Flat as a pancake - the land of the two wheeler - Delightful holland
Jul 7, 2013
|Following our time in Paris when we were like the little Eveready battery bunny rabbits, or Dulux Paint (keep on keeping on), the relaxed pace assumed on reaching Lelystad, a little town just outside Amsterdam, was a pleasant relief.
We travelled from Paris to Amsterdam in pouring rain but as usual, on arrival in Lelystad, the weather cleared and it has been perfect ever since.
We stayed with Ellen's wonderful Oom Ed and Tant Tru, quite a remarkable and extremely energetic couple considering their age who made us so welcome in their lovely cottage style home. We had such fun with them, laughed heaps, learned so much about Holland as they took us out each day to yet another interesting part of this beautiful country. It has been great to spend a few days in a home (following many hotels)and Ed and Tru could not have done more to make our stay here a great experience.
The first afternoon, they took us on a 2 hour orientation bicycle ride around Lelystad, the harbour, canals, locks, pretty parks and such lovely flat cycling paths.
On Thursday, Ellen and I went into Lelystad town centre where we both had much needed haircuts, manicures and retail therapy (shopping). Ed and Tru then took us on a 3 hour walk around the reclaimed harbour area (UNESCO site), which was fascinating, to see where the harbour used to be with the old harbour wall, lighthouse etc still intact but which is now in the middle of beautiful green farmland. We also played the worldwide treasure hunt game - GeoCache (google it, such fun) which they have played all over the world. We found 1 out of the 2 treasure boxes we were trying to locate, left by somebody else, and had great fun working out the clues and searching for the treasure.
On Friday, we all drove to Denhelde where Ellen's parents were in the navy together, caught a ferry across to a beautiful island called Texel where her parents used to spend their holidays, and met Ellen's sister and family who are also holidaying in Holland at present.
We all had a great day together cycling 40 km around the island to see the church, beach etc where Ellen's parents used to visit, windmills, farms etc. We had a picnic lunch on this pretty island, dinner in a little cafe beside the harbour and finally left for home at about 9.00pm, all a little weary, but enjoyed a fantastic day out.
On Saturday, Ellen and I caught the train to quaint Delft, a pretty town with a beautiful church and canals. We went on a walking tour, had an excellent lunch and then did a canal cruise. Returned home to have a lovely casual dinner with Ed and Tru in their garden beside the fishpond.
I still can't get over the fact that I only take my sunglasses off at 9.00pm when the sun finally goes down and it does not get dark until after 10.00pm and is light at 4.30am, enabling us to have super long days.
I am also amazed at just how flat this country is, and fascinated by the Dykes (not the one's on bikes), and reclaimed land. The scenery is beautiful and we have spent most of our time in the countryside. Such a pleasant change after all the hectic Paris city sightseeing over the past couple of months.
Today, Sunday, we had another 'best' day again, such fun, so interesting and pretty.
After a leisurely breakfast outside in the cottage style garden, Ed and Tru drove us to Vollenhoven, a pretty little village with harbour, then on to Giethoorn (Venice in Holland) for the day. Just like Venice with many canals and gondola type boats, extremely pretty, mostly Dutch local people were there for the day or for their holidays. We went on a canal cruise, had lunch and then another long fun GeoCache treasure hunt, we were successful and found the little treasure box with clue.
Tomorrow, we farewell Ed and Tru and spend a few days with Ellen's sister in their holiday apartment in Amsterdam where the pace will pick up again considerably and get us acclimatised for London.