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May 25th 2011
Published: May 25th 2011
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Travel 17

Well, it might seem as if it has been a long time since the last entry… and it has been a long time. Very perceptive! Work’s obviously been keeping me busy, and I’ve had some adventures in-between too!

Wednesday 11/05/11
I went with A&A on their free day to an old village just past Den Bosch called Huesden. It’s a very pretty little town with a canal on which boats can enter. This makes it a very ‘touristy’ spot for the rich who can either afford their own boat, or make their way to the town on a cruise. We saw one such cruise, yet it was filled with drooling and wobbly old grannies and grandpas: the Red Cross boat for pensioners.

Whilst we sat amongst more able-bodied-bronzed-oldies on a terrace we chatted and sipped a nice cold beer. Later A&A looked at some shoe-shops and we explored the many little walkways, sometimes ending up in somebody’s garden! It was a very beautiful old village, with cobble paths and roads. I saw a baby rattling along in a pram on the way back to the car and finally understood why the villagers all had such big heads. I reckoned it was an evolutionary trait creating excess brain fluid to protect their brains as children when being shaken and jangled along the cobbles.

We’d finally had enough of the small ins-and-outs of the village and headed back to Waalre, with me falling asleep in the car. It seems the working day’s exhaustion catch up to me when they want to! I had to be home in time to be able to discuss the weekend-adventure that was soon to be had with O&O. They were heading up north, to Zwolle and beyond. Opa had a past-student gathering to attend in Zolle and we were going to stay with his nephew just outside of Groningen. As I understood, these were old friends of a student-club (a sort of fraternity) he was once part of, in which he played quite an active role (as my grandfather does with all societies he gets himself into!)

Plans were made over supper and I was to hop on an early bus and train the coming Sunday morning to meet them in Assen. From there I figured the plan was to head through Groningen and into Steenberg. Arnout and Josine live in Steenberg in an old farmhouse-made-home which they have been working on for the past 10 years. Arnout is Opa’s nephew, the son of Opa’s sister. It will be funny if I have my uncle camping with his caravan in my driveway someday; which is what O&O were doing in A&J’s driveway on the farm.

Thursday 12/05 – Saturday 14/05/2011

Sunday 15/05/2011
I woke up as early as possible after finishing at 3am that morning with work. I was clever enough to have packed my bags before bed and I made it to the bus-stop on time. I made a crucial error, in sitting on the benches provided for those waiting for the bus. You see, the bus doesn’t actually stop next to these benches and you have to be paying attention as to when it rolls up 10m further down the pavement. I wasn’t paying attention. So I missed the first bus and had to wait a groggy hour before the next arrived. From there it was smooth sailing to Assen; all I was trying to do was stay awake and not miss my train-stop (which does actually stop next to the waiting-benches!)

O&O met me at the station, and I grabbed a quick sandwich from the AH. They told me of their trip up and what’d they been up to the past couple days. Before heading to A&J we made a slight detour through Groningen. Groningen is the city where both O&O studied and lived. Oma grew up in Groningen and we went and saw the houses where she lived a large part of her life. They told me of the fight against the Germans whilst they still lived in Groningen; with grenades/ mortars getting stuck in their gutter and thankfully not exploding!

I also got to see where Opa stayed during his studies and where his “fraternity” met. It is a spectacular city, with modern being combined (in most parts) really well with old. That’s an amazing thing I find about Europe, is the ability to combine the modern architecture and culture with the past.

Supper that evening was had at a Scandinavian-themed restaurant. I had fish, with some caviar on top! Before arriving at A&J we stopped at an ancient burial site, much like Stonehenge, with enormous boulders having been placed upon one-another. They are called “hunebedden”.

Monday 16/05/2011
Today was tour-day and O&O and I spent the day touring through many, many, old small farming villages and exploring the countryside. We made our way from Steenbergen up to Dokkum and had lunch in Zoutkamp where Oma found a delicious “palingbroodje”! We made it back home in time for supper, which Arnout cooked. I played with their new puppy (Otje) in the garden and had a fantastic night’s rest before heading back to Eindhoven the next day.

