Only a few days left now of living in Holland, for now, and it seems to have flown by so quickly. We’ll be packing in a couple of days for our major train trip(s) next week. Just 4 nights left in our little Garden Room and we’ll be really sad to leave, it’s been a fabulous start to our little trip and could not have been more relaxing. We’re not too fussed about the packing as it all came out and it’ll all go back in but we’re a little concerned that the forecast for Wednesday is for the temperature to be in the mid thirties! Not great for a five train journey and not great for my perspiration levels. Hope they’ve got it wrong.
Last few days have been pretty changeable weather-wise. A couple of wet cold miserable ones followed by a couple of roasting hot scorchers. So we wrapped up on the cold ones and got out for some long walks through the forest. Just so quiet and peaceful, seemed like we were miles from civilisation.
Back out on the trusty bikes on Thursday though as we went east of Groesbeek to Kranenburg, across the non-existent border in Germany. The whole border thing is so weird here, there are no signs to tell you that you’ve left one country and are entering another, no border controls, nothing. Slightly different to Dover. The only giveaway is the road signs change colour and the streets are called ‘strasse’ in Germany not ‘straat’.
So to Kranenburg and a coffee and hot apple pie and cream stop (is that an official thing?). Brilliant. Back on the bikes and a long circuit back round to Groesbeek before a quick beer and bitterballen stop (now that must be a proper stop type thing surely?). We just couldn’t help ourselves………
For a week or more we’ve wanted to visit a place called Grave, pronounced ‘Grarver’ to those non-Dutch-nationals out there, as people keep telling us how nice it is. We needed a good day so went for it on Thursday. A long day of cycling, close to 50km in all as we took a few diversions planned and unplanned, but it was amazing. Cycled over bridges, alongside rivers, on the top of dykes, it was just the best day out.
Grave is a fairly big town along the Maas river, really picturesque with great little squares and river front cafes. So we obviously felt obliged to stop for a little refreshment of the beer variety, it would have been insulting to the locals if we hadn’t!
Then a bit of a long cycle back via the beautiful little village of Linden, a wrong turn due to some map-vandalism forcing us down to Cuijk. Another ferry trip across the river before heading up through Mook and Molenhoek on our way back. Had to stop one last time to have an ice cream by the Nijmegen Glider club as it was just too beautiful to miss. An amazing day!
So breakfast on Friday with Meia and Martin from Eindhoven. A nice couple on a 6 day cycling trip like so many others over here. It’s such a shame that we can’t enjoy this sort of life back in the UK with the safe cycling routes, positive attitude to cyclists, and general love of the outdoor life and exercise. So many people of all ages do it here. These two were both 72 years old and a fella last week we met was pushing 80.
Such a hot day that we cleared off for another long walk through the local forest a few hours wandering along the hundreds of trails and cycle paths enjoying the weather and just chatting. We found an incredible adventure area that had been built by the local council deep in the woods. Massive with tree houses and assault courses, hidden dens and camps, teepees, picnic areas, everything. No health and safety notices. No ‘look out for the pointy stick’ signs. Just left natural for kids, and big kids to play on.
Friday finished with Tonia and Andre, our hosts, inviting us out for dinner. Nice relaxing drive via Andre’s school, he’s a teacher, and back to Kranenburg to the El Toro restaurant. We sat outside in the town square in the late sunshine enjoying a drink and a fabulous meal with two of the nicest people we’ve ever met. Jo feasted on fish and asparagus (a local delicacy I think) and I just couldn’t resist the Jagerschnitzel. Followed by a walk down to the Ice Cream parlour for some amazing deserts then back to Groesbeek for a couple of coffees in the garden. I really hope that we can stay friends and keep in touch now as it’s great to meet such lovely people.
We’ve loved it here in Groesbeek so much that part of us doesn’t want to leave. Couple more bike trips and bar-stops still to fit in before we go obviously.