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Me & the Giraffe

by Toiny Westberry on 12 April 2012
in Adventures in Holland,Personal Notes,Photography,Toiny Pin this scrappy stuff!

I’d been hoping for weeks that we could make a trip up to Holland and see my Oma. There are so many things that must fall exactly right for us to go. Most important, the van must drive. Dave’s back has to be up to the long drive. Dave needs to be home, and not deployed. The weather must cooperate, at least a little. My Oma must be in good health for us to see her. Likewise, we must be in good health for her to see us. We must have a place to stay. I need the site to be in good hands. Like I said, the list is long.

Friday, miraculously, and last-minute, the stars all aligned, we packed, hopped in the car and went! I’d lucked out on a last-minute special at Beekse Bergen, a Dutch animal & safari park not 15 minutes from my Oma. We had a whole Jungalow to ourselves for 4 fabulous days at an incredibly unbelievable price.

Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t totally perfect. The park was just open after the long winter, and our cabin smelled more like wild animals than I care to admit. However, we quickly renamed it the “Dungalow”, bought some bleach and by weekends end the smell was either gone, or we no longer cared. The Dungalow was more than twice as big as our hotel (recap: we lived in a small hotel for 3 months when we first moved to Germany), and we only had 3-out-of-6 kids with us. The room, the space, the incredible view, it was awesome.

I have quite a bit to babble about being in a Dungalow, on water’s edge, and ducks. But today, I only want to share one memory from this last weekend and that is our up-close & personal experience with the giraffes. I absolutely, completely, totally adore giraffes. They are so elegant and beautiful. Maybe it’s because I’m so short, but they leave me speechless and happy inside.

We had unlimited park entrance with our Dungalow and ventured in once for a walking tour, once for a bus tour, and twice for the auto safari. The first auto safari ever for all of us. There is nothing so amazing as having a cheetah walk up and sniff your car, being roadblocked by a curious baby camel, or stopped in a zebra stau. Unless it’s a giraffe licking off your car, even your fingers through the (totally against the rules) cracked-open window.

We had at least five giraffes surrounding our car, peering in, licking windows and the roof, and some fingers. This beautiful one here was eye-to-eye with me for five minutes? Maybe 10? If you look very carefully into his eye, in the right corner, you will see my reflection, me with my camera. I was that close.

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