Coronavirus halts plans but opens our eyes to other pleasures

After the extreme busy-ness of our daughter and son-in-law’s wonderful wedding it was great to be able to just relax and unwind for a few days while they enjoyed a “mini moon” in the beautiful Hotel des Indes in The Hague.

The beautiful Hotel des Indes

While they were away we looked after their cat and enjoyed daily walks around their neighborhood.

Cato wasn’t that impressed with us!

As in so many countries, a second spike in the Coronavirus infections had increased restrictions. In the Netherlands this meant a partial lockdown with all cafes, bars, and restaurants closed and households only allowed two visitors a day (although these rules didn’t apply to children under 13).

She has a subtle way of getting attention

We felt very fortunate to be able to stroll through the local streets and see fantastic sights that we might normally have missed if it hadn’t been for lockdown. Coronavirus might have halted our plans but our eyes have been opened to so much beauty!

A beautiful heron fishing in a nearby canal

For example, a beautiful heron poised to catch a fish in a nearby canal and the many colours of autumn in the trees both on the streets and in local gardens. Other beautiful sights such as some amazing bright purple berries and the still evening light reflecting trees in the water, have us great pleasure.

Stunning autumn colours
I’ve never seen purple berries like these before
Such a still evening – loving the reflections in the canal
A pretty bridge in Pijnacker

Sadly Hannah and Pieter’s romantic honeymoon on a beautiful island somewhere had to be postponed as overseas travel was just not possible under the circumstances.

Sadly the dream of a honeymoon on a deserted island like this had to postponed (taken in India’s Andaman Islands)

Despite all the restrictions, outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling etc have been encouraged and as Pieter and Hannah were still on leave they took the chance to show us some lovely forest areas within driving distance from where they live near Delft.

One such place was Den Treek Henschoten- a lovely old forest with winding paths and cycle tracks criss crossing many hundreds of acres of estate land in Leusden.

So many lovely trails in this estate
The autumn leaves were spectacular colours

Hannah had heard that the estate was famous for its wide variety of fungi. We had only just started on our walk when Pieter discovered the first of many wonderful toadstools (and perhaps the occasional mushroom but we weren’t game to try and identify these!)

Searching for fungi

There were beautiful red toadstools – the ones with white spots much beloved in fairy tales; there were toadstool towns; we spotted gorgeous ones that looked more like sea creatures than anything belonging to the land.

Fairy toadstools!
A toadstool town
These looked like sea creatures
These wouldn’t look out of place in the ocean too

There were purple ones, wet-look ones, lacy ones, flat ones, domed ones and many more besides.

What an amazing purple
Wet-look toadstools
Look at this lacy number!
There were flat ones….
…..and domed ones

We couldn’t believe how prolific they were, or the huge variety – it felt like a real revelation!

We couldn’t believe how prolific they were
Last toadstool photo – promise!

After so many years in Australia we have really relished experiencing a European autumn again.

The leaves have been so beautiful with many shades of yellow, orange, red and brown. As we waded through the crunchy, crisp leaves, enjoying the feel and sound of them, we started to relive our childhood – scooping up great armfuls and throwing them in the air and of course over each other! Such fun.

Playing in the leaves – such fun!
Newly married!
Long time married!

Another lovely outing was a walk in some woods quite near to where Pieter and Hannah live but somewhere we had not been to before.

So good to be exploring a new place
Just look at those colours!
Someone had built a tepee!
Peeping through the trees to the fields beyond
Who would believe we were only minutes from a busy town?
Another beautiful scene
An amazing avenue of trees with light at the end!

After a really lovely hike we stopped at a popular and pretty cafe right in the middle of fields on the outskirts of Delft. In normal circumstances it would be crowded with customers – any day of the week and in any season- but because of Coronavirus it was only serving takeaways.

Fortunately it was warm enough to sit outside and we found a table nearby where we could enjoy our coffee and apple pie.

Fabulous apple pie. You can see Jonathan is happy!

The Dutch arguably make the best apple pie in the world and we have been doing some serious research to establish whether this claim is true or not!

We also paid a visit to a wonderful farm shop situated close to the cafe and spent time patting cows before buying some lovely farm-fresh vegetables.

View from the farm shop
Loved these cows
And these ones!
Now these fungi you can eat
Great pumpkins too

The weather was really glorious – wonderful sunshine although a little cooler than we are used to! It was so lovely to be able to sit outside at Hannah and Pieter’s in November!

Wonderful being able to sit in the sun in November
Later we needed a fire though

After a relaxing time staying at Pieter and Hannah’s we decided it was time to hit the road again. We had planned a visit to see family and friends in England but the country went into full lockdown and travelling was banned unless it was for an essential purpose.

We decided to postpone our English trip and instead, travel in the Netherlands for a while. There is always something new to discover and although it’s a small country there are plenty of interesting places to visit.

Great to be in the road again

As usual with us, we headed towards water and a yacht marina (I know, we just can’t help ourselves!) to a place called Warten in the province of Friesland in the north of the country.

A fantastic evening sky

We were the only ones in a campervan staying in the marina and it was blissfully peaceful. Our grassy site was surrounded on three sides by water and there were lots of boats to look at.

We were surrounded by water
With lots of boats to look at
It was very peaceful
Wandering along the jetties

We were amazed at the bird life there – particularly the massive flocks of Canada geese flying overhead, filling the skies with the sounds of their belligerent honking.

We couldn’t believe the number of geese flying overhead

Coronavirus might have stopped us doing some of the things we had planned but the plus side is that we have seen some natural wonders and new places that perhaps we would have otherwise not encountered.

The geese filled the sky with their belligerent honking

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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.

4 thoughts on “Coronavirus halts plans but opens our eyes to other pleasures”

  1. As always you’ve produced a wonderfully evocative account with your descriptions and beautiful pictures, Dot! The fungi look fantastic. Autumn at its best – glad you managed to enjoy some happy lockdown days together before heading off again. xx

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