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July 8th 2010
Published: July 29th 2010
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Netherlands Travel

Biking in KampenBiking in KampenBiking in Kampen

Wow, a bike for a day only 7,50€!!!! Could be a rip off, but we'll never know and we think we got our money's worth.
Oh wow, can’t believe how far behind we are. Oh well, only one way to catch up.

Saturday the third of July - this was the day the four of us hired bikes. We left it until about 1100hrs, not doing much before then. It is definitely the way to go when getting around the Netherlands. We rode around town, out of town, and across town to Dan’s Great-Aunt & Uncle; Marie & Paul. As always when navigating such old towns, the questions of direction and the correct winding road were constantly on our minds. Once we arrived at Paul & Marie’s we had a little difficulty contacting them on the intercom. Just as we were about to leave another couple from the building let us in. We rode the elevator with them and proceeded to the relatives’ condo were we still couldn’t find them. Disappointed that we wouldn’t get to see them as planned, we started walking back down to the bikes. On the way down we again met the couple that had let us in; they invited all of us in for a drink and wondered if we had a number to phone. Eventually we learned (as did

One more lazy day in Kampen; this time just floating.
they) that the intercom in the unit was broken. Paul, having been a mechanic, was quick to repair it by hitting it repeatedly until the little light came back on; no tools required. For the next hour we had tea, cookies, cakes, and wonderful conversation. We returned the bikes ant that night and Jac and Petra treated us to dinner at the Blokhut, where a local choir was putting on a show outside. It was a delicious meal with great entertainment. We couldn’t ask for more, except maybe for the rain to hold off until we got home. However, it was rather refreshing after all the 35°+ weather.

Sunday saw us sailing with Dan‘s cousins Jac, Jolanda and Pim. Well, let me correct myself…there was no wind so we really went boating on a sailboat. Oh well. It was such a relaxing day we could hardly care. On the boat, we read and enjoyed the scenery until we reached our destination. Once we put the anchor down we had some lunch; Dan, Pim, Jolanda and Ed went for a dip in the lake which was so refreshing in the afternoon heat. Dan and Ashley also took the tiny motorboat
What Country is it??What Country is it??What Country is it??

Here's Dan's mom at the ultimate in Dutch stereo typing. What do you think the main use(s) for windmills was/were/are??
for a spin and raced around the lake. After the boat trip we all went to a mini family reunion of the Dutch relatives. To sum up, there were a lot of people we didn’t know who may or may not speak English. It would’ve been really awkward except that a lot of people were really kind and wanted to practice their English. Let’s just say, their English is a heck of a lot better than our Dutch. After much conversation, eating, and did I mention conversation, we headed home for a good night’s rest.

The next day was Market day. Ashley insisted on finding some cheap leggings so she could fit in with the local style (all the girls wear leggings in the Netherlands don’t ya know). Alas, Ashley didn’t find leggings at the market that were her size but she bought a really cute dress for only 15 euros!! Dan and Ed were on the hunt for fresh watermelon. On the way Dan found some green cheese which he insists was delicious. You’re probably thinking the same thing Ashley thought…green cheese, eeewwww!! But he insists it was delicious and wishes that he had bought some. Little did
Cheese Wheel city timeCheese Wheel city timeCheese Wheel city time

It's alright, no one cut this wheel of cheese; it would have cost 150€!!!
he know he wouldn’t be able to find it anywhere else. Later that day Claudia, Dan and Ashley went for a walk to the mini zoo in the park nearby. This seems to be a common feature in Dutch parks, penned off areas with all sorts of animals. Afterward, Claudia and Ashley went shopping for last minute items as well, like thank you gifts, leggings to go with Ashley’s new dress and a Netherlands flag to sew onto her backpack. They also found a new ice cream shop, with tons more flavours than the other shop they’d been frequenting, thus enabling their new obsession with finding the world’s best ice cream. I hate to say it but we’re still on the search for the best ice creams. Later Claudia and Ashley even took Ed and Dan for more ice cream. Yes, it was that delicious.

