Our First Week in Holland - Family Visits, Cycling, Sunshine and Beach Cafes

It was amazing how natural it felt to roll off the ferry and join the left side of the road once again. Just 6 weeks after we'd set sail from the industrial port of Ijmuiden we were back on Dutch soil at Hoek van Holland, just a short drive away from Den Haag and Esther's parents and grandma who we were excited to visit again. With no fixed plans or deadlines we were looking forward to spending some time with the family, particularly as Esther had been concerned about her dad, who'd recently broken his ankle, hopefully some nice weather and plenty of family time.  We realised it would also give us a base from which to see how Esther was feeling and progressing whilst firming up any future travel plans.

With the ferry docking in the early Wednesday evening, we used our first night in Holland to pay a flying visit to Oma (Esther's 98 year old grandma) in Wateringen for a quick cup of tea followed by a trip to Kijkduin to see Esther's mum and Dad as well. Esther's mum had kindly prepared a tasty dinner for us of traditional Dutch pea soup, which was very welcome, as we caught up on events and especially how Esther's dad was feeling having broken his ankle the week before, leaving him on crutches.

The following day we used the morning to try and get our motorhome reorganised. Living in a motorhome is much easier when everything is in it's place, however, after 6 weeks in the UK moving our belongings in and out of different places (in addition to some last minute stocking up of supplies) we'd managed to get ourselves in a bit of a muddle which we wanted to put straight so we could really settle into to motorhome life once more.

However, with the sun shining brightly outside we didn't want to spend the whole day in the van either and as lunchtime ticked round we wandered over to see Esther's mum and dad and join them on a visit to the nearby beach cafes. Since Esther's dad had broken his ankle and with Esther's mum hurting her elbow and neck so being unable to push the wheelchair to the beach, he'd been unable to visit the beach cafes at all on this trip so it was a happy occasion to be able to sit in the sunshine all together enjoying a cup of tea watching the waves lapping on the sand.

Then as evening came around we decided to cycle over for some more time with Oma. We took our favourite cycle ride from Kijkduin to Wateringen through the Madestein park, a green oasis in the otherwise busy Hague and especially lovely in springtime with all of the birds nesting and chicks starting to appear. Almost 12 months earlier as we first set off we'd watched a moorhen pair hatch and start raising their chicks, who we'd christened Mr and Mrs Moorhen, so we were very happy to find a pair nesting in the precise spot (we like to think it's the same pair) and we hoped we might get to see this years chicks as well.

Friday involved more family visits alongside relaxing in the motorhome and taking things generally very easy which was a good thing as Saturday turned into quite a busy day starting with another cycle ride through Madestein park. This time we were cycling with Esther's mum, en route to collect some weekly shopping for Oma at the Boogard, followed by a fun evening with Oma, cooking dinner and playing games into the early evening.

  


Sunday, May 10 was a special day for all of us as it was Mothers day in Holland and to mark the occasion Oma came to Kijkduin so that we could all 5 of us be together and enjoy the beach cafes in the warm sunshine. It did feel like an odd procession to the beach, with both Esther's dad and Oma in wheelchairs as we negotiated the dune paths on route to the Flamengos cafe, but it was well worth the trip as the setting was so idyllic. Afterwards we made our way back into the park to enjoy sitting out in the garden followed by a nice meal together, a really special afternoon.


Monday saw us travelling to Kijkduin for final cafe visit with Esther's parents who were preparing to return to the UK on Wednesday, before spending the afternoon again seeing Oma. Spring was certainly in the air and chicks were starting to appear, including a beautiful pair of swans we spotted, with around 7 cygnets hitching a ride on one of their backs.


Tuesday followed a similar pattern, with family time during the day as we divided our time between Esther's parents and Oma and before we knew it Wednesday was upon us. With plans to set off from Holland ourselves shortly after Esther's parents left we had been squeezing in as much family time as we could and also wanted to use this potentially final morning to pay our first visit to the weekly organic market in the Hague which we had enjoyed so many times on previous visits. Cycling in and out of the Hague to stock up on greens and also some tasty treats for Esther's mum and dad for their return sailing we arrived back just in time for Esther to take one final stroll to the beach with her mum before it was time to say goodbye.


Looking back on our first week in Holland it's hard to believe that a week went by so quickly. The days really had been a blur of memorable family time and sunny cycles through the Hague. With plans to leave ourselves shortly it has also been a great opportunity to take our own pause before hitting the open road once more.




 



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Adventures In Life, Love, Health, Travel... & Puppies!: Our First Week in Holland - Family Visits, Cycling, Sunshine and Beach Cafes
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Adventures In Life, Love, Health, Travel... & Puppies!
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