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Stewart's Blog

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Holiday to the Netherlands

Car with flowers for the Bloemencorso
Last week we went on holiday to the Netherlands.
It started with a drive to Harwich and a stop at a Welcome Break Service Station at “Birchanger Green”, ironically it was here whilst still in the UK that we had the only language problem. How embarrassing that when in the Netherlands the Dutch all spoke better English than the two people that served us at the service station. My wife is pregnant and so asked for her eggs cooked so that the yolk was hard, but this appeared to be something that the “chef” was unable to deal with, and when trying to pay for the breakfasts before they went cold the server had to call someone else over to help. Thankfully the rest of the holiday went much better.
We travelled on the Stena Hi-speed ferry service which was pleasant, and then drove to Zandvoort to Center Parcs.
Whilst I have few direct complaints about Center Parcs visitors used to UK Center Parcs may find that it’s not up to the same standards as those in the UK. In the UK Center Parcs offer some good self-catering holidays, in quiet and pleasant surroundings (there are sometimes exceptions although as I got a big discount on my subsequent trip no real complaints). The site we experienced in the Netherlands was more comparable with a Haven site than what I was expecting from Center Parcs. More of a cheap family holiday location, but still it was nice enough.
We went to Amsterdam and travelled by driving to a Park and Ride and then taking the metro / trams in the City. There is a useful site detailing park and ride facilities at: www.naaramsterdam.nl. Whilst the public transport ticket system seamed to be fairly straight forward at first I couldn’t figure out how to work out how many zones were needed for each journey. The maps whilst showing each of the zones didn’t show how far the zones reached. In the end we figured it was easier to get a day ticket and not have to worry about how many zones to travel through, but this was more expensive.
The following day we had a brief visit to Arnhem and the British Airborne Museum. This was very interesting and well worth the trip, but not something that children would find interesting.
We also visited edam, and Alkmaar.
On the way back to the Ferry we visited the floats being prepared for the Flower Pageant (Bloemencorso). Unfortunately the procession was after we had returned to the UK, but it was well worth seeing the floats. We were able to find the floats because of a small reference on the Keukenhof website FAQ’s. Where it mentioned that they would be available for public viewing at: Sassenheim, Harry de Leeuw, Rijksstraatweg 52. It cost only 4euros each, much less than visiting Keukenhof itself. Unfortunately the link to the Bloemencorso is broken so I can’t point you in the direction of more information.
All in all a well worthwhile trip.

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