Touring in the vacancie boos. Terneuzen Pt II
Sep 20, 2005
|Firstly - A HUGE thank you to all the family and friends in Terneuzen who have made our time here so fun and very memorable ! We particularly would like to thank our wonderful friends and hosts, Pe and Marian Lazeroms, who not only housed and fed us for 5 and a bit weeks, but were great fun and company as well.
The past three weeks have been busy to say the least. Almost every day we were up to something different.
On a couple of occasions we watched the local soccer team (coached by a close friend of Doiv) play on a Saturday afternoon. The first game of the season - a 5-2 victory for the mighty Terneuzen Boys FC - coincided with a town party sponsored by the largest employer in the area celebrating 40 years of business. It was a big night for little Terneuzen, with the town square and cafes packed with people jumping to great Dutchie music. For those who have not experienced the Dutchie music scene, it typically consists of a singer, no band, but plenty of backing tapes.
The next day we went to Gent for the evening with Danny and Diana. Gent is straight out of a fairytale, and one of the most beautiful cities we've seen. It has become one of our firm favourites. It is a small city but full of old, gracious architecture and full of atmosphere. We enjoyed a great night out at a Thai restaurant although the icecream dessert nearly killed us.
During these few weeks we also went sailing with Doiv's great uncle and aunty, Ome Tony and Tante Ad. It was way cool fun cruising on one of the many closed waterways in the Netherlands and a very relaxed way to spend the day. After heading out from the marina and through the locks it was definitely a case of 'watch where you are going', with scores of recreational boats trying to steer clear of the commercial vessels. Doiv spent most of the day at the helm (not really knowing where he was going... again), while Son sunbaked on the foredeck. One of the highlights of the day was Ome Ton whipping out the piano accordian for a singalong on the high seas... even some of the boats sailing past us joined in.
One of the other really memorable experinces during our stay was touring through the Netherlands in Danny and Diana's deluxe VW camper combie (the Vacancie Boos). This bus is seriously cool and very comfortable. At the ripe old age of 31 she has everything you need - kitchen, double bed, dining table and a great paint job. We were lucky enough to have a couple of trips away and vist two very different regions of the Netherlands.
The first trip was to the central coast visiting Haarlem, Den Haag, Leiden and Scheveningen. The old centres of these cities were really pretty and full of history. The first night was a lesson in planning... Dutchies eat a lot earlier than most of the countries we've been to and by the time we'd eaten, it was very dark and we hadn't found a place for the night. We ended up camping in a roadside rest area to wake up to two smiling and waving Germans having a morning coffee. Fortunately we didn't cop a fine for our indiscretion. After a reviving coffee in Leiden, we had a great time wandering around in Den Haag. While there we caught up with Wanja and Frank - a couple of friends we met while in Patagonian Chile - for a great night out to celebrate Son's birthday.
Our second trip took us to the province of Limberg in the far south east and the Hohe Veluwe National Park in central Netherlands. The first night we went with old friends Danny and Ivanka to see the Netherlands flog poor little Andorra in a World Cup qualifier game in Eindhoven. Perhaps the most entertaining part of the night was the pre-game drinks in the market area, with a couple of thousand mad Dutchies decked out in orange, clogs and crazy costumes. We also spent a night in Valkenberg, a little town heavily influenced by its Belgian and German neighbours. High in the 'dutch alps', we actually had to get off our bikes and push them up a hill. Seriously. While in Valkenberg we rode to an American WWII cemetery, where 4,000 soldiers are buried. Surrounded by fields and trees, it is a very peaceful place for reflection.
The following day we wandered around the very old and very scenic Maastricht (which has amazing Belgian waffles) before heading up the highway to the Hohe Veluwe NP. The NP is a bit different to what we are used to in Australia; it seems to be more like a large municipal park than a wild reserve. It is however beautiful and it was a lot of fun to ride around on our bikes through the forest.
We really have to thank Danny and Diana for entrusting their beloved vacancie boos to us... We loved it so much and it seemed that lots of other people did too - so many people waved to us, or came to visit (only to check out the bus). At around A$2.80 a litre however, the cost of petrol dampened our enthusiasm to steal the bus and drive to Morocco.
It was really a special time for us both, and in particular, for Doiv. He really enjoyed catching up with the family and friends only seen every few years. We were able to spend a lot more time with people than in the past and it was great meeting some of the new(er) arrivals. In Terneuzen, everybody says "Doooooeeee" as a farewell. Son, in particular loved this saying as you can't say it without smiling. So to everybody in Terneuzen, Doooooeeee from Andrew & Sonya... until we return.