Friday 19 August 2011

Home from Dutch adventures

The lake on the walkies route
The weather has turned warm and sunny to welcome us back from a few days in the Netherlands. Our cats are in a humph at our 'desertion' despite being spoilt by our neighbour Alexandra, but hopefully they will relent soon.

Pepper: grande dame & boss dog
According to 3 different route planners we should have driven via Paris, then A1 to Lille--notoriously hectic, Gent, Antwerp and Breda to reach our destination in Utrecht. Instead we took a totally different route and ignored their advice. Firstly as getting round Paris can be 'affreux'; and secondly because we knew there were roadworks in Belguim--Gent & Antwerp and in The Netherlands--Breda.  

Loulou: "I'm so pretty"
Our route took us via  Orléans, then  across to Sens and Troyes and then up to Reims. From Reims we cut up to Charleville Mezieres and Sedan. There we popped over the border into Belgium at Boullion and up to Liege and Maastricht and finally on to Utrecht via Eindhoven.

Both there and back the (toll) roads were quiet and the drive serene and stress free--the way driving ought to be. Cruise control virtually all the way. It only got a bit busy on the stretch between Maastricht and Utrecht, but then The Netherlands is a very densly populated country.

Roosje [not a cat!!]
We had an excellent time. We were able to get all the admin bits relating to family matters done with a minimum of fuss. This meant that we were able to meet with various friends and former teaching colleagues to catch up on all the news. We just wish we'd had time to fit a few more visits in--there's never enough time! It was also good to re-visit old stamping grounds and see what had changed and what hadn't as we wrote about in the post on Wassenaar [the one previous to this].

Ida, the relative we were staying with has 3 wire-haired dachshunds: Pepper, Loulou and Roosje, who are as cute a pie as well as lively and mischievious.
Pepper is a sprightly senior citizen aged 12 and top dog. Loulou is a beautiful golden colour and hyper-active and Roosje, the youngest of the bunch; a sweetie who rolls over for tummy scritches at the slightest glimpse of a man! 

On the last evening of our visit there was time for the 'ladies' to take Niall for a walk round the park with canals and a lake which is near to Ida's house.


Craig said...

This guys are so cute! Glad that the drive was so easy and stress free - it makes all the difference!

Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Hello Niall and Antoinette:
It is so much more pleasant to travel on non-motorway roads away from the madding crowds, certainly when one has long distances to contend with.

We have never been to Utrecht and hope that you will have some photographs and impressions to share about your visit.

The dogs are adorable and do have a look of mischief about them. We suspect that they can get away with murder. And, how lovely to have had time to catch up with friends and colleagues. It all sounds to have been the perfect 'getaway'!!

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Craig - butter wouldn't melt... :-)
Our good luck that so few people choose not to use these new autoroutes and stick to the very busy ones. The one down from Rouen via Alencon, Le Mans [A28] is another one which is really quiet . When they're like that we don't mind paying the toll.

@Jane & Lance - Sadly we didn't have time to visit the [historic] centre of town. Tried to get a photo of the Rietveld house but were foiled. Next time we go up we hope to make an appointment to visit the house and take plenty of photos.
As for the dogs--oh boy do they !! ;-)

Craig said...

Agree about the A28. We used to use it on the drive back to Cognac after staying overnight in Rouen (so Boris didn't have too long a drive as he's not great on long trips). In 2006 we went on the new stretch just after it opened and I kid you not, we saw 3 cars in 100km!

Niall & Antoinette said...

The A19 is new and cuts across from Orléans to Sens 'under' Paris. Other cars were so rare we remarked on them!

Ida said...

next time we will play tourists in Utrecht, we even have a medieval fortress which is a restaurant & pub nowadays....

people who want to see more of my dogs: ;-)

or the Rietveld Schröder House:

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Ida - Good we're looking forward to it!!
Thanks for the link to the Rietveld huis. Would really like to visit it next time :-)

GaynorB said...

Glad you enjoyed your trip.
Welcome home!

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Gaynor - thanks :-)

ladybird said...

Looks like you had a great time. You were so close and yet so far. next time drop in and I'll buy a real Belgian beer ....en een paar echte Belgische frietjes om het plaatje compleet te maken ... :) Martine

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Martine -Daarvoor rijden we om! die frietjes met mayonaise toch hoop ik? ;-)