Chard, Ilminster & District

2015 Holiday in Holland


Twenty-five intrepid travellers joined together in the early morning on 13th May 2015 to stay in The Hague. A short delay at the Eurotunnel ended with the appearance of two armed police! Heavy traffic around Antwerp meant we didn’t arrive until 19.30. We were soon restored with a tasty meal.

Gouda Cheese shop
The next day – a bank holiday - we travelled to Gouda where we had the pleasure of their annual ceramic market and a guided tour. After lunch and the purchase of local cheeses and some of the ceramics we continued to Leiden for another very interesting walking tour. Leiden 3

Both towns were delightful, the cleanliness, varied architecture and of course, their canals and history.

The following day we remained in The Hague and were enchanted by a visit to the Panoramic Mesdag. A fantastic painting 120 metres long and 14 metres high from 1880 painted by Hendrik Willem Mesdag , his wife, De Bock and Breitner. The effect that you were standing on the sand dunes looking at the surrounding village and beach was incredibly realistic, only the smell of the sea was missing. After lunch, another highlight was Vermeer’s ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring at the newly refurbished Mauritshuis.

Amsterdam Our penultimate day was spent in Amsterdam where we started with an entertaining guided coach tour through the city to see the canals and some unusual bridges, 17Cth gabled houses, art museums and, of course, the red light district. This was followed by a visit to the Rijksmuseum, which was incredibly busy. They were expecting double their usual number of visitors, (11,000), as the Old Rembrandt exhibition was coming to its end. Guided by an art historian we, of course, saw ‘The Night Watch’ among other exquisite artworks. We were glad to be in small groups in the congested galleries. Some of us followed this with a leisurely canal trip, others remained in the museum.
Our long journey home was broken by a stop in Ghent, another city with canals, this time in Belgium. Chocolates were a must purchase and now several of us will be on diets.

We all enjoyed a convivial ending to each day at the many and varied restaurants around our superb hotel. There were lots of upmarket shops to look at but fortunately not enough time and Euros to buy any!
We had good but cool weather, the only damp morning was in Amsterdam when we were on the coach tour.
I hope everyone enjoyed Holland as much as I did and would like to come to North Wales in May 2016 or Madrid in late September/early October or anyone who would like to join us. Literature for both these holidays will be available soon. I need to know by September who is interested so that I can progress with final arrangements even if you have to drop out later on. Contact me on 01460 66462 or at or at the monthly meeting for more information.

Janet Brown

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