Spring Trip 2015 - Part 2/3 : The Netherlands

Discussion in 'Belguim Netherlands' started by magicsurfbus, May 7, 2015.

  1. magicsurfbus

    magicsurfbus Funster

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    Part the Second - The Netherlands (For Part the First, see the Germany thread)

    Days 10 - 13 - Drove from Cologne to Camping Het Amsterdamse-Bos which we'd pre-booked because it was a bank holiday weekend. The Amsterdamse-Bos is a recreational wooded area to the south west of the city, set up in the 1930s depression as a job creation scheme. The campsite is good, but fairly close to Schipol airport so you get a bit of take-off noise. Not a problem for us as we live about 3000 feet below Manchester Airport's final approach path. Various options for getting into the city, but all of them a bit ponderous - allow at least an hour. We went for the bus/metro option using a three day Metro travel pass, but the buses are relatively pricey for the trip to the Metro station. Considered biking to it but wasn't keen to leave two mountain bikes racked up beside the street all day. Most Dutch bikes are crappy old black things that aren't worth nicking - anything else will stand out a mile.

    In the city we got some culture at the Rijksmuseum, some burgers at the Hard Rock Cafe, wandered the streets and canals, and visited Haarlem to see the flower procession floats. Haarlem is chock full of upmarket/trendy shops if that's your sort of thing (not mine) and but a short hop down the railway from Centraal Station. The Monday was Koningsdag (King's birthday) where they have a nationwide car boot sale (Vrijmarkt) in the morning and a huge party dressed up in orange for the rest of the day. Needless to say Amsterdam was pretty lively all day, and the public transport routes were all redirected near the centre.

    Day 14 - Drove to the magnificent Keukenhof Gardens to see all the pretty flowers. I have to admit I was quite impressed and I don't actually like flower gardens that much. The place is only open in April-May then all the tulips keel over and wither. We parked overnight in a lay-by along a nearby lane called Leidsevaart, which runs through the bulb fields between the level crossing at Halfweg, and the village of De Zilk. It's a well-known MH stop and was pretty much full along its entire length by evening. You can imagine the view outside the window, but if you can't here's what we got:

    [​IMG]

    Days 15-16 - Onwards to Leiden, stopping at Camping Maaldrift which is a smallish low-key family-run site about 10 minutes walk from a bus stop with half hourly services into the town centre and to Den Haag in the opposite direction. We went to both, visiting the Der Valk working windmill and going in another museum. At Den Haag we visited the museum with the 'Girl With The Pearl Earring' painting in and had a look at the Escher exhibition in one of the palaces (coo urr gosh culture or wot?)

    Day 17 - Delft, camping at Delftse Hout which is about 20 minutes' walk from the marketplace. Of all the Dutch towns we visited we liked Delft the best - similar in style to Amsterdam but without all the brothels, stag parties and tourist tat, and less crowded. If you like your Vermeer, definitely go in the Vermeer centre. No originals on display but loads of good info on how he went about painting them. The old church is quite nice too, and the East gate is picturesque.

    That's it for the Netherlands - we'll go there again and see some more of it, but be aware that when you drive there THE CYCLIST REIGNS SUPREME. Motorists come second and pedestrians come somewhere below amoeba in the Dutch national psyche. The Dutch are the most sedate motorway drivers I've yet seen, but I suspect that's because all the total nutters are riding f**ing bikes. I like cycling, but I rapidly got very sick of cyclists in Amsterdam with their suicidal antics and their constant bloody ding-ding-dings. You'll see.

    Next stop - Belgium.
     
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  2. FJmike

    FJmike Funster

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    After working seven days a week for the last couple of months we decided a six day break was in order. After an overnight at Gravelines we headed up to the Netherlands and I have to say how impressed I was with the country. They could certainly teach the Brits a few things on traffic management and we never once saw any litter at all. Will agree that the cyclist is king but I would view that as a bonus not a negative. Even the small roads (about the width of a motorhome) had a cycle lane marked both sides, which results in ALL road users being considerate to others. We didn't visit any camp sites but used the few aires that they have and wildcamped on one occasion. What really bugged us was the sight of massive parking areas that were empty but had a sign depicting a motorhome, tent and caravan with a big red cross. In Gouda they have done this, close to the centre and electric hook ups
     
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  3. DavidG58

    DavidG58 Funster

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    we were driving round the bulb fields at the same time as you were, an amazing sight :)

    we arrived in Gouda on Kings day and saw half the people there dressed in orange, having done Keukenhof before we avoided the throngs on Tuesday never seen so many coaches in one place and plenty of MH's parked up in car park

    I think on our travels we saw the lane you were parked on, certainly a good few parked there

    nice place Holland, but so boring between towns, but I think we will go back (y)
     
  4. canopus

    canopus Funster Life Member

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    ' nice place Holland, but so boring between towns, but I think we will go back '

    Get yourself down to the south to the province of Limburg, you will be amazed.
     
  5. FJmike

    FJmike Funster

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    oops just realised that on my last post it implied that there is no parking in Gouda, far from it as there is an excellent aire with electric hook up
     
  6. WillH

    WillH Funster

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    Heading over to Holland in a couple of weeks and staying at Delftse Hout first for a few days. We are then thinking of going up to Texel to chill out for a few days. Anybody been there?

    Rgds
    Bill
     
  7. ivorantony

    ivorantony Funster

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    Texel is a lovely place to visit, we stayed on a campsite behind the texel hotel very close to the airfield, lovely beaches and good restaurants, FYI Texel is pronounced as tessel
     
  8. Geordies

    Geordies Funster

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    We fancy trying this Aire, would you, or anyone else that has stayed there, comment on whether or not you felt "safe" there ?
     
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