On Tuesday we decided to visit a Fort Edmontonesque museum called Zuiderzee. Jac picked us up at 8am to drive us to Urk where we caught our ferry, and by ferry I mean the Willem Barentsz sailboat, to Enkhuizen. From Enkhuizen we caught another boat to the museum. It’s a compilation of Dutch buildings
History ModelHistory ModelHistory Model

You bet Ashley is sporting the latest style from 19th century Holland (and still some farmers today!!). Ain't she lookin' good!!!
from various periods and areas. The main information centre in the museum also had a display regarding the reclamation of land in the Netherlands. Dan had always been under the impression that people were always just trying to exert control over nature and were just pushing back the waters; apparently this is not the case, having seen the maps from different years it’s obvious that pesky ocean started the whole thing; power to ya Netherlanders. There was even a cheese shop with 150 euro wheel of cheese which Dan just had to get a picture of, and a candy store for Ashley (she took away more tangible articles than pictures) Later on, after Jac picked us up from our ferry port at Urk, we had tea with him and Petra a their home. We also began watching the semi-final football match of the World Cup. We finished watching the match at Jolanda’s and the Nethlanders won. Cheers and horns ensued.

On Wednesday we had to leave Kampen so we concluded our visit by cleaning up Jolanda’s house and finishing the walking tour we had begun a few days before. Pim was on vacation and apparently very bored so he
Twickel RabbitTwickel RabbitTwickel Rabbit

The coolest gardening we've seen so far.
offered to drive us to Delden to visit Dan’s Aunt Irma’s mom, Truss. For the first couple hours we chatted with Truss and her granddaughter Demi. It turned out she had collected enough bikes so we could all ride bikes around town. Claudia and Ed stayed with Truss while Dan and Ashley stayed with Irma’s brother Frank and his wife and children, Ingrid, Demi and Sem. That night Frank and Ingrid had us all for a Dutch BBQ; including Irma’s younger brother and his family Rob, Martina, Tim, and Anna. Now, BBQ in the Netherlands has a different meaning than it does in Canada. In Canada there is generally one type of meat, ie. Steak or hamburgers. You get the point. In the Netherlands they like to BBQ all sorts of meats all for the one meal, even meats we don’t have at home. We thought we were safe because we’d made it through all the salads and then a meat course. Then, low and behold, Frank brings us more meat; two or three courses more. Boy were the Canadians full after that feast. Dan and Ashley stayed up late (whoa, like 2330hrs; super late), and slept like logs.
Roses at TwickelRoses at TwickelRoses at Twickel

Here are Claudia, Truss, and Ashley enjoying the sun and roses at Twickel.

Thursday Demi and friend Lote made us breakfast, since the parental units still had to work. They also showed us Korfball, a very regional sport. Ashley and Dan were then guided back to Truss’, where the five of us went to the local castle; Twickel (don’t forget the Dutch “w” makes a Canadian “v”). The overwhelming heat was extremely evident on what should have been an amazing, green garden. Some spots were watered enough, but many of the big grass fields were brown. There was an amazing rose garden that Ashley is pretty sure she needs to walk down the aisle of. There was also a hill in the garden; I know it sounds crazy, but it was there. It had a small waterfall winding down around it, and had a great view off a lot of the grounds. Following the castle gardens, we headed over to a historical farming museum. Unfortunately we didn’t get to see any of the spinning or loom demonstrations. Dan took an instant liking to the farm house; only the roof above ground, the rest was dug down. Biking back was another great example of the wonderful bike paths in the Netherlands. We wandered through the forest, sometimes on bike only paths, and others along seldom used farm roads. That night Truss made the Canadians dinner, and Frank took Ashley, Dan, Sem, and Ed to the Holten Canadian War Cemetery. It was a moving experience, seeing all those graves (1300 +) and realising it was only a small sampling of those that have given their lives. We both share a last name with a soldier buried there, but we’re really aren’t sure of any relations.


29th July 2010

Daniel and Ashley, I'm really enjoying hearing about your trip. It'll make a great book to review in your old age! Would you be eating watermelons in Greece about now?
30th July 2010

Great Storytelling
You guys are great story tellers. I am living vicariously through you. Keep sending updates of your adventure.
1st August 2010

Well, not Watermelons. Bought canary melons out the back of a tiny pick-up. It was with Emmy's mom, a local, so it was okay.
9th August 2010

Hey! Loving the blog entries! Ashley, you need to post a picture of your leggings. :)

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