This past weekend was gorgeous weather here in The Netherlands! Clear blue sky, temps in the 70’s and holiday weekend.
The 4th of May is always the Dutch National Remembrance Day (Memorial Day). At 8 pm the entire country goes silent for two minutes in memory for all war veteran’s, victims and survivors. Not a day of BBQ and parties, a day to remember the toll war has on a population. Each year it brings tears to my veteran eyes and a lump to my throat as I remember all the horror I have seen in the war zones I have participated in as a soldier. The cost is high and the Dutch have a very respective way of remembering that cost each year on 4 May.
The 5th of May is Liberation Day. That is when people break out the BBQ, and party. First celebrated at the end of WWII as the Allied troops liberated The Netherlands, still remembered each year by a day filled with festive concerts and families enjoying their freedom from war with relatives and friends.
The wonderful clear sunny skies this past weekend helped bring all the remembrances and celebrations together for outdoor activities, along with maybe a few sunburns.
We headed out on our first adventure of the season. To our new seasonal camping location in South Holland. Just a week home from our trip to Minnesota we rushed to get equipment ready all week. There was a new deck to make for my kayak to hold my camera. The camper had to be gotten out of the winter storage location.
The camper then had to be cleaned, restocked, and loaded. A couple of trips to the hardware store to get last minute items. Then early Friday we headed on the road towards South Holland and the small seasonal camping site located in the small town of Oud-Alblas.
This is the third season we have owned our 1988 Kip Caravan. A caravan, is a trailer pulled camper (for all my North American readers); a camper, is a self contained driving camping vehicle. We have had our caravan in several different types of camping situations and locations here within The Netherlands but this is the first year we are trying out a seasonal location. Pull it once, park it for the season, visit whenever we have time.
The camping season at the location we picked runs from mid March until the first part of October. Due to our USA schedule we knew we wouldn’t get it to the site until sometime in mid May. With our schedule changes, and our early return to The Netherlands, and the usually nice weather this weekend, it was now the perfect time for set up.
Oud-Alblas is a very old small town sits on the Alblas (aka The Graafstroom) River. This small river runs through the Dutch countryside delta between two major rivers the Waal and the Lek. The Alblas River also links into another river (Nederwaard) that holds the UNESCO World Heritage Site Kinderdijk, a location where 19 old windmills that sit along the river. Along with the Keukenhof and Amsterdam, Kinderdijk is one of the most visited sites in the Netherlands. Since my hubby grew up around the area close to Kinderdijk we have visited many times on bike and during all seasons.
I am excited to be camping so close this year that I can finally canoe and kayak to the windmills and experience their beauty from the water.
This weekend Oud-Alblas was decorated in the colors of red, white, blue, and orange. A local tradition of this small town to show the colors of Dutch on a weekend of Remembrance and Liberation. It was our welcoming first impression of our new summer vacation home.
Each small street was lined with the colors decorating trees, doors, and fences. Dutch flags were flying at half staff on the 4th then full up on the 5th on most houses. It was a sight to see.