Our holiday is continuing as it started with really great weather, in fact today has been so good I was tempted to have a swim in the North sea this evening, with or without a costume, on this beach where many swim nude.
Amsterdam was great with the highlights being a canal cruise, the Van Gogh museum and, the following day the Rijksmuseum. I remain in awe of the work of Vincent Van Gogh and seeing 200 of his works that I have not seen before was great. My favourite from this museum is probably “The Irises” but it could be ” The Bedroom at Arles”. In the Rijksmuseum Vermeer’s “Peasant Girl with Water Jug” was our favourite. We also really enjoyed getting lost walking the canals of the city.
On Monday we were picked up by our friends who took us to their house in Alpen an den Rijn making us feel very welcome. It was great to meet all four of their daughters and grandson over the next couple of days.
Spending a few days with our friends has been great and we have been taken everywhere. The first day we went to Leiden for a 6.7km walk visiting windmills, churches and the Bucrt (citadel) with great views of the city. Yesterday we visited The Hague only having a quick wander around the Parliment buildings, and the obligatory coffee in a great old glass roofed arcade, before moving on to Rotterdam for a cruise around the massive harbour on the way down to Zeeland where we are staying in a campsite (Oranjzon) in Vrouvenpolder in an amazing on site caravan. On our drive from Rotterdam we crossed several incredible bridges and storm surge barriers over some lakes big enough that, in the slightly hazy light, we could not see the other side.
Today we went to several nearby towns, the trip to Zierikzee (where I made the sketch above), involved crossing a lake by a bridge about 7km long, once there we had a great wander and Paulette and I climbed an old church tower which was 280 steps up a stone spiral stairway for amazing views of the windmills, lakes, the town and the country around. The next stop was in Veere, a very attractive, canal side, old town with a marina opening out onto another lake.
My overall impression of the Netherlands has been of a flat land with lots of water in canals and lakes with tall churches,lots of bicycles and bike paths, towns with attractive old centers and the stereotype of windmills is not too far out, but todays mills are often new, very tall, electricity generators.