How fortunate to have 10 days in the Netherlands to simply stay and play. A friend lent me an apartment in Naarden, so handy to transport and to beautiful places. Even the walk to the Naarden-Bussum train station was a joy, I watched a mother duck grow her tiny ducklings into confident ducklets, every day one of them a bit braver, a bit more likely to go further from mother before she called them all back into line behind her. The spring blossoms thickened on the trees, fragrantly carpeting the path below.
I arrived from Harwich on the Stena Ferry, into the Hook of Holland, and easily navigated my way by train to Utrecht via Rotterdam. Great public transport, but you certainly pay for it as a tourist, no special deals outside of Amsterdam. But clean and fast with easy-to-understand plans on the station made up for the fares. If only the authorities would add ticket payment by currency notes or by Visa card at the stations that have ticket machine only, (no station staff), the coin only option is difficult for tourists when shop assistants are instructed to only give necessary coin for change after purchases. Not many tourists walk around with 20 euro of coin, and some fares are that much and more.
Beautiful tulips, gardens, a castle and a CoBrA art installation at Kerkenhof; Fabulous canals in Utrecht, Delft, Amsterdam and the countryside; Dinner in Amsterdam at a quirky little upstairs Artists restaurant, followed by desert at the Americain across the road; Watching the mounted Amsterdam police control UEFA football fans; Exploring small villages on the way to Oudewater to be tested as a possible witch; Sailing on the waterways around Grou; Having cinema experience at the delightful Filmhuis-Bussum where you can relax with your red wine and cashews while watching a classic 1940 film like The Grapes of Wrath; Seeing a boat sail OVER the motorway via an elevated aquaduct; walking by a reposing William of Orange in the Nieuwkerk in Delft; Being immersed in Miffy at the Dick Bruna Museum in Utrecht; – it was action packed time. And always great coffee and cake to warm up in the unseasonally cold and sometimes rainy weather. Thank goodness for goretex!