After 6 years of visiting Europe with our caravan we decided it was time to visit Holland. Departing the UK in April we thought it was too early to visit as the weather would not be unlike that of the UK, so decided on the way home at the end of June would be better.
Having met many Dutch caravanners on previous trips and learning how dedicated they are, as a Nation, to Caravanning and Camping learning a bit about their Country from these very friendly people who incidently, virtually all speak English, we felt was a must to visit.
First of all I contacted one of the couples we be-friended, on a site near to Passau in Germany, last year 2009. They live in the central part of Holland and have a very nice Motor Home. I asked if they knew of a good ACSI near to Arnhem, of A Bridge to Far, fame during the second world war. An answer came back that they were not sure what the ACSI sites were like but would visit them one weekend and give us an opinion of them. Some weeks later the answer came back 2 were not to their taste and the 3rd was OK but very large. Then they said they stopped at another site, not ACSI, but they gave it 12/10 which in their eyes was excellent. Details were sent by email so we looked at the website and decided to book 3/4 nights at the end of June. Our Friends decided to book the same weekend and join us. We had a lovely few days with them, they showed us the area and also took us to Delft for the day. We were not allowed to use our car which was a nice change for John to be a passenger for a change.
The site was excellent, well maintained situated on one of the lovliest Estates owned by Gelderland Trust for Natural Beauty on the outskirts of Arnhem in the east of the Netherlands, Oosterbeek where the Paratrooper Museum is situated (more details of these further on.) 5 km away. The name of the site is Camping Warnsborn, Bakenbergseweg 257, 6816 PB Arnhem, Holland. website: http://www.campingwarnsborn.nl Bread available daily at the shop except Sundays. WiFi 11 euro's for 3 days, more or less can be purchased. 16 euro's a night for 2 adults, 1 car and 1 caravan. Electricity on pitch but only 4 amps, so it did not take me long to blow the fuse after being use to 10 and 16 amp throughout the holiday. Extra was 60 cents per token for Showers these being excellent but mixed sex, no problems with that, Toilets excellent but seperate block for Male and Female.
Pitches situated in lots of different areas we were in a hedged area of 7 outfits lengthways backing onto a hedge, grassed with hedge yards in front of us. This hedge gave sufficient shade to be able to sit with table and chairs and park the car in. The weather was so hot and sunny at 32 and 33 degrees.
The owners Felix and Margo were very friendly and helpful and must be congratulated for such a well kept and friendly campsite.
We went to this lovley City for the day it took about 1and 3/4 hours by car on very good highway with excellent surface. We loved the City with its old buildings and waterways, on which we took a trip around the old town. Parking very easy in brand new carpark almost in the center. Was facinated by the bridge we walked over that was drawn up minutes later to let a luxury boat pass through. First stop as it was 11 am for us is of course Coffee and Cake at one of the outside cafe's in the main square. Then to the Boat and walk around and then a walk to the Royal Delft Pottery, where we had an excellent lunch in the Cafe. After a tour of the factory we purchased a momento (we found the items very expensive) and then a walk back to the car and home to the Van.
This the a lovely place to visit just 9 km from the Campsite by car. We did a walk all around the outside of the moat before venturing into the Castle to have Lunch in the Cafe. This was very good and John and I tried the local dish of Rissoles on Bread and Butter they were quite nice and I glad we tried them. The history of this Castle is quite remarkable and to see this go to their website http://www.castles.nl/
We visited this area on our way to the Kasteel Doorwerth it was very interesting and I am sure we would never have found it if it had not been for our Dutch friends who had been there before.
The Photo's above are of the The Sluise and Fish Ladder Driel near to Hevedrop and the Castle Doorwerth not too far from Arnhem. We parked the car and walked over the opening bridge to the Sluise and Ladder which made a very nice stroll in the Dutch countryside.
This Museum is a must to visit it you are interested in World War 11. We really found it very, very interesting and it is very well put to-gether. In the cellar is the living battle which when walking through you feel you are really there it is a real experience. To learn more of this Museum go to their website www.airbournemuseum.org you won't be dissappointed with the content.
