every september we get the excitement of having a carnival literally right outside our window. our first year here we were not yet moved into our place where we're living now, so we didn't get to attend or enjoy much of the kermis that year. but i did happen upon it unexpectedly one day when i was in hengelo running some errands, and was sure to take some pictures and look around at all the unexpected color and sound. then our second year we were expecting it, but we didn't go on any of the rides cuz i was like 5 or 6 months pregnant i think. so THIS year we were REALLY excited for it, because we have a BABY to enjoy it with! aaaand, because it's probably our last year here, we REALLY wanted to take advantage of this opportunity to live at the fair for a week. how fun would that be?!
we tried to get out to enjoy the kermis a little bit every day, which wasn't hard given that as soon as we walked out the door we were in the thick of it. our street was home to two games, a fortune teller, a kiddie ferris wheel, and a trampoliny-bungee-jumpy-thingy for the kids. this picture was taken on our street -- our window is the one directly to the left of the ferris wheel in this photo. how neat! on the corner by the HEMA store, not on our street but we could still see it from our window, was a kiddie roller coaster (it was there last year too) with big butterflies and ladybugs and mushrooms as decorations. gracie loved it when we stopped there and watched the "big kids" ride on the roller coaster, and listen to the sound of the screams and the music, and see the flashing lights and moving cars. she sure enjoyed that!
the market square held most of the biggest rides: bumper cars, a kiddie carousel that gracie got to ride on with her daddy (she was mostly interested in ringing the big silver bell on the pony next to the one she was sitting on), a slide, a ferris wheel, and lots of whiplash-inducing puke-drenched rides.
the square in front of the train station held the biggest roller coaster.
the street where the subway restaurant is at had the scariest ride of all: this tall thing with one car on opposite ends of it, and it was probably 8 stories high, and it would just go in circles, so that you'd be flying upside down 100 feet in the air. mwaaaah! we did NOT go on that one. the street in front of the church had several games and "boobytrap hotel", a totally annoying fun house that the teenagers seemed to enjoy, that every minute or so it would shout "THISISBOOBYTRAPHOTEL" and then play some loud music, and then for some reason or another it would play dr. king's voice saying "i have a dream." weird.
then if you continued down that street towards the city hall, there would be a few more kiddy rides, a man selling balloons (we got a ladybug one for gracie, of course), and then in the parking lot for the city hall there was this very cool, very scary ride that i had to go on: it was the swings that go around really fast in a circle, but it was 10 stories high, so could see the entire city of hengelo. it was SOOOO SCAAAWWWY! I LOVED IT!
and then the street that went from the church back to the market had several food stands: churros, oliebollen, cotton candy (suikerspin), chocolate dipped fruit, sausages with french fries, and of course, smoked eel (paling).
anyway, we were able to get out for a walkabout nearly every day, since it was literally outside our window. we'd go to the bakery, and as long as we were out in the market square anyway, we'd watch the children playing games at the ring toss, or stop and watch some ride with the lights spin everyone around and around. the next day, if we went to the grocery store, we'd listen to the little travelling glockenspiel organ thingy and watch them make cotton candy. one day, though, adam decided to "work from home" so in the afternoon after mg's nap, we got all packed up and we went out to actually go on some of the rides! we all three went on the carousel, and got a GREAT view of the city as we gently rose and fell above the market square. we could see our house, the train station, and got to admire the church from up above. how pretty! our carny looked like a pirate, too, so that was cool. (and like, he wasn't dressed up as a pirate. that's just how he looks in normal life.)
i took gracie on a fun slide ride -- it's maybe 3 stories high and you walk up the stairs and sit on a special mat, and then slide down. it takes probably 8 seconds to ride to the bottom, and then that's the ride, so gracie and i tried to get our money's worth by hanging out at the top for a while to see all the rides twirling and whirling about in the square. there's a video here of all the fun rides we took her on, actually. it's kind of jerky and disjointed for the first minute or so, as adam is trying to record us as we walk up the stairs of the slide, while simultaneously moving the stroller with one hand. but it gets better -- just wait it out. :-) and then of course we went on the ferris wheel, and she went on the carousel with her daddy -- but i already told you about that stuff.
on the last day, we went out for a drink or two at a cafe. (that's kind of become our sunday tradition -- we have brunch at home, sometimes go to mass next door, and then after lunch and afternoon nap, we go out for a beer somewhere before we come home and make dinner. it's nice.) we found a table RIGHT NEXT TO a kiddy ride, where the children ride in boats. gracie LOVED it! we gave her a snack of plums and cereal, and adam and i ordered a couple of amazing beers, and we all sat there watching the lights and the children, and enjoyed the beautiful afternoon. i mean, LOOK at how bright her eyes are here! she's just having a GREAT time watching all of this! AND having a snack at the same time? i mean -- what could be greater in all the world?!
oh, it's so wonderful to see the world through the eyes of a child! gracie makes everything more fun!