Happy holidays in Holland

It’s a month since we left home and a week since we arrived in our shared holiday house in central Netherlands.  Our time is flying.

Five of the seven of us sleep in the two attic rooms here - with more room that most people on our planet

We’re enjoying ourselves thoroughly, although Fred is still learning how to avoid the hazards to tall people which the dink-di Dutch (who generally aren’t midgets) seem to handle in their stride.  He’s also finding he’s lost his usual tolerance when it comes to the ultra-conservatism of the local churches here – maybe it’s age?  More likely (Fred thinks) he’s fed up with having mental turmoil over these issues…

We spent two days this week with Fred’s oldest cousin on his mum’s side.  It was the first real time we’ve spent together and both couples enjoyed it thoroughly.  Fred’s cousin and her husband spent a day on the road on a showery day to acquaint us with some of the nearby towns.  On the following day she took us on a 500 km trek north to see the huge polders (land reclamations in the former Zuiderzee) created between 1940 and 60 as well as some of Friesland (where Fred was born) and finally their only surviving relative of Fred’s parents’ generation – an uncle who turns 87 soon.

The botanist Linnaeus worked with this herb garden in Harderwijk to experiement with herbs that could be used more medicinal purposes

Today (Saturday) we took a bus to Harderwijk (a nearby town) to visit the market (Helen and her sister picked up some “remnants”), explore some of this town’s history, capture some more picturesque sights (more work for the camera) and enjoy a typically Dutch snack (a fillet of new season fresh raw herring on a bread roll) – erk to most at first impressions but actually delicious if you like fish!

All these Dutch towns and cities have so much history: bits of city walls and gates, famous residents, old houses and gardens, historic churches – and fantastic shops selling lovely food, clothes etc.  Not that we buy much.  Our suitcases limit us well!  And it’s good that the sisters and brothers are happy not to eat out or we’d all be broke.  But finding all the local delicacies is fun.

There’s a fair bit more of this family time plus sightseeing planned for the remaining time, and we love it.  This is an amazing country plus of course it still “does something” for us who have some ongoing connections with the place.

All this exploring and even more the visiting (which comes with having to speak Dutch constantly) takes energy and time of course.  The last few days were very wet while today it’s humid and almost uncomfortable.  The house we’re in is also typically Dutch, small but do-able, even with the seven of us!  Just as well we get on well with each other though!

Our plan had been to blog about some of the many things we enjoyed most during our weeks in the U.K. and Ireland.  Time and the fact that we belong to a family means we’re now working to Plan B.  We’ll get back to what we’ve left out.

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