Friday, April 26, 2013

Town walls and tulips

We've just got back from a trip away to the Netherlands.  Dave had business meetings out there and for once I went with him, as a colleague offered to put us both up for a few nights.

We had a smashing time.  The colleague's apartment is in Brielle, a small town on the coast just south of Rotterdam.  The surroundings are a little lunar and industrial - mile after mile of refineries and docks - but the town itself is old, pretty, and fascinating.  It's mostly built inside an old 'star fort', with high town walls and a network of moats and canals, and many of the buildings date back to the 15th century or even earlier.  There's a colossal church, an arsenal, a windmill (well, this is the Netherlands) and lots of very pretty houses, shops and restaurants.  The picture above shows the main square, with The Hooftwacht restaurant where we had a wonderful meal, and made friends with the local cat, one night.

I had great fun poking about while Dave was at work, and then on Tuesday came a real treat, as another colleague's wife was also visiting and also kicking around on her own.  The two of us jumped in a car and drove over to the world-famous gardens at Keukenhof, and boy, was it worth the effort.  On the way we passed some of the famous tulip fields, where vast swathes of countryside are lit up in improbable shades of pink, yellow and blue as the bulbs come into flower.  And the gardens themselves are magnificent, with acres of bulbs, woodland, water features, and pavilions stuffed with what looks like every known variety of tulip in the world.  We spent a couple of hours wandering around on a lovely sunny afternoon, treated ourselves to coffee and cake and even sat outside to eat it. 

I took simply heaps of photos at the gardens (some of which even came out) and a few more around the streets of Brielle.  I'll try to post a few of the best on here in the next few days, so watch this space.

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