17th August 2010
We finally got under way on schedule Tuesday 17th August at 1530 with a crowd of well wishers waving good bye. Mainly our neighbours the Watermans who turned out en masse. A clear run to Hull and a final supper of fish and chips before boarding P&O's 'Pride of Hull' for the overnight sailing to Rotterdam.
It was then Max informed me that we were travelling 'Club Class' complete with free minibar and complimentary champagne in the ship's fancy restaurant bar ! Wouldn't have been the case if i'd booked it 3rd class with the baggage would have been the order of the day. Still very comfortable and we stole the l'occitane toiletries for use later.
18th August 2010
Early arrival in Rotterdam with torrential rain ( it is August is'nt it ? )
By the time we reached the Hague the sun had come out and having found our first camp site and set up we set off for town on the bus. Den Haag is the seat of government for holland and a very relaxed town it is.
We wandered around the shopping district and into the old town catching some free
wifi at Mcdo's to make a couple of skype calls. By the parliament building the boys enjoyed looking at huge sand sculptures of old masters and an exhibition of high def photos of endangered wildlife. Home (sic ) for tea on the bus.
19th August 2010
Boys treat - Duinrell theme park and Tiki Pool. This 'pleasure garden' has been open 75 years this year and was great fun with lots of play areas and rides suitable for the boys. Rides ranges from the sedate to the ridiculous ( Falcon Rollercoaster ) and thankfully queues were short. The day finished well with a visit to the Tiki Pool which has 1km of water slides, a lazy river and jacuzzis.
20th August 2010
Day at the beach - Scheveningen Beach surfers paradise - well we did paddle in the sea.
Also watched international beach volleyball ( lots of very fit young ladies jumping around in the sand )
Boys made sandcastles and played frisby whilst I laid back and listen to the stones.
21st August 2010
Morning short trip up the motorway to Amsterdam. Here getting the van into a very narrow space tested my manoeuvring ability.
The campsite was packed ( good job we booked ahead ) as 'Sail Amsterdam 2010'
was in full swing. This is an international celebration of sailing held every 5 years with every type of boat you can imagine cruising the harbour. Tall ships, Warships, a Sub and hundreds ( no exaggeration here ) of small sailing and powered boats showing off.
Visit to the Nemo science museum where hopefully the boys learnt something....
22nd August 2010
Bright and early into Amsterdam and a visit to the Van Gogh museum. Apparently he was the inspiration for many artists that followed. Interesting visit for the boys as they had covered his art in class last year reproducing the sunflower painting in one session and they were thrilled to see the 'real thing'.
Personally I can't see the genius and prefer Monet and the other impressionists. In fact Vincent did have a bash at this and his pointillism phase looked the most promising to me. But hey what do I know ?
Boys enjoyed climbing and having their photo taken on huge letters spelling 'I (AM)STERDAM'.
Amsterdam lived up to its reputation coffee shops and all, and although I skilfully avoided
the more seedy streets the odd sex emporium encountered did prompt some tricky questions and sniggers from the boys.
Spent the evening mixing with the crowds around the docks looking at the tall ships, walked miles and rounded off the day by watching the grand finale firework display of the Sail 2010 event.
23rd August 2010
Caught the bus into Amsterdam as showering following heavy rain and strong winds overnight.
Visited Anne Frank's house and museum. By coincidence the chestnut tree in the garden behind the house, made world famous in the diary had blown over earlier in the day. All in all a sobering visit and a reminder of man's capability of inhumanity to man.
Into the bright sunlight of Amsterdam our mood lifted as we walked along tree lined canals and browsed some very nice shops stopping to buy cheese - from a 60kg round and speciality bread from a small bakers shop. Tram back to the campsite for supper.
24th August 2010
Drive north stopping to marvel at the Afsluitdijk.
The Afsluitdijk is a major causeway in the Netherlands, constructed between 1927 and 1933 and running from Den Oever on Wieringen in North Holland
province, to the village of Zurich (mun. Wûnseradiel) in Friesland province, over a length of 32 km (20 miles) and a width of 90 m, at an initial height of 7.25 m above sea-level. It carries a four lane motorway and has a view point at the half way which we pulled over at to get a good view.
Afternoon arrival at our camp for the night and a chance to catch up with the laundry and get some wifi time in. Cracking thunderstorm late afternoon just as we were about to put up our awning for the first time. Hurriedly got it down and brought in the washing which had been drying well in the sunshine on the line.
Caught up with the blog - hopefully we will have regular wifi access to keep it up to date from here in.
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