Holland: May 19 1969

Awoke (ha-ha) to a wet windy world and felt very depressed.

Grey skies, biting winds , driving rain. Tent still flapping and gusts of wind made everything shake – one spectacular one knocked over the small Gaz and nearly ready percolator full of coffee, Alas! That decided it – we would move in-land, the coast no place in such weather, sitting on the beach etc. being impossible. Dismantling the tent a terrible job, so much wind and rain made it very difficult. Children sat in car and played, quite good really while we wrestled with guy ropes etc.  with frozen fingers. The folding of the tent worst of the lot – just bundled it in eventually, car not very well packed this time. Me submerged by pillows, bags, football etc. , children almost invisible. Staggered off to Bruges and civilisation.

Got there fairly easily and parked near cafe we liked when there before. Emerged looking like a bunch of refugees – children had pyjama trousers on beneath their clothes – all unwashed and David unshaven too. Had a very welcome hot drink and piece of strawberry tart each, then had a quick shop, before setting of again. Took motorway to Brussels – somewhat variable road, and rain pouring, but made good time. Edge of Brussels very interesting – World fairground with Atomium etc. lots of parks too, and attractive, fairly old terraced houses. Children busy counting trams. Then out to Namur, quite hilly country with masses of greenhouses growing grapes, roadside stalls of “raisins”. Children sleeping so pressed on. Eventually lunching at Overisje, directed to a cafe by various ladies. Elderly lady produced very satisfying meal of soup, steak and pommes frites and lettuce,then apple tart. All ate heartily, Gareth had a brisk crawl, Andrew practised some French phrases e.g. merci madame.

Then picked up the motorway on to Namur and along the Meuse to Dinant, a lovely route and greatly by some sunshine. Dinant very familiar, but frustrating time trying to find the camp site at Anseremin. Had to ask the way in end, but found it after this, and, hooray got a cabin for the night – a caravan, great thrill for children, great relief for us.

Couldn’t face putting that wet tent up after such a long drive. Caravan is nice, with a tent fastened on the side, where cooking is done and cases etc. stored. 200fr for a night and worth every penny! The site is very pretty, in a loop of the River Lesse, steep dolomitic limestone cliffs on one side. Stone farm-house and outbuildings, the H.A. lots of long-stay caravans and tents. Had a delicious supper – seafood, vol-au-vents from Bruges, children had ham. Then gave them a good wash and got them to bed – Gareth yelled determinedly, Andrew fell asleep nearly at once, Sarah awake as long as we were. Heater again marvellous – what would we have done without it, made caravan very snug.

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4 responses to “Holland: May 19 1969

  1. Excellent typing and such fun to read! My own parents took my 3 year old self and baby brother camping all round the South Island of New Zealand that same year. I only wish I could get my hands on a written account of it. It’s probably only been recorded in a series of colour slides, stashed away in a mouldering trunk in Mum & Dad’s basement…

  2. Thanks on behalf of my boy, antipo. My mother’s account makes good reading and it’s great fun for the family to read too. It is a shame when these memories lie mouldering forgotten.

    A project for you would be to digitalise the colour slides… one day… 😀

  3. Some nostalgia here …….

    I used to eat in the restaurants around Overijse (Notre Dame de Bois to the Walloons) several times each week.

    I lived nearby and it had a good choice of restaurants, some of which were open 365/365. It was also just off the Brussels ring road and easy to get to from my office.

    The history is that originally people went by horse and carriage to visit religious relics in the church and needed food. Thus the street of restaurants developed.

    Satellite view : http://maps.google.com/maps?q=Hoeilaart,+Flemish+Brabant,+Flemish+Region,+Belgium&ie=UTF8&hl=en&oi=geospell&cd=1&geocode=FUujBgMd6ydEAA&split=0&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=23.875,57.630033&hq=&hnear=Hoeilaart,+Flemish+Brabant,+Flemish+Region,+Belgium&ll=50.791871,4.486274&spn=0.003567,0.006899&t=k&z=17

    Peter

  4. Thanks for the info, Peter, I love hearing how towns grew and how they developed through history.

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