Savoring Holland

by Annalise on May 31, 2010

As we prepared to head away from beautiful Zundert and return to home we were all becoming a little travel weary. It was lovely to finish with family and we enjoyed such generous hospitality there.

We toured much of Holland with Sophie, traveling by Ferry to Scheirmonnikoog (pronounced Sheer Moniko) one of the islands in the north. The ferry times were later than we hoped so we spent our entire time on the island on rented bicycles making it almost all the way around in just under an hour. It was a crazy bit of speed touring. The next day we all enjoyed the company of Sjef and Dory and toured a gorgeous ancient village, the name of which escapes me just now, by motor boat.

We our final day with Sophie at the Efteling; an original Duztch entertainment park which is on the same scale and similar to but pre-dating Disneyland. It is a fantastic park with gorgeous garden areas and we had the most wonderful day of sunshine to enjoy it with Sophie as our guide. We even snuck Dave onto some rides before he knew what had happened. All good; no tears.

On another afternoon we were with my Aunt and Uncle, all of us on bicycles for a 43km round trip to see a sport airfield. It was a gorgeous day and much of the route traveled through a forest along these beautiful bike lanes. It was a spectacular day having just celebrated that same Uncle’s 80th birthday. That party was also fully enjoyed in whatever language worked and with Robin’s gift for Ome Kees being a piping performance, kilt and all. I had a fantastic time seeing all of my aunts and uncles, most of which I’d not visited with for over 20 years.

Our visits also involved a wonderful evening with my cousin AnneMarie, her husband Pieter and Sophie, their daughter. Dave and Pieter have only the word beer (bier) in common and they explored that limited vocabulary for all that it was worth. Pieter provided a sample case of Belgian beer for the evening and we all enjoyed the beer sampling. When we were finished there was a not so tidy line up of empties placed in the order of preference in Sophie’s living room. There was only one we opted to pour down the sink, the others were all enjoyed and scored. What fun! And the best… for those who need to know, was a Petrus product. The lineup was fantastic!

Thankfully there are many many people who speak excellent English in Holland and so Dave and Robin both enjoyed the time there as well. We had that lovely, lengthy visit with Sjef and Dory in Emmeloord before returning to the south we enjoyed a tour of the tree nursery run by Karel and Frans, my cousins in Zundert and David enjoyed shopping for the perfect beautiful, Dutch commuting bicycle with the happy but unrealistic though of bringing one home. And even when the language bridge wasn’t there, Dave and Robin found ways to enjoy themselves. Robin would stand silently using only expressions to communicate with my Ome Kees in his shop watching him do his wood work. He was putting the final touches on a hand made horse and buggy for my brother Karel. And all of us enjoyed a gorgeous lunch with my Tante Riet and Ome Toon as an early celebration meal for their 50th wedding anniversary. Robin’s large plate of ribs which he’d been craving created a silence and subsequent grin, the meaning of which was unmistakable in any language. Everyone got their messages across and we had a fantastic time.

And so we continued to eat, drink and cycle and for Robin do his school work right through to the end of our wonderful Holland visit. The magnetic pull of home was very present but we were braking hard to catch every detail before we left for home.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

carla May 31, 2010 at 10:22 pm

It sounds like you found the perfect way to end your travels and make your way back home.. Can’t wait to see you all. Thanks so much for the fantastic blog… and yes, I think you should write a book.
Welcome Home !!! We missed you so much!!

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