Volendam, Netherlands

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Dutch Masters & their ships

Well, we were always going to have days like these…

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Vollenhoven Clog & Cheese – Thank You 🙂

We are sitting in the Simonhoeve Cheese & Clog restaurant at lunchtime. Niki has an interview with an international school, and talk about bad timing! She was up last night with nausea and cramps and headache, and has woken this morning even worse. Yesterday, doing some research in preparation, she had a number of websites open in the background over a 4 hour period. Thinking we were fine with data – (we still had 4 gigs left the day before), Niki did a quick check and … found we had used 9.6 gigs out of 10 gigs.. Quick run to the restaurant and the very helpful folks have given us use of WiFi – let’s see how that holds up. So poor Niks – feeling grim, interview pressure, noisy restaurant …

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Windmill, 1660

We are just outside the lovely town of Volendam. Took a walk in yesterday past a beautiful old windmill (origin 1680) and Niki had lunch overlooking the harbour, with very stylistic yachts coming past – hmmm, very Old Dutch Masters kind of scene.

 

Coincidentally, we are just around the corner from the town of Hoorn, which may have a family connection. My friend Lloyd, who knows everything about everything, and is never wrong (seriously), has gotten into genealogy. He points out that the South African Swart family originated from this area, with Johannes Swart arriving in the Cape in 1685, working as a ‘sieketrooster’, a doctor of sorts, before buying a farm in Stellenbosch. He was followed in 1692 by his wife and 3 children, and generations later, here we are. This ties in very well with an oral record I heard from my oupa as a young child. How things come around.

The Netherlands has a huge camper community, witnessed by the 1000’s of vans and caravans on the road during the holidays. Consequently, we have been very surprised at the lack of campervan facilities through the country, possibly as a result of the emphasis on campgrounds. Our current overnight stop is a rather rare occurrence – free parking at a fromagerie. Dumping stations have been seldom to absent – yesterday we paid a fee to use a campsite dump facility, but that looks also to be an exception. With the weather closing in again this might just be the incentive needed to continue heading south (well, west really) and into France.

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Why I don’t have a dog …

On the road today we met an Australian couple from Perth, on their last day in Europe before returning to the UK (not Europe) to sell their van and return home after 3 ½ years on the road. Lined up at a dumping station is not the best opportunity for sharing detailed experiences (of traveling, not dumping), and they just raved about the time they have had. Special glowing memories of Morocco … hmmm!

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Niki’s photo, taken from coffee stop in Volendam – WOW!

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