Stories of this Canadian girl's adventures exploring Europe...join me!

Friday, October 24, 2014

three days of holland.

For my birthday I wished for a road trip.


And that's what I got. Just three hours away from home, we set off on a Friday afternoon and soon arrived in Roermond, The Netherlands. This quaint city is filled with unassuming details creating cute, like raggedy-ann's pinstriped socks you notice only in play.


Without agenda or appointment, we wander past bikes and blooms, 
both as ubiquitous as mosquitos by the lake in summer.


Roermond's city centre, a designated cultural protected site, is dominated by the incredible Munsterkerk Cathedral. The entire site, blocks wide, is pocked by leafy green trees, opulent bushels of geraniums, and an immaculately trimmed cloister garden.


 Perched in the centre of the wide-open square, spewing romance like a fountain, sits a white gazebo surely the site of a wedding or two.


The Dutch, the few whom I've met, are impeccably dressed with an air of relaxed understatement. 
They exude a refined leisure; relaxed but not lazy, friendly but not fake.


We sit by the Roer river, in an outdoor café, enjoying the last summer rays of sunshine beaming on our faces. I people watch, Dutch watch. Lovely.


 I'm not just enamoured by the people, but also the language, at least the written one. It's a wonderful mix of English and German - Deutschlish, Denglish, Dutch! I feel right at home here. The sign above our comfy B&B says 'Eten, Drinken, Slapen'. How much do I want to hang that above my front door! Come in! Eat, drink and slapen!


From Roermond, we cruise north-east in our borrowed convertible, stopping and walking whenever the mood strikes us. I was literally almost run-over by this picture perfect Dutch family as we took a walk. They looked exactly like they were in a Travel Holland photoshoot (whose slogan is surely 'travel holland cause it's so darn pretty, people and pets included!') instead of just on a carriage ride with their ponies which they were (of course, totally normal day for me too), that I had to ask for a photo.


 Then onwards to Rotterdam. 
Rotterdam is so huge that we couldn't even get close enough to get a photo of the hustle and bustle of port life. I really wanted to, but this is best I got.


So I settled for more pretty, on our way to the zee. Zeeland by the sea. The convertible top was down, no matter the weather - I with a heavy blanket wrapped around me from head to toe and great guy just smiling.


Finally we reach the beach. The wild North Sea, part of the Atlantic Ocean cupped by Great Britain, Scandanavia, The Netherlands, Belgium, France and Germany is beloved by tourists and historians. A lot has happened on these waters, but the sandy coastline reveals no secrets. It's impressive dunes and never-ending tall, wavy grasses only fill me with peacefulness. 


I feel thoroughly meditative here, and long for time, paper and a pen.


As much as I love people watching, great guy loves seagull watching. 
They really are peaceful birds when they're at the ocean...and not flying around garbage.


Zeeland is the western most province of the Netherlands, and is made up of a number of islands all tied together by land bridges. But, as you drive along the coast it's hardly noticeable that you've hopped from one island to the next, the sand dunes making it so difficult to see the ocean.


Remnants of busy, tourist-filled summer months lie around.


And, I can't help but reading out loud every wonderful Dutch sign. 
 I need to learn this funny language - although I think I already know it.


Every evening we eat a bucket of fresh mussels, seriously every evening. Cheap, excellent and in each place prepared just slightly different. This bucket and this location is our favourite.


On our last night, great guy and I stay on the Beachclub Zuiderduin's terrace long into the night before heading back across the dunes. I will definitely come to this ocean shore again, and even with a cool breeze and rainy days, the empty beach was perfection. Dag.


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