Road trip to The Netherlands and Germany!
As a seasoned traveller / event organiser, this half term I decided to do something different with the boys (age 5 and nearly 2) so we headed off to the continent for 5 days of adventure and discovery…
We took the crossing from Dover to Dunkirk (2 hours and a soft-play area on the boat to keep the cherubs entertained) which was a winner due to being slightly further up the coast and therefore nearer to The Netherlands.
First stop was The Hague in The Netherlands. I had never been to The Hague and it far exceeded my expectations. We spent a couple of days with friends who live in the centre in a typically Dutch apartment and everything was in cycling distance: the beach (beautiful, vast, golden sand, think picture-postcard) and the city centre for the shops and restaurants. The Hague, like all of the Netherlands, is a cyclist’s paradise – everyone cycles everywhere and there are bikes galore. I did actually borrow a Dutch bike and was particularly concerned initially as there were no apparent breaks, although I soon discovered that the way to stop or slow down was to pedal backwards….It took some getting used to although I was much improved after a couple of glasses of cava…
As far as activities for the boys in The Netherlands, we visited a super village, Zaanse Schans – full of working windmills and even a clog factory!
Second stop was Paderborn in Germany, a “home from home” for the British Army. Paderborn is a small, historic city with modern shops and a great place to try German food (especially the sausages!). There is also beautiful countryside surrounding it – lakes you can swim in the summer and skate on in the winter. There are lots of stunning pine forests too and we were lucky enough to stay with friends who had horses so the boys were able to have some real hands-on experience with grooming and riding.
The final day was our drive home and it was particularly exciting to manage 5 countries in one day: Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, France & UK. I would thoroughly recommend a road trip to the Continent and can’t wait to plan another one – so watch this space!
Helen Jenkins, Events Coordinator