Thursday, October 11, 2012

Dutch sleepover

Holland 1
Last weekend we all piled in the car, Alfie included, and set off on a road trip. Five hours later and a quick pit stop in Belgium we arrived at our friends' new house in Holland. These friends were our Paris BFFs last year. Pen pals before we moved and mentors once we arrived. They made the transition so much easier for us and the whole family got on so well - even the dogs! We miss them so much now that they have left Paris so we took the first opportunity we could find to go and visit them despite the fact that Keith didn't arrive back from a business trip in Australia until Saturday morning and we would have to be back in time for school on Sunday night! It was a long way to go for a sleepover but we certainly made the most of our 24 hours in Holland.

Holland 3
As soon as we walked through the door our hosts insisted that we had to go for a bike ride. When in Holland...

Holland 2
This was Florence's first ever time on a bike (and my first for a while I must confess!). After a nervous and frankly bemused start she loved it. In her words it was 'wow!'

Side note: Florence's seat was by far the most conventional device we saw for transporting little ones on bikes. There was no end to the ingenious contraptions the Dutch families were using to get their kids around, but the best we saw was an infant car seat attached (presumably securely) to the back of one mother's bike!
This is what we saw on our twenty minute ride from our friends' front door and back:

Holland 4
'Juice and moos' otherwise known as canals and cows.

Holland 5
Clever cows!

Holland 6
Enormous bunnies.

Holland 7
Lots of sheep.

Holland 8
And horses. All living in the prettiest lush green surroundings. The lanes (which are open to cars!) reminded me a lot of my native Jersey and I was so happy to have been persuaded to explore them that way.

Holland 9
The next morning we were up early to fit in another must do Dutch experience. A boat trip along the canals of Leiden.

Holland 10
This unexpected treat was the cause of much excitement for all the girls. Although I grew up a sailor's daughter my children haven't had much exposure to boats yet!

Holland 11
The adults spent the journey planning our next move. There were so many pretty houses to choose from. Perhaps this one?

Holland 12
Or what about a farm on the water's edge?

Holland 13

Holland 14
Everyone had a turn at the tiller.

Holland 15
And after an hour meandering we arrived in Leiden.

Holland 16
Such a pretty town and exactly as I had imagined Holland to look. We moored the boat and ate our picnic. Then stepped ashore for coffee and cake.

Holland 17
Boats and bikes and bridges everywhere.

Holland 18
By the end of our trip we had seen traditional Dutch architecture, spotted a few windmills, ridden a bike and sailed on the canals. We checked a lot of boxes but we still have to go back for the tulips. I can't wait!


  1. Wow! What a fun 24 hours! You certainly packed a lot in. What beautiful photos. Thanks for the taking us on the journey. It was very enjoyable!

  2. I looked at all these beautiful shots and I kept thinking: "I miss Holland. I miss Europe..." I do not know Leiden, but Amsterdam is one of my favorite cities in the world. So, needless to say, I enjoyed the ride with you and the beautiful kids (they could all pass for Dutch children, by the way.) Merci! Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

  3. Looks like such a great trip! I have only made it to Eindhoven so far - must get out!

  4. So delighted to "go along" on your adventure! LOVE LOVE LOVE Holland and yes, you MUST do the tulips! That was definitely one of my favorite holidays. Regards to all the Berry Bunch from the Yu Crew in Florida.

  5. beautiful pics! it was so lovely meeting you and florence today! i hope we can do it again soon! xo

  6. What a nice way to spend the weekend!

  7. Gorgeous, and I'm jealous as we've never made it up there. (Not sure we will now). I think the clever cow is my favourite. I wonder how many of them end up in the drink until they figure it out?

  8. Wonderful pictures! I just love the Dutch architecture; my last visit was seven years ago and it's time for another one!

    1. Glad to be able to take you back down memory lane - and canal! Thanks for stopping by.

  9. As always, your photographs are perfect. How nice that you can pile in the car and be in another country in just a few hours! Seeing old friends in a new place. How fun!

    My fav, besides the photos of the kiddos, has to be the cow walking the balance beam across the canal! :)
    Bon weekend,

  10. This makes me want to go to Holland!
    ps nice to meet you yesterday :)

  11. Gosh you certainly packed a ton of stuff into the weekend, including the journey and with 4 young children! *impressed*

    I love the piccies, your friends live in a beautiful spot.

    It was great to meet you last Saturday - Holland one weekend, Montpellier the next, where are you going this weekend? :)

  12. Just coming over from Kirsty's blog - and just had to see whether you went to Leiden, where we used to live, and yes you did. Great pictures!


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