Catching our breath and a new adventure

After a fantastic but sometimes rugged round trip of roughly 12,000 kilometres through Scandinavia, we were ready to stop and catch our breath in Pijnacker, near Delft in the Netherlands, where our daughter is now living with her Dutch partner.

Don’t think the Cat was so pleased to see us back!

We had a great few days of relaxing, being looked after extremely well, and having looong showers (we do have a lovely shower on our van but we are always very careful about the amount of water we use as you never know when you will be able to fill up next.)

During our short stay we packed in quite a lot including a visit to a petting zoo (with borrowed child of course), listened to a local “Scottish” (yes, Scottish) pipe band in the town square and visiting a community garden where locals are encouraged to pick flowers and vegetables and if they wish, do some weeding.

Our daughter in her element
Who would have thought we’d be listening to bagpipes in The Netherlands!
The wonderful community garden in Pijnacker

We also visited Delft and had drinks in the Beestenmarkt – a charming square lined with nice cafes, bars and restaurants.

Having a drink in the Beestenmarkt square

Delft is a beautiful, compact city with many canals and buildings dating back to the 16th Century and earlier, for example, the Oostpoort (Eastern gate), built around 1400. This is the only remaining gate of the old city walls.

The Oostpoort (Eastern gate),

One afternoon we had a glorious time exploring Delft’s botanical garden which is run by the University and boasts 7,000 species of plants and trees. We particularly enjoyed the various sculptures that were dotted about the walkways and the crow’s nest that you could climb up and be amongst the trees.

The wonderful crow’s nest at Delft’s Botanical Gardens

They grow thousands of plant varieties- even cannabis
We enjoyed the quirky sculptures on display
Lots of interesting plants in the greenhouse

A particularly special day out was to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam which I last visited almost fifty years ago. Since that time the building has been extensively renovated and one of the excellent additions was a very good restaurant that was awarded a Michelin Star in 2017.

The Rijksmuseum
The amazing new roof at the Rijksmuseum
A spot of lunch before touring the galleries at the Rijksmuseum

We had a delicious lunch there which set us up very well for viewing some of the 8,000 pieces of art hung in the museum.

Admiring the amazing art

A wonderful winter scene by Hendricks Avercamp

One of the hallways in the Rijksmuseum

The collection in Rijksmuseum contains masterpieces by artists such as Rembrandt, Vermeer, Frans Hals and many others. Such an amazing place even if you aren’t a huge fan of art!

A fantastic Eastern European band playing Vivaldi on unusual instruments

Too soon it was time to leave for the next part of our adventure – Brittany, France’s northwesternmost region. We had both been longing to visit this fascinating part of the world which is famous not only for its wild beauty and rugged coastline but also its abundant prehistoric menhirs (a type of megalith).

Yes. We had made it to France!

Our first stop was in Amiens where we stayed for free in Parc Saint Pierre. This was a really great spot and we had a very peaceful night.

Our camp site in Amiens was very pretty

Before taking off again we had a lovely walk around the park and were able to see the remarkable Tour Perret – a 27-storey residential skyscraper built between 1949 and 1954.

The Tour Perret was undergoing some renovations
We had an enjoyable walk in the gardens

We also caught sight of the famous Medieval Amiens Cathedral. Built between 1220 and c. 1270, the Cathedral is the tallest complete cathedral in France.

The spire of Amiens Cathedral
The architecture in Amiens looked very interesting. We want to return to see more of it.
More shots of the park

We would have loved to explore Amiens properly but were on a mission to get to Brittany. We vowed to return another day.

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Salty tales from Bali Hai

In 2015, after a break from cruising of almost 30 years, my husband and I sailed off into the sunset - this time to the wonderful Islands of Indonesia and beyond. Three years passed and we swapped sails for wheels driving through Scandinavia and Europe in a motor home. Now we are on the brink of another adventure - buying a Lagoon 420 Catamaran in Athens. This is our story.

2 thoughts on “Catching our breath and a new adventure”

  1. Can’t believe it’s almost fifty years ago since we went to the Riijksmuseum and I can still vividly remember that painting of the girl pouring the jug!
    George was also interested to hear about your visit to menhirs in Brittany. He took me to see some, also Neolithic tombs and Baroque churches on our honeymoon in 1982!
    Love to you both, Sally xx

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    1. I can’t believe it either Sally, that just can’t be possible!! The Rijksmuseum has had a fantastic facelift but like you, I remembered many of the paintings- they really left a lasting impression! Brittany was also so interesting – So beautiful and such fascinating history. Wondering if George took you to Brittany or somewhere else with Menhirs.

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