The two Bridges made famous during the war was one of the reasons we wanted to visit this area as you hear so much of them especially in the film "A Bridge too Far". Nijmegen bridge is the origal from that era but the Arnhem bridge was destroyed in the war and was re-built and is now named the John Frost Bridge after the man Lt. Col John Dutton Frost ( 1912-1993) who was commander of the 1st Airbourne Division of British Forces that reached and defended the bridge during the Battle of Arnhem in September 1944. He became Maj-General after the war. The Actual film was filmed at Deventer in Holland due to the old part of Arnhem where the bridge stood were obliterated in the battle and Deventer is very similiar to that old part and the bridge too.
To read more about this Battle go to www.remember44.com which gives a very explicit report of the whole Battle.
I am a great fan of Andre Rieu and in a mad moment in March booked for John and I tickets for his concert in Arnhem on 17th December at the Gelredome. We were so lucky to be able to stay with some of our Dutch Camping friends and meeting up with others over the weekend.
We travelled down to the Channel Tunnel early morning and caught the train just before 6 am. thus arriving Calais 7.30 am and travelled via Belgium to Imst in Gelderland arriving at lunchtime after 2 stops for coffee and lunch.
We spent the first afternoon visiting the local town of Epe a lovely small town with excellent shopping, then on our way back to Emst called into a privatly owned Candle Factory. There were some beautiful candles and of course just had to purchase a couple.
On our second day we, after an excellent breakfast, drove to the town of Soest about 1 hour from Emst to have coffee and Dutch Stollen with some more Dutch Camping friends met in Switzerland in 2010. After that the six of us drove to the Railway Station and caught the train, for Amsterdam, about 45 minutes away. On arrival at the new Grand Central Station we boarded a tram to visit the Van Gough Museum which was so interesting of the story of life of Van Gough and his family with many of his paintings to view.
Not too many photo's of Amsterdam as it was pouring with rain. After we left the Museum we crossed the road and all hell let loose, Police, yellow jackets and cars with darkened windows. Queen Beatrix arriving at the Palace. We then went on to have a bite of lunch then to the Canals and the Boat Harbour for Canal Trip. Having booked this we walked round the old city for a bit visiting the famous Red Light District, what an education that was. A beautiful church surrounded by lanes, housing lots of windows, red lights above with female bodies bodies on display.
After this walked back to the boat and spent an hour cruising the City Canals which was excellent and very pretty by nightlight.
Our friends, from Soest, had booked a table at the Victoria Hotel for the six of us for dinner which was excellent before we caught the train back to Soest, to pick the car up for our journey back to Emst. A lovely day spent with Caravan Holiday Friends, cannot beat it. Thank you for this if you read visit this website, Rob and Helena.
To day we visited the North of Holland to an old town across the Bottom of the Sea and along a large Dyke. The Town was an old fishing town named Enkhuizen and on the way we visited the new town of Lelystad built on the reclaimed land from the Sea, then to have coffee at then we drove under a Lock seperating the Markermeer and Ijsselmeer unusual to see a lock built over the road. We then got to the old gate of the Enkhuizen, parked the car to walk around the canals and streets of this marvellous old town. We then went to the Harbour and had Lunch at the Shipperscafe T Ankerteje. Very old and excellent traditional Dutch food.
Website is http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bronkhorst
The main reason for us visiting Maastricht and this area of Holland which is called Limburg was to visit the Vrjthof the lovely square in the centre of the City we have seen on the TV in Andre Rieu Concerts performed here every July.
We were not to impressed on the outskirts of this city on arrival to the area but having driven just a few miles away to Camping Cauberg, Website:- http://www.campingdecauberg.nl situated on a hill no less on the edge of a village in the countryside we changed our minds. The nearest town is Valkenburg which was a lovely little town with the main street lined with cafes, unfortunately we did not have time to visit it for long, as it was 35 deg C and we needed to get back to the van to try and cool off. We found the grocery supermarket, Albert Heijn, which is a top end chain and largest in the Netherlands with 700 branches nationwide which was excellent.
Maastricht was so different when you got into the city centre and it changed our opinion of it straight away. Tom Tom took us straight to the Square which had a large underground carpark, right in the middle of the old town. No cars in cobble stone streets. Like Valkenburg there were rows of street cafes, this time lining one side of the beautiful square. The shopping streets ran off the square and had an excellent variety of shops to browse in. The centre of this city reminded us very much of Cambridge in the UK.