Tuesday 17/05/2011
I took the day to relax, watch a movie and cook myself a lekker supper! Remco and his mate Dirk came round that evening and we watched a documentary of The Doors which was pretty darn weird!

Wednesday 18/05 – Friday 20/05

Saturday 21/05/2011
Saturday morning was once again an early start after a late night, but both Daniel and I made it to Eindhoven station on time to meet with each other for our boys-weekend. He had a massive hangover and I just had sleep deprivation, it’s chilled. Haha.

We headed off to the “Hoek van Holland” to visit a museum situated in an old German bunker. They played a 12 minute documentary of them finding the remains around the bunker, which was quite possibly the most useless 12 minutes of footage I have ever seen. It involved a digger, and dirt. The most interesting part of the museum was the actual remains they found, and the fact that they had a 3-meter thick and 4-meter high wall; which never got used because the allied forces landed in Normandy. Suckers!

We strolled around HvH, and found it also to be pretty empty, much like the documentary. So we decided to head back to Rotterdam and stop off there for a pizza before heading back to Sittard. It was nice to have a quick peek in Rotterdam, and there are two museums I’d really like to visit there. We got back to Daniel’s place and I immediately put on the oven to dry the new undies I’d bought the day before. I’d washed them that morning and they hadn’t had the time to dry! So with warm, crispy underpants fitting nicely and my old ones in Daniel’s postbox (unbeknownst to him!) we started to make plans for that evening.

That evening we met up with Roy and Calvin and after some competitive FIFA we headed into Maastricht for the night. It was quite a young crowd out that evening and a lot of aggressive farmers seemed to be comparing muscle-size. We kept to ourselves and had a fun time, although ordering a snack at the end of the evening proved difficult. Not because we couldn’t count the money, but because the Turkish bouncer (yes, in the snack-bar) decided to get crazy-eyed (literally, he looked like Bob the Builder on ‘E’ chewing on bubble-gum and swinging his fists) with some ‘boers’. I jumped up on the counter and had a bird’s-eye view of an ass-kicking; alas with no chips in hand however. We left the snack-bar and Maastricht soon thereafter to curl into bed back in Süsterseel.

I had a day-away with R&G through the hills of Limburg. I’ve decided it’s my first action on Holiday to go camping there and skate day-in and day-out. I’ll take a tent, bike and my board and be a camping-skating-hobo who everyone sees at the crack of dawn and sunset. It’ll be amazing just to cycle through the old towns, castles, manors and walk the hillside forests for a few days.

We had supper at a pancake-restaurant which was pretty delicious. It was more of a pancake-pizza if I were to describe it. That evening was movie night with Daniel and we had some good laughs. It’s great to be able to spend time with him, who knows when I’ll get the chance again!

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday (23/05-25/05)
I took the train back to Eindhoven on Monday and arrived just after lunch. I had a nice lazy afternoon and told O&O about the weekend’s adventures. The rest of the week I have work, and today is Oma’s birthday. The Bouwes came around (and R&G are here) and we had coffee and a delicious strawberry cake, with real strawberries on top! I finally bought a new seat for my bike, and I now suspect I have the chance of bearing children someday.

I had quite a funny incident at De-V yesterday with an (un)satisfied customer. The fish-dish of the day comes with asparagus, and she found hers were not soft enough. She came inside and asked me whether or not I could send them back and soften them up. Her dad makes really nice soft asparagus and these were just not the same! I told her that her Dad unfortunately wasn’t working in the kitchen today, but I’d see what I could do. After I’d waded through the quips being whispered into my ears urging me to soften her up, I told her new asparagus was being made in the kitchen. These, it turned out were not good enough either, but the meal still tasted great. It turns out her dad soaks their asparagus in the pot for a day before consumption and when I heard this all I could do was smile and not slap the logic into her. It would take far too long to prepare the meal and what about the friend’s dishes then!!?

Just another day of work, and a few weeks of adventure in Holland


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26th May 2011

I know exactly which pancake place you have been to: right on top of the hill overlooking the valley towards Belgium. You were there when you were about 11! we met Arnouts parents there. Ps if I order some asparagus now, will they be soft by the 27th June when Jess and I arrive........

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