New Year’s Day 2017 (Coevorden, The Netherlands)

We wake late. Breakfast is a typical Dutch feast of sandwiches topped with sliced cold meats, cheeses and chocolate sprinkles. It’s all quite delicious. The bread in The Netherlands is way better than at home. It’s fresh and there’s tens of varieties to select from the bakery. I am glad this isn’t our breakfast at home or I’d be as big as a house.

After breakfast we relax on the couch catching up on Messages from family and friends around the world. My godparents also chill reading the paper and Facebook. It’s the perfect way to start the new year.
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Around 1pm we head off to the Ganzenduik (literally translated to Goose Dive). We walk there through the village. There’s lots of people at the pond where we will be taking our icy cold plunge. The air temperature is 1.5’C and the water temperature is about 3.7’C. None of my family are joining me in the traditional New Year’s Day swim but I’m not about to miss out on the fun. I did the same thing last year but the air temperature was 6’C then.
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There’s swimmers in costume.
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My costume isn’t anywhere near as good but by coincidence the hat and bow tie I won in the present game last night match my swimming shorts, making it look like I planned my costume.
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The water is COLD!!!! But I feel alive and am glad I went for the swim. It’s fantastic fun.
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We walk back home along a canal. The German border is along the path so we step briefly into Germany before continuing our walk. It’s a good laugh. The rest of the afternoon we relax some more. I like this balance.
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But our fun day isn’t over yet. The relaxation is temporary. My godparents have reserved a table at the Coevorden Castle for dinner. I am castle-crazy so to have dinner in a castle is pretty amazing. The food tastes great and the company (my godparents and Paul) is even better. After dinner the staff let us explore the castle unguided. It’s mostly set up with various banquet and dining areas. But it’s still very much a castle.
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And then we step outside to discover it has started to snow. The only thing I’m crazy about more than castles is snow. We rug up and walk home in the snow. It’s perfect. The village is gorgeous. And it’s quite romantic … especially watching Paul speak with animation to my family. What a way to start 2017!
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