3amApril 29, 2018 in the Netherlands ⋅ ⛅ 8 °C
It’s 3 am and all are asleep. Well, except for me that is. Maybe I have too many words that are bursting to get out so I need to write. Or, maybe I’ve just had my obligatory 6 hours that I’m far too used to so my mind and body are ready to get life’ng. Or, maybe I’m full of jet lag still and am still on netherlands time. Whatever the reason, I’m quite content laying here listening to the quiet sounds of the icy snow pinging off the outside of the camper, the crew breathing softly all around me and the quiet hum of the heating system.
We’ve camped for the night just outside Geysir and Gullfoss at an all year round spot. It has all the amenities. Snack bar restaurant dining hall with a stage for summer camp multi purpose room, mini putt course, hottub and even proper flush toilets and showers at our disposal. After a monster day of seeing the sights on very little sleep we arrived to this spot about 7 pm.
Clearly, I didn’t finish this post. Such small quarters that the light is my phone was disturbing Trevor. Fast forward several nights. I sit here now with our motor home all clean, relaxing for a few moments in the beautiful Tjaldsaedi Grindavík campsite common room. I’ve had so many thoughts and words exploding out of me for this blog but not a moment in our schedule to write. I hope to catch up some today and then hopefully more when we get home.
My first order of business in this choppy post is to go back a few nights and a plane ride to the Netherlands and share some musings on our last day in Friesland.
One more interruption - fast forward a bit more. Lunch, packing up and cleaning the motorhome interrupted your regular programming of this blog post. We’re now at the airport nice and early. There was, let’s just say, a wee bit of Icelandic wind last night. The motorhome rattled and banged as the winds off the oceans whipped by the little campground we stayed at. We were fairly protected by the building and berm that was built by the campground but even still, we woke often as only one does when irrational late night thoughts take over. Will we tip over, should we reposition the camper more toward the wind, what will the drive be like tomorrow, will there be a foot of snow on the ground, will we miss our flight, will we have to stay in Iceland forever, will the volcano erupt! Thankfully, a warm shower, the sun rise and a chat with the local person at the campground office brought us back to reality. We felt ready to make the drive to the motorhome return place and knew all was going to be ok. And it was.
Ok folks, back we go. Let’s chat about our tour of Friesland and the stops we made. Four or so days ago now we woke for our last morning at Trevor’s cousin’s beautiful cottage in Heeg. The cottage had the perfect number of beds for the six of us and was very comfortable, warm and just what we needed. Although it was rainy on and off for our time in northern Holland we still enjoyed the view of the lake, sail boats navigating the waters and water! Water everywhere. Trevor has done an incredible job driving us around many roads that we certainly are not used to in Canada. The NOT a minivan small SUV was a blessing in disguise at times when driving along a tiny rural road or navigating the many lanes of traffic and speed limits of 130 around the big cities.
We had a quiet morning so the kids could rest. Laundry churned, warm baths and showers were had and iPad wifi time was revelled in. These planned down times have been much needed but they zoom by in a flash. Before we knew it, it was time to get ready to head into Sneek to meet up with Joke for brunch. She recommended this lovely warm restaurant that had a large menu catering to all tastes. And by this I mean they served chicken fingers and fries, which suited a few of our crew quite nicely. the kiddos were showing some wear today. Some grump moments and a bit on one another’s nerves. I think we all could have used a full day of slow but that wasn’t in the cards. After some fuel, we set off on the hunt for Dutch Pokemon. Sully has been on the lookout this whole trip, determined to prove that Pokémon are only in English and Japanese. Boy would it have been crazy to find Pokémon cards in Dutch! But alas, we did find some at a toy store and they were in fact in English. He spent nearly all of his allotted Euros on a booster pack and was one happy kid.
After some more shops and poking around the downtown we said our thank you’s and goodbyes to Joke and headed back to the cottage to regroup before our afternoon/evening plans commenced. Next up was a stop in Tzum to drive by the home where Trevor’s dad was born and to visit the church and cemetery of his grandparents. Although we didn’t stay long at either place, it was very meaningful to take the time to see them in person.
We carried on north and headed to the town of Franeker to stop at the planetarium museum. After nearly having a heart attack parking the car beside a canal, we found our way into the museum. As has been the case on this adventure a bit, we didn’t leave quite enough time to really take in this treasure. The museum highlights the life and genius of Eise Eisinga, a young brilliant mind who created a planetarium in the 1700’s in his spare time. I would love to go back again some day to have a second longer tour. It’s definitely something I’ve added to my “research and learn more about later” list from this trip. the kids enjoyed it to varying degrees based on their ages and tiredness levels but overall, we all took something meaningful from this experience.
By this time the kids needed a bit of a release so the next stop was perfect. We stopped at the dykes and had a run around, learning more about why this is critical for the Netherlands. The kids just couldn’t fathom the size and need. I wonder how their minds will process this kind to info going forward as they learn through school and life about water and resource management. A good bit of fresh air was perfect before a nice dinner at another of Trevor’s cousin’s. Gerbrich and her partner Ship had a lovely dinner for us. We had a nice long chat and lost track of time a wee bit. Time management on a trip is always tricky - it’s limited, we want to connect and visit for as long we possible and we’re also managing 4 kids all at the same time. Time slips away faster than we would have thought possible.
A bit of a drive back to the cottage and straight to bed for all. Packing, cleaning the cottage and travel lay ahead. Our 5 nights in Holland was at an end and we certainly had mixed feelings about the transition from our Holland adventures with the connection and help of family to the camping motorhome ruggedness of Iceland. Sleep and game faces were prepared; we were ready.Read more