Delft (Zuid Holland, The Netherlands)

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It’s our final full day in Holland. Tomorrow Paul will return to Australia and I will fly on to Spain. So we have one final chance to enjoy the canals and sights of Europe together before another month apart. I think Paul is probably glad my itinerant days are almost behind me and that soon I’ll be coming home to stay.
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Delft is an utterly delightful city and the perfect way to end our month together in Europe. It has everything: paved streets, bicycles, old buildings and crisp fresh winter air.
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Old houses line the canals and I wonder at the stories they must be able to tell. A man with a bakfiets (bike with barrow on the front) opens a gate and walks into one of the houses as if it’s the most normal thing in the world. Which it probably is for him. It’s just us Aussies from Down Under who find any building older than the mid-1800s to be a museum piece.
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We found our way to the Old Church. It’s one of the big tourist attractions in Delft so of course we had to go there. The interior of the church is old and fascinating. There’s amazing stain glass windows, a huge pipe organ and a monument to a King and Queen of Holland who were buried here (I think). Oddly there are gravestones on the ground.

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Crossing town we make it to the New Church. In many ways it’s similar to the Old Church. But while the Old Church is a Protestant Church founded in 1246 while the the New Church is a Protestant Church that was built in 1584. So I guess they both as old as each other. To my untrained eye they are both just so old.

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The highlight of the New Church is the view from the tower. It’s incredible with 360′ views. I loved seeing the city from above, especially the dots of the people in the market square below.

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The climb up to the tower is a steep winding narrow epic though. The staircase is two-way so at times you have to totally press yourself flat to the wall to let groups of people descend or you have to cling tightly to the center post and balance on one foot. It’s actually quite an adventure.

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Back down in the market square we listen to a guy with his traditional wind up organ. It’s all very Dutch. The music is old fashioned and quaint. Later we see a larger and louder machine that is pushed by three people. As it plays two people shake tins in the rhythm of the music asking passers by to drop in some coins.

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It’s been lovely to hang out in Delft for a day. We didn’t ‘do’ too much but enjoyed what we did.

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All that’s left to do is to catch a train to the airport. But first, of course, we have to indulge in what is probably my favourite Dutch treat: friet met majonaise en een kroket (hot chips with mayonaise and a beef croquette). I think Smullers has the best tasting ones and am glad these shops are conveniently located at many train stations.

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We hang out at the airport for a bit while I sort out my excess baggage for my flight home next month (I have the wheelchair bike). There’s a fantastic KLM shop where kids big and small can play on a replica airplane. And then we settle in at the best airport hotel I’ve stayed in: CitizenM at Schiphol. It’s literally a two minute walk from the airport terminal and is ultra modern but homely all at once. Tomorrow we part ways for a month. Despite this being the rhythm of our relationship for the past 18 months I cannot seem to get used to the parting. Paul and I have had a wonderful time exploring Holland and Poland together.

Big news

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For the past 15 months, I have been fortunate to have someone special in my life. He’s stepped way outside his comfort zone by coming on adventures with me. And he’s waited patiently for me to be ready to come home more permanently without ever rushing me. Last week Monday I bought him a ring and asked him a very important questions. And, while marriage equality does not yet exist in Australia, he said “yes”.

And so, in November 2016, Paul and I will be standing in front of our families and friends to declare our love for and commitment to each other. We don’t care that the government won’t give us a piece of paper because we know that piece of paper means nothing (just look at divorce rates and the sham visa marriages that take place).

Ironically, Paul was 42 when I met him … maybe there’s something in that 😉