Ruby the campervan is parked up near to Lisse, Holland after surviving her first (of many, we hope!) cross channel crossings. This time we opted for the ferry crossing from Harwich, Essex rather than our usual method, the Channel Tunnel. The main reason is that we are cramming a little weekend away utilising bank holiday Monday and the fact that we had no work Friday. We didn’t finish work until 7pm Thursday though, so the 11pm overnight Stena Line sailing from Harwich, a mere hours drive from us, was appealing. We were also able to use our Tesco Clubcard vouchers to soften the blow budget wise. My main concern was Jazz the dog, he’s a bit of an anxious thing and I wasn’t sure if he’d be ok with the crossing. We booked him out an on board kennel and learned that there are cameras linked to your cabin so you can keep an eye on them.
So worked finished and by 8:30pm we were pulling into Harwich port, after a smooth check in and a short wait boarding commenced. First stop was the doggie kennels, Jazz got checked in and howled as predicted, we found our cabin and cued the doggie cameras, he was still howling 😞 We both had a quick shower each, which by the way was a fantastic power shower! cracked a beer, gin for me, and went and had a little explore. We couldn’t resist a pitcher of Heineken on the outside deck, before returning to our room for a cheese board picnic. Jazz was still barking by the looks of things. I did my best not to feel like a bad dog parent and we turned the channel and watched question time. A full on day of teaching soon caught up with me though and I’d hit the sack before we even left Harwich, the next thing I know and it was an alarm through the tannoy to say we would be arriving in an hour, and that breakfast was being served. Time for a shower, quick coffee and picking up Jazz, who was in a big grump but had survived the crossing, and before we knew it we were back in Ruby and rolling off into Holland at Eight o clock prompt!
Our first stop was Lisse, a town famous for being home to Keunkenhof, the world famous spring gardens. Before we arrived at our campsite, Camping Van de Eden, we had an appointment with the local vets for Jazz’s “return to England”Passport stamp/tablet. Colin the copilot did a great job guiding us out of the port area and on to Lisse, depositing us directly outside the vets, half an hour early. We had a quick croissant, before going to see if the vet could see us a little early. He did, and best of all, only charged us €6.50! That has to be the record cheapest vets bill we’ve ever had!
We arrived at the campsite at the early time of 10:00 but luckily the lady was happy for us to pitch up. So a grand total of 10 hours after boarding our ferry, 7 of which I was asleep for, or 13 hours after finishing work, we had arrived and were set up, having a cuppa tea. Perfect.
Saturday dawned sunny but a bit fresh. We were up for 08:00, and enjoyed a bacon and egg roll with fresh bread off the campsite lady. Yum. We are right next to a dairy farm which produce their own cheese so naturally we popped into their farm shop to have a taste and buy. Sadly they (as well as the campsite) don’t take MasterCard and Euro cash is therefore rashioned so we only were able to buy a smallish chunk of their extra mature which is delicous.
We unloaded our bikes and set off on a 5km cycle to the Keukenhof Gardens. Cycling over here is a joy even if it took a bit of getting used to with the numbering of routes. It was an easy cycle and we arrived about 10am. Already it was looking busy but getting in was a doddle, I’d ordered tickets online and we literally queue jumped and walked straight in. I’d highly recommend this rather than trying to buy tickets on the day. You get a month to use the ticket from purchase day.
You get a free map of the park and it was a real shock how large it was. We spent almost 5 hours wandering round and admiring the thousands of different varieties of not only tulips but also hyacinths and many other spring bulbs. The smell was heavenly. We paused only briefly for a coffee and stooplewaffel (Danish Waffle) which was delicious, so much so we bought a pack for Ruby’s afternoon tea, and a beer to accompany our pack lunch. It became extremely busy, unsurprisingly, seeing as its the world’s best spring gardens and by almost 3pm we had had our fill.
We took a leisurely cycle back along the canal and past more gorgeous fields of colour before reaching Ruby, who smelt amazing as I’d left a joint of ham in the slow cooker. Dinner sorted it was time to chill and reflect on our lovely couple of days.
Time to move to Haarlem tomorrow
Until next time