Zwolle,Holland and will Gretchen's shaggy mop succumb to the hairdressers scissors

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July 22nd 2013
Published: July 29th 2013
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Since my Polish haircut experience Gretchen has been hanging out waiting until we get to Holland for Diny (Cormac’s mother) to find a hairdresser and to go along and translate for the style Gretchen likes. Today or tomorrow could be the day as our journey this morning will take us south to Zwolle in Holland. I don’t recall seeing Gretchen with a shaggier looking style, the result of the Kotor, Montenegro haircut.

The high pressure that has been around for a few days is still here this morning and we have another cloudless, blue sky for the drive.

However, before getting on the road we waited for a while in anticipation of the new royal baby being born to Kate and William as we have been able to get the BBC news channel on the TV in the room and we watched as she arrived at the hospital.

Knowing from experience of two of our own and a grandchild that these things can take a while to happen we hit the road heading first west, then south and finally west again. The GPS telling us that the journey should be less than 3 hours using the Autobahn in Germany and motorway in Holland. And with the potential of more rural countryside motoring in Bavaria, southern Germany in a week or so we opted for the Autobahn.

When you look at the networks of autobahns in Germany on a map you get a good picture of how they run generally north/south and east/west and with excellent connecting roads in between you can cover vast distances quite easily in the country.

Today it was going to be #29 to #31 to the A37 after crossing into Holland.

Being a Monday there was a bit more traffic around the larger towns and cities that we came near to but it flowed well allowing our speed up to 120kph(our comfort level).The autobahns generally don’t have a speed restriction except where there are major roads or other autobahns merging or where there are roadwork’s.

The only things that slowed us down from time to time were a couple of sets of long roadwork’s where our side was reduced to one lane and 80kph and every so often when a truck, usually with number plates other than German, would pull out of the right hand lane simply to pass another truck. Why they bothered is beyond us as all they achieved was one place ahead in the line of the mainly truck traffic in the right hand lane, silly really. In the meantime, although they might be doing 5 to 10kph faster than the truck they were overtaking they held up a queue of cars that quickly built up wanting to go past.

We got used to positioning ourselves when we could see this was going to happen so not to get stuck in a long queue of cars with no way to overtake until the volume of eager drivers ready to hit the pedal had gone.

It was another seamless border crossing into Holland with the main difference to us the width of the highway got even wider.

Vicky neatly took us around Zwolle on the ring road to reach Wim and Diny’s house.

By now the temperature at midday had reached 32C under a clear blue sky.

After a rest and lunch out came the bikes and we all biked off through the streets and cycle underpasses that became very familiar from our stay 4 years ago.

There are bicycles everywhere in Zwolle and in fact you have to watch out for them more than watching out for cars when turning.

Many people leave their bikes on the street chained to a post etc but after Wim and Diny had their bikes stolen they prefer to use an underground car park that also has a large guarded area for cycles.

We had checked out a hairdresser for Gretchen but it was closed being a Monday and so decided a walk and an ice cream under the shade of umbrellas was not a bad way to spend some time out of the heat.

Once finished Diny suggested she check out another recommended hairdresser who happened to be open and could take Gretchen right away.

With time on our hands Wim and I headed off for a stroll and a beer at a nearby cafe while Diny went with Gretchen to translate to the hairdresser, as necessary, to ensure the style was what Gretchen wanted. She just wanted to be rid of the mop!

After what Wim and I thought was enough time we wandered back to the hairdresser only to find Gretchen still getting a colour job done and not ready to head home, just yet.

Wim and I were treated very well seeing as how we were waiting for a client and had coffee’s delivered to us while we waited.

Gretchen was very pleased with her new colour and cut which should see her through for a while. She even joked that she might have to come back every 5 or 6 weeks for her regular do.

We negotiated the way back home by bicycle, both of us gaining confidence after such a long time since being in the saddle last.

The royal baby had arrived and we’ christened’ it with a couple of ice cold beers which were very welcome at the end of a very warm day.

Being so warm we sat outside for dinner of salad with salmon and a delicious selection of mayonnaises and talked until the light finally faded t well after 10pm.

It was marvellous being back in the welcoming company of Wim and Diny again and we could tell already that our time in Zwolle will not be long enough.

It might be tough sleeping tonight with the temperature still so warm and we will need to leave the bedroom window open in the first floor room to catch whatever little breeze there might be.


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