Back to Utrecht and Amsterdam

After packing up and tidying we set off along the Dijk for Utrecht. Eventually we had to cross De Lek and then headed into Utrecht. We walked around the old city, had the obligatory espresso and had hot dogs for lunch from a food truck.

After that we headed for Amsterdam. I had found a park and ride garage that cost €1 for the day which had a serious queue waiting to get in. But it was quick and it looks as if they allocate a few of the actual parking bays to the P+R. We parked, got caught in a rain storm and found a bus to bring us close to the hotel. We walked along the cobblestone, each dragging a suitcase and found where we needed to be with no problem. After checking in and sorting things out we went for a look around.

Back to Dam square and we had drinks in the LGBQT area before more walking around. Then Dave and Mark had beers while I went to Uniqlo. They made it for happy hour and I’m sure they were doubly happy to get cheap beers and to not have to look at jackets with me. After that it was back to the hotel.

We walked towards the busier part of where we are staying and found an Italian pizzeria for supper. Sotto do wood fired pizzas and they were generous and good. Dave and I had Sicilian wine and I finished with tiramusu. A proper Italian evening out, and our last one with Mark.

Walking in the rain

Our plans for coffee amongst the windmills was thwarted by the weather. After breakfast Dave and I headed out for a walk to the coffee molen, which is less than 2km from where we are staying. We spent most of the 26 minutes in the rain, and they were closed.

Mark met us there so we hopped in the car and went back to his place. Jouris has an espresso machine so we had lovely coffee there. We then went grocery shopping and back to Mark for lunch. Then back to the apartment to relax. Mark came back late afternoon and we chilled, had dinner and spoke a lot. A lovely early night after a day of doing very little.

Rotterdam

This morning we drove to a Park and Ride facility and caught the tram into Rotterdam. We started off with coffee and had a good walk around. The building construction here is phenomenal. You can see ancient sites next to places hastily constructed after the War.

These ugly, functional buildings are being surrounded by modern architecture. Some of which will confuse the mind.

We bumped into a friend of Mark’s who is constructing floating houses. And he gave us a suggestion of which way to walk.

This led us to Vessel 11 which was a floating lighthouse but is now a restaurant.

We had a beer then walked past the Maritime Museum and across the Nieuwe Maas on The Erasmus Bridge.

The wind was howling which made crossing quite an effort. From there we had frites for lunch at Bram Ladage and headed back to Streefkerk.

We stopped at Graan & Zo in Oud-Alblas. The windmill was running so you could hear the noise of the grain mill at work. I bought some biscuit mix to try at home.

From there it was grocery shopping for a braai at Mark’s place. We dropped the things off at the farm then came back to the apartment. Mark fetched us at 18:00 and by the time we got organised the rain had stopped. We had a build your own burger braai with his housemates which was really lovely. At 21:30 we walked back to the apartment having had another great day.

De Lek

Today was all about relaxing and taking it easy. We drove along the dijk next to De Lek and then took a ferry across De Lek and went to a dairy farm and cheese factory.

After buying cheese we drove around and then had coffee in Lekkerland. After that we took another ferry across De Lek and had lunch at the farm. The crossings were smooth and you hardly noticed the ferry moving and cost €3.50.

After lunch Dave and I came back to our apartment and when Mark arrived we took a walk down to the water and then around Streefkerk. We had a simple dinner and a fairly early night.

Dordrecht

Mondays are not busy work days in Dordrecht and many tourist aimed sites are closed. But this did not detract from how pretty the city is. We had a long walk around the canals and along the waterway and met the cutest Boxer along the way. His owner told us about the artists of the town. And how wealthy children were sent to study under Rembrandt.

A coffee break interrupted our ambling around and just before lunch time we did some shopping.

Today’s picnic was at De Biesenbosch which has a blue flag beach.

We walked around but did not see any beavers. However we did come across a Shepherd and his flock.

After lunch we headed to the nursery to get a gas canister for Mark’s Weber and then did grocery shopping. We went back to Mark’s place to make sure the canister was correct and spent time chatting to his house mates. Dave and I then walked back along the dijk and relaxed before Mark came for supper.

Den Haag and Delft

After breakfast we headed straight for Den Haag and found free parking close to the old part of the city. It also happened to be the Red Light District. We walked around, had some coffee and took in the sights. At midday we made our way back to the car and headed for Delft.

The Phoenix parking garage was perfectly situated for us to see the old part of the city. Our first stop was Shop Kouwenhoven. This old fashioned sweet shop has all sorts of liquorice. With a few choices bagged for Bev and something for Mark we walked around to find somewhere for beer. We sat along the canal and had a drink before looking at Delft ware. The handprinted stuff is wildly expensive and it somehow doesn’t feel right to buy printed ceramics. We did a cheese tasting and headed back to the car.

By now it was past lunchtime so we drove to Delft Hout and had our picnic. Then the long drive back to Mark’s for a beer. We bought Mark a Weber gas braai so got that unpacked before we left Mark there to do some laundry. Dave drove us back to the guesthouse and we relaxed for a bit. We had a late supper, using an apple from a tree at Mark’s place to make apple sauce. Another fantastic day.

The Windmills

After a lazy start to the morning and breakfast, we headed to the Garden Centre to look for a gas BBQ. There was nothing suitable so we went next door to look at the Hardware Store but there was nothing small enough. So we decided the best bet would be to get it online. After that we went to Mark’s work and had a walk around the showroom and the workshop. It was really interesting to see where he works, and nice to meet some of his colleagues.

From there we did grocery shopping and went to the farm where Mark lives. It’s a huge communal house with 9 bedrooms and an amazing indoor, open space for the performance artists to train. The house is between De Lek and a Sloot and is so peaceful. We had lunch there, joined by some of his housemates.

After that we dropped the groceries off where we are staying and then went to Kinderdijk. This is famous for being the place in Holland where you can see the most windmills in one view. And it was an amazing sight. We did a 2.5km walk around the area before heading back to our place for dinner. We had another late lazy evening chatting about all sorts of things.

Amsterdam to Streefkerk

Our first task was to get a data Sim card and once that was done, Dave bought train tickets. We got the intercity from Schiphol to Dordrecht. Had I known there was free WiFi on the train I might have not bothered with the Sim until Mark was with us. But hindsight is twenty twenty vision! Mark was waiting for us and we drove to the old city where we had battered and deep fried fish pieces for lunch.

We bought cravettes from the fish vendor at the market and then sat down for a beer. Our vaccine QR code doesn’t scan but thankfully the owner accepted our vaccine cards. Hopefully in time there will be a universal system in place, if it remains necessary.

After that we shopped for whisky at a specialist bottle store and then headed to Nieuw-Lekkerland. We did grocery shopping for dinner at the supermarket and then Dave got fresh veggies from the green grocer and mince from the butcher. I bought a few things at the supermarket and a huge round eclair for dessert at the bakery. It is worth keeping in mind that many shops don’t accept credit cards for groceries etc. and you need a debit card or cash. Mark then dropped us off at the Guest House and left us to settle in. We had a lovely family dinner and a late night for all of us.