unterwasser, they have a very famous waterfall! The Thurwasserfällen.

Posted Aug 19, 2008, 2:38 pm
The last day of our holiday, we stayed in because of the rain. We did saw a beautiful rainbow!

Posted Aug 19, 2008, 2:56 pm
Pfieuw we're finally home! It took a lot of time, because 38 km before Den Bosch, the car broke down!! We had to wait for hours and hours for someone to get us. But we did ride into a really big truck!!

Posted Aug 23, 2008, 2:05 pm
Claire arrived at her home today :)