Published: April 18th 2012April 18th 2012
Hello my dears
It's a rainy day here and so I will have a bit of a rest from sightseeing. I am staying with a very nice couple ( Hospitality exchange again) in Emmerich on the Rhein - and you an see Holland from here. One wonders about our penchant for border security in the UK when here you are flashing about on motorways from France to Belgium to Holland and Germany - never stopping for pasports or customs- only a cctv camera to catch you. We certainly seem to have put up the drawbridge compared to the rest of Europe.
So leaving the White Cliffs of Dover on Sunday morning the sun was shining and the sea was calm ( goody no Kwells this time) I arrived in Dunkerque 2 hours later. Ferries to France are quite posh these days - I remember a time when my kids ran around on slimy wet black rubber flooring and of course Christopher fell down and looked like he had been down a coalmine. But it's not like that now thank goodness.... nice places to sit in comfy chairs, bars and cafes and clean posh looking toilets!!!
My friend Shandy
was hitching a lift with me and I had arranged to drop her off on the Dutch border where she was met by her friend...so that bit of the arrangements worked a treat. Nice to have some company too on the journey.
And my latest gadget to aid my travels - YES I HAVE GOT A SATNAV... Sally she is called and she is wonderful.... quite sensible - doesnt keep rabbiting on when there is no need - just says things like continue for 20 miles ...and doesnt tell you stupid things like go straight ahead at the next traffic light - well you would do that anyway if you are staying on that road. So Sally has been a big help as I am not familiar with this area of Europe which is criss-crossed with many motorways and the roads are very busy - you could find yourself driving round forever here and never being able to get off the road. Making life easy for meself is a mantra I have to help me on the way and Sally is certainly doing that. So about 4 1/2 hours driving from the port and I was being welcomed here...and
after settling in was invited to share a lovely meal.
A very nice big house ( in a quiet area surrounded by woodland and farms - horses grazing in the nearby fields - very peaceful )and the upper floor is a 2 bedrm apt which is where I am staying - so I am quite self-contained. I have 5 days here and then on Friday move on to Amsterdam ( first visit there) and meet up with Suzanne for the weekend.
So I have been visiting the local town of Emmerich walking the promenade by the Rhein and watching the barges and boats slip by- there were these cute little outdoor two seater things with a canopy for relaxing (see fotos red andwhite stripey things)- I'd like one for my patio!!!Then on to Kleve with its historic connection - Anne of Cleves one of Henry Vlll wives. Had a bit of exercise there with a trip up the castle tower - 150 steps round and round...and in the tower is a geology museum (seems a bit strange place to have it ???) - anyway lots of remains of woolly mammoths and rocks which came from Sweden during the
iceage. Good views over the town and plain beyond once at the top. This town is also something to do with the Lohengrin legend and swans ( not real ones)were scattered about the town. Had to look it up what the significance was. About 4 km from "home" another nice town in Holland this time was another castle with a moat ...and so on.
Yesterday I drive to Venlo where there is the Floriade -international flower festival held every 10 years. It's a huge landscaped site complet with cablecar and lots of pavilions from different countries. Holland was obviously showcasing its agriculture here. There were some very interesting exhibits ( some major audiovisual experiences) but I was a bit dissapointed in the floral dislays - a bit scrappy in places and obviously at this time of year not everything was in bloom- but I would have thought that it woulkd have been more possible to have seasonal planting - we don't all want to visit in June when roses will be out. However some of the large indoor displays were wonderful and I wished I could take some of theinstallations home to hide my horrible dying hedge. It was
a pity that some of the pavilions were little more than shops selling their countries goods. Having said all that I was glad I went and experienced it - even tho it was 40 euros( 25 entry. 10 for parking , 5 for cablecar ride)- not a cheap day out. So I have chosen the best of the photos for you. I am looking forward to the Keukenhof Gardens visit this weekend - I have high expectations.
Love to everyone. xxx
There are more photos below