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Vrolijk Kerstfeest!

We just got back from visiting Maaike (6 months pregnant) and Alessandro in Oirschot, Nederland. At minus 7 degrees Celsius, we spent our days in lots of layers. We spent Christmas eve with Joost (Maaike's brother) and the rest of Maaike's family. We ate very well. On Christmas Day, we explored the village, tried some jenever, and then Gina, Marina and I had a nice quiet Christmas dinner on our own with lots of skypes from family. The day after Christmas (the 2nd day of Christmas in the Netherlands), I woke up feeling a bit ill, so we decided to stay close to "home". Later in the day, I went ice skating with Gina. In the evening Maaike's mom came over for dinner -- Ale made us fantastic homemade spinach gnocchi! On Saturday, we had pancakes at a pannenkoken house in the countryside and then spent the afternoon in a little town called Oisterwijk.Sunday we took the train to Utrecht, where Maaike used to go to school. Monday, Gina, Marina and I spent in Oirschot again, running in the countryside and enjoying the small shops and bars.Our last day we went with Ale and Maaike to enjoy a rare and sparkling sunny day in Amsterdam. We'll never forget the 4 straight days of rain on our last visit! Amsterdam was just beautiful! We bought some reypenaer cheese, tulip bulbs and some wooden clogs for Marina. A wonderful winter vacation! Most importantly, we were able to catch up with Maaike and Ale whom we MISS TERRIBLY.

We're now glad to be back in balmy(relatively speaking) Barcelona.