Planes, Train and Automobiles.
Well here we are in Holland, residing at s’Gravendeel with Cousin Martin.
Our journey started on Tuesday 1st April, boarding an Emirates flight from Adelaide at 10.35 pm. We had an easy flight, settling down soon after dinner for a long sleep aided by a glass of wine. The first part of journey took 13 hours and we arrived early in the morning at Dubai airport. After a short stop over we then took our seats for the 7 hour flight to Paris. Arriving in Paris we had an easy transfer to the B line train to Paris North Station where we had to catch the Thalys train to Rotterdam at 5.20pm. With a few hours to spend we discovered a Buffalo Grill located directly opposite the station and settled into a booth for a well-earned coffee. We entertained ourselves watching the several vanloads of Gendarmerie outside who were there to keep an eye on a rowdy bunch of English soccer fans who were arrived from the UK for a soccer match.
Rested and fortified we made our way to the train and had a comfortable fast trip via Brussels and Antwerp arriving at our destination Rotterdam. Loaded up with our luggage we made our way out of the train station to be greeted by the cousins Martin and Ewoud who are our reliable chauffeurs when we come to Holland.
Thursday 3rd April, 2014
With our motorhome spending the day having annual check-up and service and tune we decided to have a day doing some sight-seeing. We first visited a lovely old fortified town located on the Hollands Diep, a wide river in the Netherlands and an estuary of the Rhine and Meuse. We had a lovely time wandering the streets and battlements, stopping for a bite of lunch in the grounds of a picturesque old building that is now a museum. The Prinsenhof or Mauritshuis, built in 1623 as a hunting lodge for Stadholder Maurice (Maurits) of Nassau.
We then went back over the Hollands diep and visited the Kinderdijk, a must see world famous attraction of The Netherlands. The most important aspect of the UNESCO World Heritage Kinderdijk is undoubtedly the unique collection of 19 authentic windmills located along a canal with a wide walking and bike path. The day turned into a lovely sunny afternoon and it was a pleasant wander along the canal with the addition of a lekker ijs. (A Magnum to most people)
Leaving the Kinderdijk we had a happy phone call to tell us the Motorhome had a clean bill of health and with some new wiper blades installed it was ready for our great Adventure.
Friday 4th April, 2014
After a good night’s sleep we got up early as we had an important appointment to keep at a local Dordrecht primary school. We had been asked to come and visit the class of our Cousin Ewoud’s granddaughter Nienke, to talk about Australia. We had spent some time the night before putting together a simple PowerPoint slide show of different aspect of our country and also took some props. The class were very well behaved and showed a lot of interest in the different animals, plants, money and landscapes, asking questions and adding comments about their knowledge of the subject. We then made a small visit to her little sisters Jana’s class and showed them our large toy Kangaroo and left a small collection of souvenir furry creatures. (Kangaroo, Koala, Wombat and Echidna)
Cousin Ewoud then dropped us off close to the centre of Dordrecht so we could spend some time showing Lori the historic town. Friday in Dordt, (as it is affectionately called) is market day and lined up along the mall and into the Statenplein, a large open area surrounded by shops and cafés. We had lovely time trying some local delicacies, kibbleing, stroop wafel, raw herring, cheese; but not all at once and in small amounts. Then wandered up the picturesque streets, along the canal to the old gate located on the waterfront where Ewout decided to don his Koala suit and have a photo taken.
It was then time to walk back along the curved street to our favourite café Vissers for a coffee and wait for the arrival of Martin and Ewoud who were meeting us for more Coffee and Poffertjes. (Lekker) A visit to the Grote Kirk (Large Church) was then made with some of the hardy tourists climbing the 275 steps to the clock tower for the interesting views of the town.
All worn out now we headed back to the car and drove past Noahs Ark, a local artist’s attempt to build a replica of the biblical Ark on the river by the town of Dordt. Then back home for the now weary tourists who then went ahead and scrubbed the outside of the motorhome so that it was clean to start our journey. We had an easy meal of takeaway Indonesian from Quickly (the family know this one well) and a visit from cousin Piet, Anoushka, Tim and Julia.