Saturday 1 October 2011

Holland and a nod to Elizabeth Barrett Browning

How do I love thee, Holland?
Let me count the ways:

I love that you gave Frank a really great hot chocolate experience after a long cycle one day.I love that you let Sarah and James rest and enjoy a mellow week with me and my boys.
I love that you have a mad, mad clock in the centre of Alkmaar that rings , elaborately, every quarter of an hour ( and was just across the square from our flat).
Some nights I found this so amusing, others really not so much!

I love your cycle paths that are bigger than Cornish roads and make cycling such an unadulterated pleasure.
I love your canals and the lovely homes right next to them.
Yes! Real people live in places like this.

I love the soft September sand in my toes and, indeed, everywhere after Frank decided we needed to "romp" on the beach and we both got covered in the stuff rolling around and wrestling for ages (whilst Andrew stood near by and pretended he didn't know the giggling maniacs on the sand in front of him!).

I love how happy you make my family with cycles to the beach through pretty villages and pine forests.
I love the flat you provided for us in Alkmaar, right on the canal and across the road from the cheese market and the beer museum; above a toy shop and next to a chip shop.
You were showing off in this instance, dear Holland.
I love that you gave us space to hang out, in harmony, all five of us.
I love, oh how I love, your bicycles.
So cool, so stylish and so practical.

And I love your cheese. Mature Gouda was the best. Gouda with cumin seeds was fab too. Goats' Gouda was , um, interesting.

This land is often unsung. Just not mentioned but I love its gentle way of life, its adherence to quality in life and not quantity.
The Netherlands are only a few hours from my home. Half an hour drive to the port, an overnight ferry and lo! The Promised Land.

I am already checking out return trips and ferry prices.
This was the best holiday we've had in ages (much better than that soggy week in Devon with all the dead crows and stuff).
And the cheese museum? Mmmmmmmmmmmmm ...


  1. I felt as though I were reading a travelogue. Your holiday sounded absolutely lovely. How wonderful for you all!

  2. Absolutely grand! Thanks for sharing! It looked lovely.

  3. I am so envious..looks wonderful! I want to go there someday!!!

  4. My mother-in-law spent a few weeks there on a bike trip with a group of friends...since I have dreamed of joining her on her next excursion, now I'm thinking it may be a perfect spot for our bike loving family! What fun you guys had...yes, I am a bit jealous, but mostly truly happy to know you were able to get away and have an amazing trip with family and friends. Glad you're back and doing well :)

  5. oh my goodness gracious your holiday looks SOOOO delightful!! thank you so much for sharing your words and pictures with us, now i want to go to there! :D