We just have time and money for a little
quick holiday. The tulip fields in the Netherlands are enticing, and
I may find some exciting plants for my collection of
It turns out we are too early for the fields, and
the Netherlands and especially car hire is not quite cheap, but we
get a really good trip:
16. We leave home about half-ten in our rented Ford Fiesta. 9
hours later we are in Groningen. We were delayed by 1.5 hours of
slow driving around Hamburg, otherwise it went quietly at 120-140 km
Germany is very similar to South
Zealand. An eating and peeing break, then another with Brakwurst and
soft French fries. Crosses the border with 120 km/h. Huge walled
barns with a narrower farmhouse at the end. Canals, flat fields.
Planning the trip on our atlas, which unfortunately has only the
railways and not the roads. Is in doubt at a branch on the motorway,
and asks a Danish truck driver for directions. We see one other
Arrives in Groningen at 17.30. Really nice town. Canals with
large houseboats, special fashion, museum, many churches, huge
pedestrian system. Many eating / drinking places. Have Mexican
dinner after the walk. Outdoor menu, but only in Dutch - uh ..
That's might be ... Dinner 90.25 golden Hotel 111G / night. A golden
= DKK 3.42
17. Buy two pairs of sunglasses for Rikke. Out to Hares
and see the botanical garden. Large Chinese / Japanese department
and large greenhouse with cactus and bromeliads. Giant elephant
foot: 1 metre in diameter. Batatas, orchids.
Large wealthy quarter with thatched red brick houses. To Zwolle
through agricultural land; horses, sheep, black-bred cows on a
stable. Pollo for lunch, fun church; large with small tower on the
Zwolle and Groningen look very English. The houses with small fenced
front gardens and the building style itself. We see the first tulip
fields, but there are no buds. Huge though. We drive over the big
Flevoland island and get to Amsterdam.
We agree to drive as close to the centre as we
can. The streets become very small, very unidirectional and stuffy.
We stop and as we find ourselves on a map, it turns out that we are
right in the centre.
It is the redlight district with showcases. Some are fat,
others in latex and chains and some are very pretty in bikinis.
There is hash shopping, channels and several show windows. We try to
find a hotel, but here in the area, it is per hour. Walk out a bit
from the centre and find one. 195 g / night. When we are booked in,
we find a parking lot under the opera house; 50 G / day !.
A few glimpses of sun during the day, 6-8 degrees. Many bikes. Trams
in the centre. Postcards and flowers for Rikke's mother! Many houses
from 1600, many churches. Italian Dinner, 68G.
18. Rikke takes a tram out to the van Gogh museum. B
goes out to Hortus Botanicus which was founded in 1638. Palm
house with Cycas, up to 300 years old. Two flowers; he and
she, last seen 30 years ago. All the garden plants from nature.
Butterfly house. 9 Welwitshias, Jatropha, Dioscoreaceae, Bowiea,
Coccinea, Kendrostis, Fockea, Agavaceae, Brachystelma, Convolulaceae,
Vitaceae Madagasker Kalanchoe beharensis. Long talk with the
Very small garden and only a few signs. 10G
They are no longer supported by the university.
Zoo, where is the entrance? Walking almost all around the garden
with a few Germans. Harsh fee: 28.50 + 0.50 for toilet! 2.50 for the
map. Not that great or impressive. Only Dutch signs. Rain showers,
rain and sun. The ungulates are gone, or fenced extra due to
Back after Rikke. Finds flowers and clothes. Indian dinner 100G.
Going home through Red light.
19. Too late, and we have to pay 100G for parking,
heading towards Aalsmeer (approximately), which is the
world's largest floral action. Huge, 1 hour to closing time. Find a
hall, I have what they have.
Towards Leiden; flat fields, mills, canals. Running on dykes; 5
meters down to the houses. Hortus Botanica in Leiden.
You park in a parking lot on the outskirts of the city, and then
take a minibus to what you want to go in town. The price is
reasonable: Stay as long as you want, and by bus: 10G. Drink coffee
first and then see their brand new greenhouse, which has a special
exhibit with bromeliads.
Rotterdam. Arboretum: Cypostemma
yuttae, Adenium glaucium, Pachypodium succulentium, Euphorbia
hedyotoides. The most exciting ones are again closed inside.
Rikke was sitting out in the hall, so I spend only 20 minutes in the
Gauda. First, we can't find a hotel.
When we finally find one, we get our own little apartment with
separate bedroom, tub and kitchen for 154G. Buy sweets, coffee and
Amarula (Baileys) for the tub. Spanish Dinner Tappas 100G. Some hail
but also lots of sun. I have a cold!
20. Watching the Great Church. Beautiful stained glass. Then
we drive back to Rotterdam to find Groos Scholten (teacher
years later, it really was Grootscholten). First try to find the
botanical garden again, it may be they know him. Runs back and forth
several times, but without finding the garden we drove directly to
yesterday! Going into a regular flower shop, where the cute girls do
everything they can. End up with two phone numbers, but that's not
Then we must move on; The Hague SeeLife.
We find the city and the area it should be located, but not a single
sign. Asking us forward. Even from the parking lot, we have to ask
for directions - talk about bad
signage! Then we find it, but have to wait a really long time for
the guy to get his swap money by pipe mail!
Rikke wanted to borrow the toilet, but was
told she had to wait, it was inside the hall. The couple in front of
us get money back and I pay with Visa, as I started by saying. Only
on the amount! Well, that is why we should wait for the change
Finally inside a small saltwater aquarium,
whose force is the breeding of seahorses, rays and sharks. They have
a tunnel under the shark pool. Their half-meter sharks are not as
impressive as the North Sea Center's bull sharks. We have breakfast
in the aquarium. I could have used the toilet, but the parking
ticket expires now.
We are driving up to Amsterdam, I would
like to go down to banks of river Single to buy some more
caudiciforms. Parking - now it's probably free; the other cars have
nothing in the windshield. Still have to pee. Trying 10 hotels -
busy, last hotel we try has a vacant mini room with mini bed and
then it is disgusting. We jus drive to Utrecht then. Yellow clinging
to the front wheel as we get back.
It costs 135G to have the stain removed, and then we have to wait an
hour - and I still have to pee and my cold bubbling merrily - the
only thing merrily about me at present time.
Once we have freed the car, we drive to the
Single Flowers Market. When get there at closing time, some
shopping are already closed. Finds some big caudiciforms. 220G (95G
the first time), but then there are also some exciting plants for
the window sill.
Eating Turkish dinner. Very nice plates, 90G.
Hotels on the outskirts of the city are also busy. It is starting to
rain and we are driving to Utrich. No hotels in downtown,
others busy. Then we have to go to Groningen 187 km. The
first hotel we find here is busy, so we find the one we used
earlier- only one room is available!
21. Quick bath and breakfast. Spends the last little money on
gasoline and cola. A little shopping and then 11.30 towards
Germany for German food. Trying to get winersnitzel, but have to
settle for gordon blue. 52M.
When the ferry 17.45. The hometour offered lovely warm sunshine.
Where was it when we needed it? At 20.00, Rikke looks at postcards
at the gas station outside right outside our town, where we buy some
Price with car: 16,000. Better weather, more plants, cheaper and
flowering tulip fields would have been nice, but it was a good trip!