I've been away too long! Summer seems to have taken over and I haven't got round to posting recently. I have in fact just got back from a lovely few days visiting with a friend in Holland. She does not live there, but her family originate from those parts, and so it seemed a good place to catch up with her.
I took a short flight from the local airport to Rotterdam-The Hague. It took less time than it does to go to Bordeaux on the train. We met in a really nice hotel and in the evening walked a few hundred metres to a restaurant, where we had exactly what we had hoped for: a lovely meal of the sort that we could never cook for ourselves, with wonderful wine and good service. All this was because we hadn't seen each other for seven years and we had both lost our mothers in the last year, and so wanted to do something special.
How lovely it is to spend time with those friends that you don't get to see nearly often enough, but yet when you meet them again it is just as if you just left them. The truth is that with the great distance that separates us, who knows when we get to meet again and where that will be. Even with the best intentions, we are only likely to meet a few times more in our lifetimes, so we decided to enjoy it!
We spent a day exploring Rotterdam. The architecture was quite interesting; modern but in a way that seemed to blend in with the style of the port. We walked around the buildings, just looking. This is a picture of the 'red apple' building, or rather the reflection it made in the waters of the canal.
In the afternoon we took a boat trip to kinderdijk, to see some of the famous windmills. It was hot by then and so we were grateful of the chance to sit in the shade for the hour it took each way, even though the trip along the river wasn't very interesting!
We managed to get a quick look at the windmills along with all the other tourists and day trippers, before heading back to Rotterdam and on to Utrecht for the next couple of days. Utrecht was a complete contrast to Rotterdam; old buildings, lots of people, noise, shops and restaurants. We did some shopping, looked at the people, drank coffee, and generally caught up on seven years worth of talking! In the evening we hired a canal bike and explored the waterways that run through Utrecht. It was a warm evening and so the edges of the canal were packed with people eating and drinking and talking.