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Happy New Year from Cyprus!

Last sunset of 2013 over the Mediterranean on Cyprus

A Happy New Year to all my readers!

2013 was a fantastic year for me and it will be hard to top it in 2014, but I’ll do my best. A year ago we still lived in Shanghai, now we’re residents of Canada, so life has changed a lot over the past 12 months.

What has not changed is that we still travel a lot with the family and we spent the past 2 weeks in Europe. First a couple of days in The Netherlands and now we are on Cyprus. We’re going to a New Year’s Eve party in the old town of Limassol later tonight, but before that I wanted to post a few pictures of our holiday so far. There are a lot more pictures on Flickr.

The day we left Vancouver the weather was once again fantastic (autumn 2013 has been extremely dry and sunny), so Scott and I went for a hike before driving to the airport.

Great autumn weather in Vancouver (Dec. 18, 2013)

The plan ride itself was uneventful, but interestingly it was my first time to fly from Vancouver to Amsterdam. Since our move to Canada I had not been to Europe anymore, partly because I had decided to travel a lot less in 2013 (that worked!).
Grace and Elaine on board the KLM from Vancouver to Amsterdam

Scott did not sleep much on the overnight flight (he watched several movies instead…) and I had expected him to fall asleep the moment we arrived at my parents place in Holland. But instead he was so excited that he stayed awake until dinner and he even rode 20 km on his bike. After that he slept for 15 hours straight!

Scott riding his new bike along the Regge river in Ommen

The next day we went to Nordhorn in Germany to look at the Christmas market there. I always like to be back in Germany (I lived in Germany for almost 4 years in the late 1990’s) and to eat some food that you can’t get in Holland.

Christmas Market in Nordhorn (Germany)

A few days later Grace and I traveled to Maastricht for the annual VCL Christmas dinner. It was great to meet many of my friends again and have a nice dinner and after party at Michelin star restaurant Tout A Fait. We also visited the Christmas market on the Vrijthof in Maastricht and walked all over the city where I studied Economics in the early 90s.

Christmas Market on the Vrijthof in Maastricht

We also met Joop Dorresteijn during this trip. He has settled down in The Netherlands after we worked together in Shanghai for a couple of years. Nice to catch up  and see some of his daily life (we visited not only his house but also his office). Too bad Suna had to work, so we did not meet her.
Joop Dorresteijn & Marc van der Chijs in Culemborg

I had not yet been to the new Spil Games campus in Hilversum, so I visited the new offices and met up with some friends and former colleagues there as well. I should have taken pictures from the inside of the main building: it’s quite impressive, but I only took a picture of the exterior when I arrived.

Spil Games Campus in Hilversum

On Christmas morning Scott and Elaine were very excited to get presents from Santa Claus. They were happy that Santa could find them in The Netherlands and that he did not send their presents to Vancouver.

Presents on Christmas morning!

Christmas day we had a big family dinner with my parents, my sister and my own family at De Bokkepruik in Hardenberg, always a good choice for great food.

Christmas dinner @ De Bokkepruik in Hardenberg

During the holiday I ran a lot, also longer distances. Scott rode his little bicycle with me, even on a 18.3 km run! The woods around my parents place are perfect for sports.

View from the tower on the Besthemer Berg in Ommen (NL) over the forest

My favorite red wines are Californian Cabernet Sauvignon’s, so for years I had wanted to try the famous Opus One. However, the high price was always a bit of a psychological hurdle, I could afford the wine but felt it was just too expensive. But this year Bitcoin went up so much that I just sold a few bitcoins and bought a case of 2009 Opus One. Was it worth it? For me it was, Opus One is a very smooth Cabernet and for sure the best I had so far. However, it’s not a wine I would drink regularly. But for special occasions I might open a bottle every now and then!

I gave myself an Opus One Christmas present!

Scott turned 6 during our holiday, time flies… And of course he got a birthday cake. He chose one himself, decorated with cars and trucks.

Scott's birthday cake, he is 6 years old already!

The second part of our trip was in Cyprus (the kids stayed in Holland), where my sister now lives. Sonja joined us on the 4-hour flight from Amsterdam to Larnaca and we are staying at her place.

Flying from Amsterdam to Limassol

Also on Cyprus the good dinners continued, among others with lots of fresh seafood and very nice Cyprian white wines.

Seafood dinner at Malindi (St Raphael Marina, Limassol, Cyprus)

In December it’s too chilly for a swim in the pool, but warm enough to enjoy fresh orange juice at the pool early in the morning.

Orange juice at the pool

This morning we had our last meeting of the year in Limassol. After the meeting we went to the rooftop of the office building to take some pictures. Then we were invited to a barbecue with zivania (Cyprus liquor) – at 11 AM… Very enjoyable, but I needed some coffee afterwards to stay awake!

View over Limassol (Cyprus) from Sonja's office

We ended December 31 with a drive and walk along the coast. First in the afternoon without Sonja (she had to work), and just before sunset we returned with her to take some pictures. Cyprus is a beautiful island, I look forward to coming back in 2014. Happy New Year!

Last sunset of 2013 over the Mediterranean on Cyprus

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  1. A year of bitter-sweet memories has passed. May this new year bring immense joy and fun to your life. May you reach new heights of success. Happy New Year.

  2. Great to see @joop in the snap there! I haven’t heard from him in such a long time…always nice to vicariously travel with you, M. Thanks for these…did you get to Nicosia at all, or didn’t get near that part of the island? And does the driving on the other side after being in Canada for so long throw you off?

  3. Driving on the left is no problem at all ADM as long as you have a car with the steering wheel on the right side. I did it regularly over the years, a.o. during my once-a-year trips to Cyprus but also in places like Thailand. Tomorrow I plan to drive to Nicosia, have not been there yet.

  4. There’re already a lot of bitcoins millionaires around. People that started with less than $100, now are worthing over $500k or even more.

  5. Happy new year ! A bit late though.
    We liked the holiday story a lot… after all the Bitcoin stories (up-dates)we saw from you during the last couple of weeks….