Kiri and


Jousting and windmills

May 1st, 2014 (by Steve)

Maybe it was the throngs of motorhomes and caravans on the roads? Maybe it was the fact that we were the 8th motorhome at a stop that clearly said “max 5” (with a lovely silhouette of a motorhome)? Maybe it was just something in the air? As we crossed into the Netherlands, the realisation slowly dawned on us that we’re no longer motorhoming out of season. No longer will we be able to rock up at an aire at an hour of our choosing and be able to guarantee a space overnight. This is motorhoming on a different level.


If we’d been the 6th (or maybe even the 7th) motorhome at the first aire we stopped at in the Netherlands, we may have risked it, but as the 8th, we would have no excuse. Despite the general laid back atmosphere in this country, wild camping is prohibited, leaving a choice of one of many campsites, or one of the relatively rare free aires (ooh, that’s quite a lovely phrase to say out loud!)… which are (unsurprisingly) very popular. We therefore moved on to spend our first night in the Netherlands at a free car park in Middelburg, where there were loads of Dutch flags and orange ribbons. Either they’re a very patriotic people, or… ah yes, it was King’s Day, meaning country-wide celebrations involving lots of orange and… jousting!


I know we shouldn’t be nervous about going to a new church, but we’re both naturally introverted, so the trepidation is probably about conversations we might have. As it was, aside from Kiri having a brief chat to a lady in the toilet before the service, we had no conversations with anyone in the packed Dutch Reformed church in Middelburg. Despite the language barrier, we roughly followed the service; we had our own bibles with us, so we could read the relevant passages. However, one part of the service was a little baffling; just before the main talk, everyone reached into their bags, got out a peppermint and ate it. Even the preacher did. Cursory internet searches suggest that this is may be something to do with uniting in an act and having something to focus the mind. If anyone knows more, I’d love to know. It got me thinking though about whether there might be anything that we do in church that might seem odd to a visitor; again, if anyone has any suggestions, I’d love to know!

Following the service, we moved up the coast to our first campsite of the second loop. We’d planned to avoid campsites where possible on this loop, but we had very few options with regards to filling up with fresh water and our toilet was dangerously full (too much information?). So, we decided to treat ourselves to one night at a campsite in Zeeland, taking full advantage of the washing machines, but more importantly the showers! Washing in a bucket seems like work, whereas a shower is something to be enjoyed. Mmmm. Well worth the money!

Kinder Dijk, near Rotterdam, was suggested to us as a must-see in the Netherlands; a cluster of windmills along a canal. With the car park looking decidedly full (and expensive at 7.50 Euros for a motorhome), we realised we could park on the road in the town as Bertha is less than 6m long and 2.4m wide. It would be an understatement to say that it challenged my parallel parking skills immensely; the sun’s heat and Bertha’s lack of power steering making it even harder. But it was worth it; the windmills are a pretty stunning sight. We’d hoped to do a time lapse of them spinning, but sadly, despite there being enough wind, none of the sails were turning. After a pleasant hour or so, we moved on, being passed by a couple of coachloads of American tourists as we left.


It’s due to your input and suggestions that we ended up going to Kinder Dijk and it was well worth it, so thank you. Next up, another suggestion; Hoge Veluwe national park… but that’s another story!

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Jousting and windmills

2 Responses

On the peppermint front, it used to be the case that eating sweets in church was frowned upon. I well remember, in the early 60’s, being at a service where my Dad placed a Polo in his hankie then pretended to blow his nose so that he could get the Polo into his mouth. Perhaps the congregation were just being open about mint-eating in church.

As for the windmills, they won’t turn until you cover the wooden lattice blades with canvas sails. The wind just goes through the rather large holes in the lattice, else …

I thought that too about the mints… it just seemed interesting that it was a simultaneous thing for everyone.

And the windmills… that makes a lot of sense; a bit like a ship not moving until you’ve hoisted the sails. It would have been nice if they’d got the sails up, but hey, it was still pretty stunning.

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