On our last leg from France back to the Netherlands we had planned to revisit the northeastern city of Metz – a town that we love and have visited several times before.
Sadly the river was badly swollen and running extremely fast so the camper parking area on its banks had been completely closed off.
It was still only early afternoon so we kept going and drove over the border to Luxembourg where we stayed the night in very comfortable but snowy site at Heiderscheid.
The following afternoon we were back in the Netherlands to another joyful reunion with our daughter Hannah and son-in-law Pieter.
We were very excited to learn that snow was on its way to the Netherlands! A couple of days later just as we were turning in for the night, snow flakes started to fall and soon a very thin white layer covered the garden, the road and parked cars.
When we woke up the next morning the whole world was completely white. What a glorious sight!
Having been brought up in Brisbane, Australia, our daughter Hannah had only seen snow for the the first time just a few years ago so she was very excited that morning!
Lockdown in the Netherlands has been a long haul with small freedoms being withdrawn every time there was a government announcement so the diversion of a thick blanket of snow was extremely welcome.
We decided to go for a walk just to see everyone out and about enjoying this wonderful distraction.
We saw kids being pulled along on toboggans, people walking with big grins on their faces and families sledging down slopes leading to the local canals.
We stopped to watch one family sledging who very kindly gave our daughter Hannah her first toboggan ride.
The local woods looked stunning with snowy Christmas card scenes at every turn.
There was also cheering news at this time from our son and his wife in Brisbane – we were now proud great grandparents to a newly hatched duckling. Our great grand duck (called Little Duck) is very cute!
The snow remained all week and each day we went for long walks to enjoy the still-crisp white blanket, coming back rosy cheeked and red nosed for delicious hot chocolate (sometimes laced with a dash of Cointreau – delicious!)
The temperatures were below freezing every day and down to minus 10 some nights so towards the end of the week the canals began to freeze over – much to everyone’s delight.
By the weekend anyone who owned a pair of skates was out enjoying skating – either on nearby canals or on local lakes.
Hannah was one of those who took to the local lake to glide across the sparking ice in the bright sunshine. That was after skating canals in the neighbourhood for a few days.
The lake was thronged with skaters! It was an wonderful spectacle – reminiscent of a Bruegel painting – there were highly competent speed skaters, parents pushing babies in little carts, toddlers hanging onto small chairs to stay upright, groups of teenagers in long lines, young men playing ice hockey, “elders” sliding steadily but gracefully and everything in between.
There was such a feeling of joy in the air but as we walked round the lake I felt slightly nervous about seeing all this close interaction with other people. I mean we were meant to be in full lockdown right? Not even allowed more than one visitor to your home, not even in the garden! I said to Jonathan- we are going to see a spike in Covid numbers in the next few weeks. Sadly, there has been an increase in infection numbers but maybe there were other factors involved. Whatever the case, the advent of the snow and ice was an absolute thrill to young and old and definitely lifted the spirits of one and all.