Our New Year here at The Cedar Journal has finally started and with a huge bang. As promised we headed to our scheduled escape from the yearly fireworks of New Years Eve. I visited the last of the 12 provinces on my Dutch “must do” list with this camping adventure to Drenthe.
With about everything except the kitchen sink, we loaded our VW Caddy and set out on our two hour drive across the country towards the German border.
This was going to be our first real test of some new equipment and our set up with our new VW Caddy. We had been working on a packing list for several weeks.
As we approached the Hubby told me that we would be “off roading” the last part of the trip. That doesn’t mean the same thing as in American English, that we would be on a grass or unimproved road! It meant that there was a gravel road with several pot holes the last few thousand meters.
After several “Watch out, there is another pot hole!” from the front seat passenger (me) and dirty looks from the driver (the Hubby), we arrived.
This campground is a beautiful forest area that was already full with tents, campers, and caravans of every shape and size. We found our spot on the other side of the campground and started the process of figuring out the new equipment.
In November, we had travelled to a camping store to purchase a side tent for our VW Caddy and this was the first time out of the storage sack. Always, a scary moment setting up new equipment and finding out if it lives up to your expectations.
We were both surprised at how easy this fits our van with only minor adjustments.
Winter camping in Minnesota usually means extreme cold temperatures and entails ice fishing. This Netherlands experience was already starting to feel like April camping to me. Instead of battling the cold temperatures and snow we had a breeze with a temperature around 5 C (41 F). We both had layered our clothing and were comfortably warm.
Off to hike the area around the camping area.
In the distance we could hear the carbides (link here to see a YouTube video) of the locals celebrating the upcoming New Year. This farming region is known for firing the lids off milk cans to celebrate. The sound is something like an artillery range. So I didn’t really escape all the noise but it seemed a bit more tolerable than the constant fireworks right in front of our house.
With the long winter shadows creating a late afternoon feel we hiked towards our projected destination. Along our path we crossed this wonderful stone road. Just to think that this was built at some point all by hand is mind boggling. Then to think about riding a buggy across such a road just made me think that it had to be very uncomfortable.
Our destination for this hike was some ancient stone structures called Hunebed. These 5000 year old structures are found around this area of Drenthe and are believed to be burial sites for the original inhabitants.
To give you an idea of how large these stone are, I took a picture of the Hubby standing next to them. Some of the other sites are much larger with people actually able to walk or stand under the stones.
After investigating this remote site we hiked back to the campground.
More on that in our next blog…
What was the start of your New Year like? Share your experiences below.
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