Thursday, October 11, 2012
Last weekend we all piled in the car, Alfie included, and set off on a road trip. Five hours later and a quick pit stop in Belgium we arrived at our friends' new house in Holland. These friends were our Paris BFFs last year. Pen pals before we moved and mentors once we arrived. They made the transition so much easier for us and the whole family got on so well - even the dogs! We miss them so much now that they have left Paris so we took the first opportunity we could find to go and visit them despite the fact that Keith didn't arrive back from a business trip in Australia until Saturday morning and we would have to be back in time for school on Sunday night! It was a long way to go for a sleepover but we certainly made the most of our 24 hours in Holland.
As soon as we walked through the door our hosts insisted that we had to go for a bike ride. When in Holland...
This was Florence's first ever time on a bike (and my first for a while I must confess!). After a nervous and frankly bemused start she loved it. In her words it was 'wow!'
Side note: Florence's seat was by far the most conventional device we saw for transporting little ones on bikes. There was no end to the ingenious contraptions the Dutch families were using to get their kids around, but the best we saw was an infant car seat attached (presumably securely) to the back of one mother's bike!
This is what we saw on our twenty minute ride from our friends' front door and back:
'Juice and moos' otherwise known as canals and cows.
Lots of sheep.
And horses. All living in the prettiest lush green surroundings. The lanes (which are open to cars!) reminded me a lot of my native Jersey and I was so happy to have been persuaded to explore them that way.
The next morning we were up early to fit in another must do Dutch experience. A boat trip along the canals of Leiden.
This unexpected treat was the cause of much excitement for all the girls. Although I grew up a sailor's daughter my children haven't had much exposure to boats yet!
The adults spent the journey planning our next move. There were so many pretty houses to choose from. Perhaps this one?
Or what about a farm on the water's edge?
Everyone had a turn at the tiller.
And after an hour meandering we arrived in Leiden.
Such a pretty town and exactly as I had imagined Holland to look. We moored the boat and ate our picnic. Then stepped ashore for coffee and cake.
Boats and bikes and bridges everywhere.
By the end of our trip we had seen traditional Dutch architecture, spotted a few windmills, ridden a bike and sailed on the canals. We checked a lot of boxes but we still have to go back for the tulips. I can't wait!