Holland 2

                                                              26 August 2011 till 30 September

Arrived in Schiphol airport late afternoon. Because we haven't used public transport for a long time and especially in Holland it took a while to sort out the train ticket but we arrived in Dordrecht at the expected time where Gerda and Geertjan were waiting to take us to their place. We had a very relaxed time there. One day a trip to Rotterdam. When we migrated in 1970 we left from the terminal opposite the Holland America line building. Gerda and Susan went shopping and Geertjan and I had a look in the maritime museum.

              Holland America line offices.                                               Gerda got the Susan treatment.
The traffic is a bit hectic in the big city. On the bicycle path you don't only look out for bicycles but also for light motorbikes and small cars. Those motorcycles are not allowed to go fast but they do. The cars are for people who can not get a car licence. The same for the normal roads. You can buy cars which can not go past 45 KMH. This is all for people who failed too many driving tests. Only possible in Holland.
       Motorcycles on the bicycle path.                                                    Car you don't need a licence for.
A few activities were organised. A trip to Gouda to Susan's sister Nans. Geertjan took me to his island on the Reeuwijkse plassen. He has a beautifully modified "reddings boot"  Luckily the weather held out for most of the time. Another day a remembrance day was organised on Diet's birthday. The whole van Blokland family was present. Beautiful food and good atmosphere. We drove with Martien and Anneke to Bakel.
             Geertjan on his motorboat.                                                      Family reunion for D Day.
In Bakel a lot of touristy activities were organised. Martien and Anneke drove us around the neighbourhood. We had a few very relaxing days here. We met up with Marien and Anneke's children and grand children. A special occasion was when they took us to the theatre for a Hayden recital. A nice Thai meal preceded the whole occasion. While in Bakel Martien played many times on his new grand piano.
Just before we left for France I picked Marian up from Dordrecht who had a send off from a  museum  where she volunteered for 20 years. 

To continue go to the France page.

                   Susan Anneke and Martien                                                           Doing the vegie shopping.

