Paul & Janita's Home Page




17-18 Sept 2000

Sitting in our new van 'somewhere in the east of Holland' it seems a little strange that the sun is HOT and there are flies! But that's what this long.. long day has been like. Having struggled through a 24hr stint in the plane with a  'St Vitus Dance' victim in the seat beside me, not Janita, but a young man of the Asian persuasion who slept like a log while constantly squirming and wriggling, I thought I was all out of 'spark'. Wrong. Put behind the wheel of a very large Ford Transit Van assisted by a very tired navigator (yes Janita this time), the adrenalin cut in and we drove most of the day through parts of Holland that we never thought existed. Areas around Apeldoorn were more like Australia than the Netherlands with open 'veldt' as the Dutch call it with burnt orange grass and vistas of distant hills! Yes, hills. This is an interesting area where wild boar apparently still roam free and deer amble in the forest - that is when they're not leaping onto the road - as the signs indicate. The four wheel drive is king and the squirrels are timid - (the squirrel is the only 'dangerous creature' that we actually saw!)  The whole 'wilderness' is 550 ha in total but we all take these things very seriously in Holland.

The generally held view the all Dutch people speak English was well tested in the Dutch wilderness (50km outside Amsterdam). Many locals are only able to speak Dutch (and probably German) and little else. .Terrible! Not only that, but they don't take credit cards either. What will become of us in this cardless society?

 The good news is that all our toys work.  Little TV (only in Dutch?)... 'puter, CD, phones.. chargers all A-OK.

 19 Sept 2000 

A spectacular day weather wise. Clear as a bell in the morning and very warm. Drove all day, mostly lost in the back streets of Holland. We are amazed at the difference a nice day (20C+) and an early autumn rather than winter vegetation cover can make. All we have previously seen of Europe is leafless trees and snow. Tonight we are in a truck stop near Bremen. We were in fairly early and had room to park but within 30 mins we were totally surrounded by very large lorries! Our previous experience convinced us that although they can be noisy, truck drivers are good protection. 

Janita drove today for the first time. She has now had several beers and is feeling a little less stressed. Most of the problem today was not our lack of sense of direction but the driving need Europeans seem to have for digging up their motorways and redirecting traffic off into the countryside with no direction to assist one's return!