As I sit on the computer and try to sort the holiday photos into some sort of order (I used two cameras), I am at a loss to figure out what we did on the Tuesday. Having already posted about arriving to Rotterdam it comes to mind that we actually went for the long walk and the pancake house meal on the Tuesday. So we'll just skip to Wednesday. Lucky you!
Wednesday we headed out en masse to Gouda. It was only a 30 minute train ride from Rotterdam and a nice day trip. The upside to travelling with a child in Holland is no matter where we went I only had to pay 3euro return fare for Emily. The downside? Helen, at the grand age of 12, was considered adult fare. WTF?! Enough said.
Gouda had a pretty town centre, with the city hall in the main square surrounded by antique and bric-a-brac stalls. Heaven. I even spotted the obligatory old sewing machine for sale. And, no, I didn't buy it.
Of course Gouda is famous for cheese, and there was an abundance of that in numerous locations. Yes, I did buy cheese.
The next day was another family excursion as we all went and did a river cruise in Rotterdam. Rotterdam suffered a huge amount of damage in the second world war and consequently has a very modern city centre. It reminded me very much of North American city centres in many ways. Seeing it from the river gives you a good sense of the skyline, and of the humongous nature of the container shipping industry there.
Afterwards, my brothers and I went and strolled around to further explore with Helen accompanying us. We loved coming across one of those fountains that squirts up water randomly that you can walk through. Stuart tried to get caught to no avail, but Helen wasn't so lucky. Especially with her Uncle Andrew holding her in there while she laughed, and got wet.
That night we all ate out and, as I do on occasion, I let the girls taste the wine. I don't think they are finding anything to like about it yet.
Friday was the day for Amsterdam. Stuart and I took the kids and gave them a crash course in tacky souvenir shops - which hadn't really been our intention. Unfortunately the same shops that sold the t-shirts and things they were interested in also sold less than desirable items for the discerning child. The kids were not impressed, so we paid for them to go into the Amsterdam Dungeon while Stuart and I walked around some more. That cheered them up to no end.
Despite a less than stellar start, we all enjoyed Amsterdam. There are plenty of beautiful places to see even if you are with heathen children who are not interested in seeing any museums, and we had a most stellar Chinese takeaway lunch. As you know, good food always makes me happy.
Suddenly we only had one full day left. During the week we had an extra person around much of the time, which was my nephew's Dutch friend, Lucas. Lucas's family live not too far from Rotterdam and on Saturday we went out to see them. Before going to their home they took us to see Kinderdijk, which has a large number of traditional, still working windmills.
At the family home we had a wonderful traditional Dutch meal in an old farmhouse perched on a dike down by a small canal. Lucas's brothers have an out building where they are encouraged to practice their love of graffiti without getting in trouble. Imagine the girls' delight when they realised that they could have a go too!
It was a marvellous trip, but we had to come home Sunday as himself was due back into work for the start of the week. The weather was wonderful. Spending time with all my family together was a pleasure. It was a relaxing holiday despite the sightseeing, and reminded us that we have so many places to explore within easy reach.
I took some embroidery with me but never took it out of its pouch. I hung out with my family. I read books. I did sod all. I also didn't read a blog the whole time I was away. I didn't write or reply to emails. I went online briefly each day to pop a couple of photos on Instagram and that was it. I am almost 400 blogposts in arrears, but that doesn't matter. Today I did laundry, and then some more laundry. I will slowly get back up so speed. Then I will go away again.