Saturday 24th December – Early Swedish Christmas

Feeling better this morning, if still a little tender, I’d slept mostly solid until 10:30am and enjoyed a nice, private shower. Over a breakfast of pastries (as allowed per my doctor’s orders) I learnt that Christmas Eve was the main event in Holland and nothing is closed on either Eve or The Day. After breakfast, when we drove over to Ikea, I discovered that even the gardeners were working! How ridiculous, honestly!

Ikea was crawling with people, obviously a popular Christmas outing. Alex wanted some bits and pieces for his apartment which had lacked some homey furnishings since he’d moved in six months ago. We wandered as you are forced to do in Ikea, Alex picking out things he liked with Sabrina and I in tow, people watching. We were there a few hours and Alex ended up getting most of the things he wanted, we had a full trolley load by the time we got to check out. Before we left, we had a Christmas supper of hotdogs and Swedish meatballs for a ridiculously cheap price.

All that pretty much took us into night time by the time we got back. Just before home, we stopped at a Laundromat. Silly me, I had assumed Alex had a washing machine, but Sabrina the perfect girlfriend does all his washing for him so he had no need for one. Out of underwear, I had not choice but the Laundromat. Sabrina helped me put a load on for EUR7 (no, this is not America) and we were disappointed to find it would take an hour to complete the cycle. We went back home while we waited. Alex got to cleaning his place and installing his new toys, we were having a guest over for dinner, a mini Christmas celebration.

When the time came, Sabrina and I returned to the Laundromat where we put the clothes in the dryer and set off for the nearby supermarket in the mean time. We weren’t the only ones there disappointed that the shop was closed. It was nearly 8pm so I wasn’t really that surprised. Back to the Laundromat, the clothes were dry enough so we took them and head back to Alex’s place where we tried the supermarket across the road. We walked in the door with one minute to spare before closing time. Talk about good timing! Thankfully, they didn’t seem in a rush to kick everyone out so we had plenty of time to get some salmon, pasta, wine and ice cream. It felt like we’d been through such an ordeal by the time we got back.

Tamer (pronounced Tom-Are) came over just after 8pm and the salmon pasta was ready minutes later so we all sat down to dinner. We all had a merry time, unfortunately talking a lot about Tesla, since Tamer and Alex work together at the Tilburg factory. Well past our dessert of ice cream, we were still talking away and kept on that way until past midnight. Alex eventually called it when he started falling asleep at the table and Tamer went home for the night.

I was touched to receive my first Christmas messages from Australia as I drifted off to sleep.

Netherlands Fact #3: Four hotdogs, five meatballs, one cinnamon roll and a coffee at Ikea costs only EUR4.20! The down-shot is a single load of washing costs EUR7.

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