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Madeira

Other particularly "Dutch" scenes were the old swing bridge at the thirteenth century border town of

Sas Van Gent.

 

It was the kind of relaxed holiday that we did not want to end - like the The Flying Dutchman,

we could have gone on and on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FACT FILE:

Farm Camping: Camping Klein Brabant 41.

 

P & O Ferries sailing each evening from Hull to Zebrugge  

http://www.ponsf.com/default.asp                        

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Report by Allan Rogers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cruising and caravanning have something in common.

 

You can wake each day to a window with a different view and there is no packing and unpacking, your wardrobe travels with you.

So too, can your favourite books, toys and a lot of the comforts of home.

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The next morning when we drove out, we were at Zebrugger in Belgium.

Our decision made we turned left and within an hour we had driven into Holland

and were soaking up the atmosphere of its most easily accessible province, Zeeuws Vlaanderen.

 

This polder landscape had vast stretches of dikes with willow trees waving in the breeze.

The little towns could be spotted from a distance by their church steeples and the odd token windmill.

The main road was certainly busy, but pulling into a petrol service station we bought a map that

detailed the network of little roads that led off the highway into the countryside.

 

We followed red and white signs through lesser roads and beyond the town of Oostburg,

at Klein Brabant 41, found the farm where the Noë family welcomed on to a mini campsite

that lay between fields of wheat and cherry trees.

We had a couple of other caravans for company a tent and half a dozen tame black rabbits.

These hopped about the field close to us busily nibbling the grass and seemed happy to share a

ny spare lettuce from our salad.

 

Other animals nearby included some brown ponies, chickens, ducks, Canada geese and

an aviary full of colourful budgies and canaries.

From an adjacent field came the sound of laughter as children,

who had arrived on a convoy of bikes, played on the swings and trampoline

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It was warm and we had our meal in the shade of a chestnut tree listening to a veritable orchestra of song birds

including one that  had mastered a tuneful version of the Morse code.

In the evening we walked along the little road between columns of trees .

The only traffic was a couple of cyclists and a farmer driving a pony and trap with a dog running alongside

It was utterly peaceful with the only sound being the rustle of the leaves in the shimmering birch trees.

 

Later we spread the map out on the table, had our coffee and cognac and as the sun set red behind the

cornfield agreed that we had found the perfect place from which to explore the villages of South East Holland.

We were close to the Belgium border (where the style of houses change quite dramatically) so the medieval cities

of Bruges and Gent, just 18 and 25 miles away could be easily reached,

 

The next day, with the car liberated from the caravan we set about exploring the area.

The little towns were all more or less within 30 to 40 minutes driving time

so it was all very convenient. The biggest was the port of Terneuzen where you can

find a statue of the "The Flying Duthman's" ship.

Apparently it was his home port and you could easily imagine his vessel as part of

the ceasless flow of shipping. It's a place where the traffic lights stop you at bridges

to let massive ships sail up the canal. Some 70, 000 a year pass through the sea locks.

Most afternoons we lay on the beach just 15 minutes from the farm .

The great sands stretched for some 11 kilometres and were backed by a massive sand dune with a cycle path on top.

The beaches are very popular and in high season and, to help children find just where they left mun and dad the areas are marked with colurful symbols on bright yellow poles.

 

Either by accident or desigh the 'Teddy Bear' is next to the 'bare' beach!

The beach of Oostburg was the first in Zealand to set aside an area for nude bathing. It is located between beach posts 21 and 22.

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.There are beach cafes where you can sit and watch the yachts with their colourful spinnakers, see the fishing boats sailing by, or marvel at the size of the load on the decks of the massive container ships that head out to sea.

 

We found plenty of space and the swimming was great.

 

As on every holiday it pays to keep an eye open for local events and a poster in the local supermarket (wines and beers are so much cheaper than back home) lead us to a fete at the seaside town of Hoofplaat.

Brassbands played and the streets were were decorated with paper flowers, so too were boats and even a most unseasonal Christmas tree. If the Dutch are celebrating anything at all they certainly let everyone know about it.

 

Everything from birthdays and wedding anniversaries to passing school exams will result prompt a display of some sort.

 

Perhaps one of the most endearing is for the arrival of a new baby, like the stork sign that we found welcoming Michael into the world. It was on the grass verge next to a small farm that had camping spaces.

Spotting things like this is one of the benifits of getting off the main highways.

Where ever possible we travelled between the towns using small country roads. Many were lined with willow trees or ran along the top of polders that divided the fields.

 

In this rural area many towns preseved and gave pride of

place to a windmill there were particularly photogenic ones

at Groede and Ijzendijke.

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DUTCH FARM CAMPING

Being new to towing a caravan we opted to travel a fairly short distance for our camping adventure abroad and argued the merits of France or Holland all the way to the port.

 

It be came clear that we were going to arrive far too early at the Hull ferry terminal so we pulled off the motorway atthe viewpoint by the Humber bridge. The strawberry and cream picnic, that we enjoyed there, underlined the advantage of having a fridge in the caravan.

 

The disadvantages included driving with a restricted rear view and also being overtaken

by big trucks that induced a decided sway with the caravan being drawn towards them.

 

 

At Hull docks we followed a line of about five other caravans and drove out

of the brilliant sunshine and up the ramp on to the P&O ferry for Zebrugge.

 

Our eyes adjusted to the darkness and it was all so simple as we were marshalled

expertly to a stop by a door to the decks above.

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