Wharfedale Group Dutch Delights Week 1st April 2018
This event was the brainchild of Wharfedale member Barrie Simkin, who floated the idea of a Holland trip, or should I say Netherlands, back in 2017. After establishing there was a good level of interest, Barrie then contacted Scenic & Continental and asked them to put a programme together.
The 1stApril 2018 was set as the start date, with the overnight ferry from Hull to Rotterdam, returning on the Thursday night sailing back to from Rotterdam to Hull.
24 members in 12 cars (not all TR's) were the final numbers and we all met up on Sunday afternoon 1stApril at the Waterwheel Tearooms at Howden, on the way to the ferry terminal at Hull. (A place worth a visit for a cuppa in it's own right.)
The meet up at Waterwheel Tearoom Howden
On board at Hull
The 3 night stay in the Netherlands was at the Fletcher Hotel in Loosdrecht, about 1 hour 45 minutes from the Europoort Terminal. We had disembarked by around 8.30am so had plenty of time to kill before having to get to the hotel.
We headed directly East from the ferry for about 40 minutes to Kinderdijk, which is a collection of 19 working Windmills spread out over various creeks & dykes, the original water management plan dating back to the 13thCentury. It is also a Unesco World Heritage Site - and very interesting it was too, with 2 of the Windmills set up as museum visitor attractions and short boats trips available as well. The only downer was the rain, it was raining as we disembarked, and didn't really stop until the early afternoon.
From Kinderdijk the party split up to travel to Loosdrecht and the hotel, the obvious route being via or round Utrecht. Some of us ended up bogged down in Utrecht, trying to find what turned out to be a closed Railway Museum!
We had all received a very comprehensive travel pack from Scenic & Continental, which contained a wealth of information, places to visit, drives etc.
Most of the group had expressed a desire to visit both Amsterdam, and the bulb fields and gardens at Keukenhof.
So Tuesday morning saw various group members heading off for Amsterdam via bus & train. What a great place it was, with loads to do and see - a day just wasn't enough.
Wednesday saw most of the group head for The Keukenhof Gardens. Whilst being excellent, very well planned flower beds and indoor displays, it wasn't quite what it might have been due to the cooler weather. The bulbs were not yet out, another 2 or 3 weeks further on and it would have been truly spectacular. However, what we saw was still very good.
Not the best use of a Mini but...
Others headed for Utrecht, and reported what a gem of a place it was, very similar to Amsterdam, but on a smaller scale, and well worth a visit. The remaining members opted for one of the driving and visitor attractions in the pack, and drove over the Markerwaarddijk Dyke which was a circular route from the hotel taking in Volendam and Zaanse Schans and reported those places well worth a visit.
Some also visited Haarlem, a really pleasant city, maintaining its medieval character, with an enchanting square, and eclectic mix of buildings. The museum at Arnhem was also visited.
On the final day, Thursday, everyone was in agreement it had to be the Louwman Museum (it is closed on Mondays!) and was on the way back to the Ferry as well. Even for those not interested in Cars or Automobilia, you couldn't help but marvel at the displays, the size and diversity of the collection. It was all housed in a purpose built building, very well thought out, with an excellent Café area resembling an old cobbled square with vintage shop fronts and internal displays of all kinds of memorabilia.
Scenic & Continental had done a very good job of putting the thing together, with all the bookings for Ferry & Hotel, and loads of options for places to visit, (but not the Louwman on a Monday….)
On the way back to Europoort some of the group ended up taking the local ferry across the Estuary, here Stan & Jean make a bid to be first off, looks like the Merc has it.
If there was a down side it was the amount of traffic on the motorways, due to the hotel location, which was on a Lake and fairly rural, however to get anywhere invariably involved a motorway or two, which weren't good driving experiences!
We were very well looked after in the hotel, the only down side being it was under going refurbishment and some area weren't available.
Where to next?