Holland and Gone


These little trees are actually bushes of geraniums.  And there just happened to be a pretty church in the background. This is in the town of Lisse where we came just to see the tulip museum.  Pictures were strictly forbidden but when we went into the next room after the admissions desk one of the ladies came in and whispered that if we took pictures her eyes were covered. 

These pans with holes in them are how bulbs were sorted for size.  One of the curators explained that when bulbs were first introduced to Holland (from Turkey) they were so valuable that a person could have a nice house built with just three bulbs.
We had planned to stay in Holland several more days but had one heck of a string of bad luck finding a place to overnight yesterday.  The road to the first town we drove to was closed for some reason and because of all the canals we couldn’t figure out a detour to get to it.  In other countries we can usually get the gist of road signs.  Not in the Netherlands.  The only words I have learned are “De Koop” which means For Sale because of seeing Remax signs in front of some houses.
So then we drove to Gouda and that turned out to be a much bigger town, actually a city, than we expected.  The Aires was right downtown and guess what?  The whole main street was torn up and the road to the Aires was closed. It was no fun finding our way back out of Gouda either.
Okay, next place was Roosendaal and the coordinates in our Stellplatz book was incorrect and took us right to a church in the center of Oud Castle (or something like that).  It turned out Roosendaal was about five miles further down the freeway but by that time we decided to give up on Holland.
Each time we struck out we ended up having to drive through another big city.  So yesterday we drove through Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and then Antwerp.  You have to change freeways  on that long stretch about every 5 miles to a different freeway with traffic merging into where you have to get off and nobody cuts you any slack.  That was so stressful that when we finally got to a nice stopping place in Belgium the first thing Steve did was pour us some wine. 
We stayed in Lier last night where there is a big parking lot that people use to walk into the town center.  It’s an easy walk across a canal bridge and Lier turned out to be really, really nice.  I didn’t take my camera (drats!) but I enjoyed the sights in town as much as Brugges and maybe more because it was minus the tourists.


The Afsluitdijk is a 32kilometer long dike, which connects the province of North Holland with the province of Friesland. It was constructed between 1927 and 1933 as part of a larger plan called the Zuiderzee Works. With the completion of the Afsluitdijk the Zuiderzee (‘Southern Sea’) became the fresh water lake of IJsselmeer. 

Truthfully, there is not a lot to see on this 32 km drive.  On the right is the dike and it’s too high to view the North Sea while driving.  To the left is the lake which does have many sail boats on it.  There are a couple of pullovers to see the lake and the sea.  We drove to the most northern part of Holland and crossed the dike and are now going south again.  I think this area just north of Amsterdam is more interesting so far.  There was also some free camping right where we got on the dike but a bit too chilly and windy for us.
This is a cheese and clog factory and store which puts on demonstrations.  There are about 10 different cheeses to taste, plus strawberry wine, and cookies.  We bought some of the yummy wine which reminds me of the sweet Iceberg Wine we had in Newfoundland last year.  This is one of the few places that we know of where we can spend the night in Holland for free.  Most of the Aires/Stellplatz charge a minimum of 7 EU and on up to 20 EU.  I think we will hurry and see everything that we can and then go on to Belgium where there are more places to stay.
This is the area where the wooden clogs are made.  There are shelves and shelves of colorfully painted clogs to buy.
And here’s a small part of the area where cheese is made.  No demonstrations were going on while we were inside even though a bus load of tourists from the Czech Republic was here.


 We have been a bit lazy this past week and have not done much sightseeing.  I’ve been reading some books that I couldn’t put down (U.S.S. Seawolf and The Innocent Man).  Today we did go to the Veluwezoom National Park and then tried and tried to find the Kroller-Muller Art Museum and Sculpture Garden.  This museum has the second largest collection of Van Gogh paintings in the world as well as paintings by many other famous artists. The miles we drove and the backtracking got us so frustrated that we finally gave up.  We found one entrance but our RV was too tall to go through the barrier and so the guide sent us 9 kilometers to another entrance and we just couldn’t find it.
Can you see the frog?  We did get to see some nice gardens in the national park which had no entry fee. 
Everyone knows that Holland is very big on bicycle riding.  It’s amazing to see so many riders and some are in their 80’s and probably 90’s.  No one in Holland is overweight either.  Of course Holland is perfect for bicycling since there are no hills (that I have seen yet) and almost every single street and road has bicycle lanes.  The picture below shows you how much space is allotted for cars on this particular road vs. bicyclers.  You can see the bikes get two lanes and the cars have one.
After we struck out not finding the museum we drove 100 miles north to find a washing machine.  That’s how desperate we are to wash clothes.  The last time we had access to a washing machine was in Chaumont, France where we actually paid to stay in a regular campground just to wash clothes.  Unfortunately, they had one cheap American washer that got our clothes dirtier than they started out.  Now we are at a campground on a farm and I don’t know what button I pushed wrong on the washer but our first load took 3 full hours!  That means we will stay tomorrow just to get two more loads done.  It’s really nice here though.  There’s a refrigerator in the campers building with all sorts of goodies from the farm.  We are so far from the next camper that we could not throw a ball that far.  Speedy internet too.  I just downloaded a book to my Kindle and for some reason was under the impression there was a $5 surcharge from Europe but it was the regular price.