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Published: August 8th 2019
We have almost completed seeing everyone we hoped to see and this morning it was coffee time with more cousins in Schijndel at Hannie and Sjef’s house, and also Hannie’s brother Christ. It was great to meet up again with them, and to see Hannie’s garden. She has won 9 national championships in garden arrangement, as well as more than 20 provincial titles. Little wonder she came up with a great suggestion for us to spend our afternoon, that is to visit Appeltern gardens which I had not heard of before. But first she fed us, then she insisted in packing a full lunch for us to enjoy among those gardens.
The GPS would have sent us the long way around, almost as far as Nijmegen, but Sjeff’s recommendation was far better and more scenic, leading us through the villages of Oss and Megen before taking a small ferry across the Maas River to arrive within only a few kilometres from our destination.
The Appeltern gardens were started by a single farmer many years ago and can best be compared to the Butchart Gardens in Victoria, British Columbia. Appeltern Gardens showcases hundreds of different ideas for gardens and all
sorts of separations like hedges and various wall, statues, sun screens and patio coverings, as well as a design centre and sales yard. Truly very enterprising and very, very worthwhile seeing!
After the obligatory shopping stop in the gift centre, we were on our way back to Boxtel to return the GPS we had borrowed from Marianne and Pieter, and to enjoy some cold ones and a delicious Indonesian-flavour dinner. Our own GPS had stopped working on our first day here, probably because it requires an update.
After dinner, the four of us had a nice long walk to burn off some calories around nearby Kampina, a 1,200 hectare nature reserve established in 1929 and named after what the Romans called this area of Kempen. It has a monument to the local resistance that helped British parachutists survive in these woods and eventually escape. This is an area I had not seen before and it combines characteristics of other special places I do know, such as the lavender that grows on the Vughtse Heide, fens like I knew from around Oisterwijk, and dunes like the ones we visited some days ago at the Drunense Duinen. What a nice
place to take in the fresh air, enjoy the quiet, and relax before the drive back to Eindhoven!
Over the next few days, it is our plan for Marion and I to draw up our individual top ten experiences from this trip. We will share that through our blog. Stay tuned.
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