Nether explored terrain
Once leaving Liege it took us all of 6 minutes to hit the border of the Netherlands. We were both quite excited as we have both neither stepped foot in the Netherlands so we were on an exciting journey together.
Along the way we passed a stunning old windmill and we saw wild geese feasting in the fields. Rob got very excited when he spotted bags of manure in the fields as he thought they were rabbits. It was definitely time to pull over for a rest from driving. We have a family joke about my dad seeing cows in the middle of the road when we were on our annual family road trip when I was young. My mum enforced a rest and revive road stop as well!!!
Our first stop at the local truckers’ petrol stop was more than we could imagine – a full on buffet style restaurant. Full of bio organic living food. Called La Place it was set up with a fresh smoothie station, you could pick your salmon steak, order a wood fired pizza, get a freshly baked bun with herb butter and homemade cooked soup. If it was fresh they had it and the ambiance was just beautiful for a road side petrol dinner. We were very impressed. Even the bathrooms were interesting. The toilets instantly flush when you stand up and after washing your hands they were instantly blow dried from a spout out of the side of the tap. Everything green here!!
Our accommodation was in Vinkeveen which is set on a fresh water lake district. It is cherished by water sport enthusiasts and popular for holiday makers. Serenity, space and nature remain the key words of the Vinkeveense Plasson, which means lakes. It is a national reserve know for its precious birds. Our lake house was just stunning. The lake is like a mirror like black lagoon that houses a myriad of bird life. I have always dreamed of living on a lake.
It is a family’s holiday house, set with lounge room windows looking over the lake, a fire place, vintage kitchen, rustic kitchen timber table for playing games, a nice outdoor lounge next to the lake and a roof top ladder to sit on the roof a view the lake for miles. Mmmm don’t think I will want to leave serenity, luckily we booked a 12 night stay in this beauty and it is only 20 minutes drive from here into Amsterdam!
I was taken in by the following word art displayed prominently in the lounge room as a motto to live by which I think I will use in my classroom back at school when setting rules with my students as it says it all!!
Beautiful Vinkenkade full of lush juicy green grassed fields for as far as the eye can see. These lush fields are full of life with thin canals, swans and geese that lay golden eggs. Sheep have baby lambs in tow and inch high ponies roam in the fields. Extraordinarily large belly cows graze delirious on the delightful delicious green grasses.
It is a very friendly relaxed community. We had 2 guests on our first day. Wild ducks flew into our swimming pool and a sleek slim cat, Slinky Malinky strolled in to our house for a visit. The ducks later came a knocking at our back door. New visits always bring food and they were right. Two slices of bread devoured and they were our new friends for life. I was just waiting for Hairy Maclary to stroll in.
The day we arrived we had glorious weather with temperatures of up to 25 degrees. We went for a beautiful walk around the area. The road leading into our area is extremely narrow with room for only one car at a time even though it is a 2 way road shared with heaps of push bikes. Quite tricky – it is like a dance with cars! A 30 kilometre limit only. Houses are surrounded by canals and beautiful manicured gardens.
The houses here on the lake front are of the expensive kind. I fell in love with this one!! A girl can dream!!!
One house had a pet automatic lawn mower. I knew this really was Peter Pans Never Land!!!
Amsterdam – Day 1
On our first full day in the Netherworld we decided to do the Park & Ride and explore Amsterdam. Amsterdam is only a 15 kilometre drive from where we are staying but you would be silly to drive the full distance. It’s strange as there doesn’t seem to be a lot of urban sprawl like in Australia. It’s like you are either full on in the city or instantly in the country with fields for miles.
Anyway we drove from our one lane 30 kilometres per hour laneway onto a busy 6 lane highway and navigated our way to the Amsterdam Sports Arena where you park and ride the metro the rest of the way to Amsterdam. The cost was amazingly cheap. Five euro for two to ride return and one euro parking after ten am, with all day parking! Great value as they don’t want cars in the city centre.
Amsterdam itself was a little underwhelming. It was a little like playing a game Frogger. Now I was the Queen of Frogger in my teenage years but at my age I don’t think I need the stress. What I am trying to say is that crossing the road was a real anxious blood curdling task. Now there is good stress to make you feel alive but really!!! To cross the road first you had to check the bike lane and shuffle out, then there is the tram and car lane and then you need to do this again as you are only half way across the road. Oh and then there are clusters of tourists on bike tours. I am sure the guides were mumbling under their breath as some of their tour got left behind or fell off their bikes. We also reminded ourselves that April is the low season in Amsterdam so June-July would be a real hoot!!
Well we survived but many bikes found their way into the canals here in Amsterdam. Seeing all the bikes being pulled from the muddy canal was the most exciting thing that we saw in Amsterdam. Yes we saw coffee shops and red light window shops but truly the claw was more exciting. They used a magnetic claw which hangs over the side of a canal boat. This is why they say don’t drive in Amsterdam or you will end up in the drink.
Oh another interesting thing was that a kindergarten was opened right next to a red light window. Now if that was interesting enough a school play ground was in the middle of a public walk way. We watched these poor teachers on duty in a public walk way!!!
We walked 13 kilometres around the city and visited the Cheese Museum, Vondelpark, the Flower Market and the Food Hall.
Our second favourite thing would have been the floating tulips near the I AMsterdam sign near the museum.
At the end of the day it was great to have visitors again. Zachary Quack and his polite friend came around for dinner.