Back at Didim Marina after the most fantastic trip of South-East Turkey with a group of fellow yachties, we were happy to find all was well aboard S/V Sunday.
There was no time to get back into the daily rhythm of life aboard however, as we were booked to fly to the Netherlands in just a few days to visit our daughter and son-in-law and to pick up our camper van for some more land adventures.
Other marina residents were also departing that week to visit family and friends – some to Portugal, others to Australia and Thailand. With so many people leaving it was decided to have a Friday night farewell barbecue.
It was a great evening!
The following day we flew off to the Netherlands and had a very smooth trip with none of the possible hiccups that we have have come to expect in these Covid times.
It was wonderful to see how lush and green the Netherlands was. It had only rained once or twice since the beginning of March in Turkey and on the drive to the airport everywhere looked so parched. There was not a scrap of green grass to be seen – everything was brown and lifeless.
We had brought with us a lovely carpet we had bought earlier in the year in a small carpet shop in Uçağız, a small fishing village in the heart of the landlocked bay of Kekova Roads.
We didn’t have room for it aboard Sunday but we were very happy to find it was the perfect fit for Hannah and Pieter’s hallway!
We had a quiet time the first week or ten days of our stay as we took the Dutch Government’s advice and quarantined at home. However, we went for lovely walks every day and had the occasional lunch at a cafe (outside!) with Hannah and Pieter.
We so enjoyed seeing the last of the late autumn leaves in the gardens and woods nearby to their home.
The second weekend after our arrival we had an extra special visit from my sister Sarah and her husband Martin. Due to all the Covid restrictions, the last time we had seen them was just before Christmas 2020 and then it was only for a brief lunch in their garden (fortunately it was a relatively mild day!)
It was so exciting to welcome them as they came off the Eurostar train from London to Amsterdam.
On the Saturday we all went for a tramp and ended up at the windmill cafe in nearby Nootdorp.
Very fortunately for us the windmill was not only working but also open for tours. We were able to go up into the miller’s loft (two at a time) and be shown round the various working parts and have a demonstration on exactly how the sails worked – listening all the whike to the delightful clack of them going round and round.
We also paid a visit to the local farm shop and purchased some lovely fresh produce for dinner that night.
The following day we all went to the local garden centre which according to Sarah and Martin was bigger than any they had visited in England!
It has become an annual ritual to go and see the Centre’s wonderful Christmas displays and decorations and stake out which Christmas tree looks the best, and buy Christmas plants, fairy lights and other festive goodies.
The other part of the ritual is to have afternoon tea in the garden centre cafe where they serve (among many other lovely things) Dutch apple pie with lashings of slagroom (whipped cream)!
We also took the bus into beautiful Delft – the canal-ringed Medieval town just 15 minutes cycle ride from Hannah and Pieter’s place.
It is always lovely to walk around this gorgeous place with its massive market square, the graceful Renaissance- style 17th Century City Hall , the Oude Kerk (old Church) and the Nieuwe Kerk (new Church) which was actually completed in 1496!)
Best of all, it’s just wonderful to wander alongside the canals, crossing them when the fancy takes you and discovering new alleys and path ways along the way.
All too soon it was time to farewell Sarah and Martin as they joined the Eurostar to head back to London. It had been a lovely weekend but like all good things, it went far too quickly!