Zeeland was the last Dutch province Sprocket and I hadn’t been to, so of course, that’s where we went for a weekend away. We spent the weekend in a little town, Breskens. We rented a bungalow (the Dutch use the word for vacation houses) in a bungalow park close to the beach. It was quite nice – two stories, a bedroom, big bathroom and living area on the ground floor and two bedrooms (and a sleeping closet) and another bathroom on the upper floor, 8 beds in total. It was in a complex of similar houses. Here’s the view out the upstairs bathroom window – the ridge behind the houses a dike, behind it is the sea.
We got there late on Friday night since I planned a long route, hoping to go see the Oosterscheldekering and the cool, free museum I’d heard about, with working models of the whole thing. Of course, we got on the road later than we’d thought (why are we still surprised by this?) and by the time we got there it was about 4 pm. No problem right, it’s free. No. Sometime recently the museum became for profit, and quite healthy profit at that, and they augmented the stuff we wanted to see with all sorts of water attractions. Sigh. We were looking at €30 to go in for the hour they were still open, including parking. Needless to say, we didn’t.
Then I thought we’d take the ferry between Vlissingen (Flushing) and Breskens. Unfortunately, I was looking at an old map since the ferry now only takes foot and bicycle passengers since there’s a tunnel a little way over and I didn’t look at the new map until we were in Vlissingen. Oops. And Sprocket wasn’t all that thrilled with spending so long in the car.
But we got there all right, and actually watched The Bank Job on DVD (been a long time since we did that!) after Sprocket went to sleep. Saturday we had a lazy day, and in the afternoon finally went for a walk along the beach. Here’s looking down at the bungalow park from the top of the dike.
It’s a beautiful beach and I’m sure it’s cheek-to-jowl in the high season. I don’t think I’d like it then, but it was nice, if very windy, now.
We walked over to the old ferry terminal, and I had a bit of fun taking black and white pictures of the abandoned car terminal.
After a snack, we walked back. Sprocket doesn’t like to keep his mittens on.
Our little family.
We saw a lot of ships go by, stacked high with containers. They move pretty fast those ships.
Then we went to the supermarket for dinner makings for dinner for ourselves and Dutch Boy’s sister C and her boyfriend N who joined us Saturday night. After all, we were having problems using all 8 beds. We had a fun time, actually played Monopoly (they have all Dutch street names). Not sure when the last time I played that game. C was lucky in the property acquisition and refused to trade almost any of them, so won.
The next day C and N looked after Sprocket and Dutch Boy and I escaped to Vlissingen. Long walk in along a windy boring shore.
Under the windmill and cannons was a museum in an old German bunker. It had been restored to how it looked like when the Germans occupied it and had all sorts of old memorabilia. The volunteer manning the bunker said something that originally got my dander up – he said that the Allies, when attacking, hadn’t cared about the inhabitants, just the strategic value of the place. I misunderstood at first and agreed with him, thinking he was talking about the Germans, which annoyed me when I figured out I’d agreed with him in criticizing my own country’s actions when we all know that the Allies were in it for noble reasons (yes, that is to be read a bit ironically). But I just read the Wikipedia entry, and maybe he had a point. Although it was important to take the port of Antwerp to help liberate the rest of Western Europe, the civilians in this area didn’t fare so well.
We then wandered around Vlissingen, which the English for some reason call Flushing, a cute old town.
We joined this guy at looking up
But we’re not sure what we were looking at
After a lovely hot chocolate (a chunk of dark chocolate on a stick, melted in steamed milk) and a bit more of a wander with the evening moon appearing
We caught the bus back to the ferry with a minute to spare, and walked back to the house along the beach.
After dinner, C and N left and I studied for my Dutch writing test the next day (bad timing, yes, but we planned this weekend long ago).
Without the detours, the ride back was just over two hours, which got me to the test on time. I think it went well – it just measures what level I’m in now, but should give me some indication of how much longer I’ll be studying. Luckily for me, the first question on the test was to write an email to a friend about a recent vacation and advise her whether she would go. I didn’t have to think too hard for that one!