16 September back in Holland.

We arrived in Zalk late afternoon. Ket is always busy with something. A mock hotel had to be build for a friends birthday party which kept us occupied for a few hours and off to bed. Next morning went for a walk over the dyke to the village. A enormous second hand market was organised for that day and it was already busy early in the morning. After breakfast all of us went to the market which was going full steam ahead by that time.  Lots of toys were bought for a childs birthday party which we went to that afternoon in Rijswijk. Susan and I drove to Wassenaar to visit tante Threes. Back home by 22.30.
      House behind a dyke. Some of them are build on the river side of the dyke which can be precarious if there is a lot of rain.                    Market in Zalk
Next we stayed in Marian's place in Zwolle because Ket and Hemmo had to go out. Marian took us to a castle which was fitted out as a museum. The modern art in there did not interest me too much but the old furniture and the building were marvellous. We had a pleasant day and dinner with Marian. Next back to Zalk. This was a long day. Amsterdam. Ket and Hemmo live in an old farmhouse which has been renovated. It is enormous. The living area is the old house and cow stables, beside there is a large shed used as a workshop storage all this on a large block of land.
                     Castle het nieuwenhuis  Now a museum.                                         One of the many canals
Shopping, sightseeing and dinner at Nick's place. Susan bought a pair of shoes after that sightseeing. You don't have to walk all that far to see the sights. The old atmosphere of multiculturalism, old city charm is still there although the Amsterdammers will deny this. 
  Susan enjoying a cup of coffee                                                    Typical canal scene
             Maarten Susan Nick Ket Threes Hemmo and Ria                            It is obvious who the gamblers are.
Nick and Pim live in the centre of Amsterdam in a very old house which is looking very modern now on the inside. The roof is their terrace with views over the city. A very pleasant time was had by all.
Next day we had to finish the the props for the skit we prepared for Marian 75th birthday. 
After we stayed four days in Zalk off to Zwolle and Marian's place. Zwolle was the only place where we did not have to walk stairs. Most houses are either big blocks of flats or one similar as the one we stayed in Zalk. Living kitchen downstairs. Three bedrooms next level up and laundry and another bedroom next level. Some have very narrow stairs. We managed to get our suitcases up without breaking any bones. 
We could borrow Marian's car which enabled us to explore the surrounds. Marian took us to Hattem where she has a small place where she can paint. Hattem is a very old town and it shows when you walk around.
                     Typical street scene in Hattem                                  Marians "koepeltje" where she does her painting
Marian's 75 birthday was a big occasion. A lot of faces I did not know but Susan has been in Holland regularly and knew
a lot of people. The  location was marvellous. An restaurant in a rural setting. The weather was great for a change. Great food and atmosphere.  The whole van Blokland family put together a skit about Marian's interests. This was well received.
Zwolle is a fairly big city with an old centre. Another warm day and we did a lot of walking here.
    The old city entrance in Zwolle.                       Groningen central station with peerd van Ome Loeks.
The whole holiday is drawing to a close. Eric and Anneke picked us up from Zwolle to go to Zuidhorn. Eric has done a lot of driving to pick us up and bring us to places. While we were in Zuidhorn we visited my youngest brother Onno. We had not seen his house yet. A older house renovated and stylish. It is difficult to park when you live in a big city.
                         The different views we had during a canal trip in Groningen
One day we had another stroll around the Groningen city and a canal tour. We had never seen the city from this angle. A lot of canals have been filled in but there is still enough to circle the city. As you can see they do clean up every now and then.  A lot of stolen bikes end up here. More driving through the country. It is very flat out here, very green and little churches can be seen at the horizon. The ice age has dumped a lot of boulders here from Norway and in ancient times the people used these to construct burial monuments. 
We also visited Truus, the ex from Onno. Jesse and Leon were there as well and again another pleasant night.
One of those rare occasions breakfast in the garden.                       A large hunebed.  Ancient burial ground.
Luckily the weather held out. Sunny days but you could see that the winter is coming. Every day more yellow leaves and leaves on the ground. As it tuned out they had a few more good days an autumn did really start.
Another day we drove to Lauwersoog. This is much north as you can go on the mainland. You can see small dikes which were build hundreds of years ago and as more land washed up outside the dike another was build. Years ago there was talk or building a dike around the islands and gaining more usable land.


                                                  Lauwersoog harbour.
Lauwersoog is still a viable fishing village because it has access to the sea. But a lot of similar villages have died because the IJselmeer has shrunk to less than half it's original size. A lot of people don't visit the north of Holland but it is very pretty out here. As in a lot of other parts of Holland you might have difficulties understanding the local dialect.
         Last night in Holland farewell dinner.                 The Schimmel family together for the first time in 35 years.
We got the same restaurant for our farewell dinner as we had when we started this trip. Ad could not be present but the rest was here. A few drinks and a marvellous meal topped a wonderful holiday.

Schiphol airport. Anneke, Ab, Ket, Susan, Marian and Eric. Hemmo took the photo.

Eric drove from Zuidhorn to schiphol to farewell us and Ket, Hemmo and Marian came later to see us out. We did not have much time together as it was time to board. 11 hours to Bangkok. 11 Hours wait in Bangkok. We did not go off the airport and it was a long wait. We put a few chairs together to make a bed. Sleeping is impossible but we had a good rest which we did not really need after sitting down for 11 hours. Another 10 hours to Brisbane. When we got to Brisbane they told us that one suitcase was misplaced. We only had to wait a few hours for the flight to Townsville. When we got to Townsville they told us that they had misplaced our other suitcase. Paul was waiting at the airport at least this worked out. The suitcase which was misplaced in Brisbane got delivered later that night. The other suitcase took two days to turn up. At least nothing was lost or disturbed.

Back home.