apparently hengelo has a kinderboerderij but i didn't know this until just a few weeks ago, when our american friend, chuck, clued us in on this. chuck has two kids of his own and lives just across the street from the petting zoo here (lucky kids!) so about a week ago he invited us out on a field trip with his children.
we rode our bikes there, and it really only took about ten minutes door to door. i couldn't believe it! we DEFINITELY need to take gracie there more often, because it's soooo easy to get to!
the kinderboerderij had a lot of birds that you could feed -- ducks and geese primarily, but also a couple of goofy looking emus which gracie liked to study. there were also several beautiful deer (smaller looking than what i am used to seeing in the usa) and also a pony who didn't seem very interested in the children throwing bread at him. there was a nature trail through the forest, about a 2 km loop, but we weren't able to explore that part that day.
the best part was the goats, who were just roaming freely throughout the park. they had their own area where they could sleep and eat, which was away from the children and behind a fence, but there was a big opening in the fence specially built for the goats so that they could leave their pen if they wanted to. i think that's a good idea, cuz then the goats get to live outside in the fresh air, and can get away from people touching them all the time if they're tired of it all. and it's nice for the children, too, because they are always surprised by which goat they are able to pet.
there were also a few bunnies in cages, some pigs in a pen, and a little barn with guinea pigs, more bunnies, and some parakeets which gracie LOVED. i especially like this picture, because the expression on gracie's face and adam's face are identical. (i think she's looking more and more like adam every day, actually.) she's daddy's girl alright!
we also went to amsterdam over the weekend to see valerie and to go to church. (but it was so rainy and nasty outside on sunday that we were delayed getting out of valerie's place -- where we had spent the night -- so all we did on sunday was get pannekoeken and go home, so we missed church! bummer!) we met valerie at the train station on saturday afternoon, stashed our backpack, and caught a bus to the westerpark. the weather was COOOOLD and windy, but dry, so we explored the park a bit and went to a kinderboerderij there as well.
gracie fell asleep in her stroller by the time we got to the park, so we adults stopped at a really cool cafe in this old, renovated gasfabriek and had cups of hot tea. and when she woke up, we walked a bit further and saw the kinderboerderij which was much smaller than the one in hengelo, but had chickens and a big, beautiful cow who liked to stick her head out the window in the side of the barn. there were children there who were taking care of the animals (like they were a part of 4-H or something similar) and we had to leave the barn early because the sheep were coming inside. "meneer, de schapen komen binnen." so we had to leave. no matter, since it was getting late in the day anyway and we wanted to go out to eat before heading back to valerie's.
and, incidentally, we went out to eat that night at a restaurant that valerie suggested. we were in the mood for dutch food (i know, crazy, right?!) because the weather was so cold and blustery (oh, now you understand), and she suggested this restaurant which apparently had some of the best traditional dutch food in all of amsterdam. and it was SOOO WEIRD because before we even walked in, i recognized the place! it was a restaurant that adam and i had eaten at our VERY FIRST TIME to amsterdam, before we even moved to holland! i remember it well, and i remember that we had to climb all these stairs to get to our table, and climb even more stairs to get to the toilet, and we didn't have any money so all we could afford was a cup of tomato soup and tiny glass of beer. and i have thought of this place many times in the years since, wondering if we'd ever be able to find it again and what it would be like to go back there. and then, a native amsterdammer brought us there because it was one of her favorite places -- our friend, born and raised in amsterdam, whom we visit on a regular basis because we all three live in the netherlands... what a change! and how ironic! and, by the way, the food was heerlijk and we ate every bite, and gracie cleaned her plate too!