Following the receipt of a wedding invitation we ventured to The Netherlands this week. The 7 hour ferry from Harwich was long but we killed time by discussing wedding plans and making use of the on board cinema….Lego movie = awesome. We arrived at Hoek van Holland at around 4pm on Saturday and as we drove to the Hilton in Leiden we noticed 3 things; 1) everything is spotless, 2) everyone has a bike and 3) there are a lot of goats. There are more bicycles in the Netherlands than I have ever seen and I think it’s safe to say they have more bikes than cars – Boris would love it here. To emphasise this I have added a picture below of one of the numerous storage facilities outside of the nearby train station. Our friends Bryan and Cindy (from whom we received the invitation) informed us of an unwritten rule which is that if your bike is gone when you return to collect it then just pick another one, not so sure I would be happy to do that as if I were to own a bike it would be the prettiest bike in the whole world I am sure of it.
On our second day in the Netherlands we drove around, went to Katwijk a nearby seaside town and then on to Rotterdam zoo – they have the cutest baby rhino. Later in the evening we met up with Cindy and Bryan who we haven’t seen in 6 years and they took us to a lovely Italian restaurant. Martyn has known Bryan for a long time but prior to this trip I had only met them both once, despite this I think we click really well and it feels like I’ve known them for my whole life; they are a wonderful couple. After dinner they took us to meet Cindy’s parents whom were very welcoming and kind to us and we spent an hour or so discussing all sorts of things from politics to tourist attractions.
On Monday we took a trip to Keukenhof and explored the beautiful gardens – love me some flowers and if you do too then visit Keukenhof!
On Tuesday it was the big day, the wedding of Cindy and Bryan. It was a beautiful day full of laughs and surprises. The ceremony was held at a venue called La France which was cute and rustic (just my style); the registrar was a lovely man who pointed us English ones out making me very red in the face and he sounded like a very funny guy even though we couldn’t actually understand the jokes. During the ceremony some people appeared with a beautiful owl and a bald eagle which flew the rings down to the bride and groom (very exciting) and then afterwards there was a bird show out in the courtyard which was great. For the wedding breakfast we went to the brides favourite pancake house which was very different and then at the reception (back at La France) they had a pancake stall there too! It was pancake heaven nom nom nom. After lots of drinking games (my fiancé not me) we said our good byes and headed back to the hotel.
We met some of the friendliest and nicest people you could ever hope to meet and they made us feel right at home even though we cannot speak a word of Dutch.
It was an amazing time and we are so glad to have had a chance to experience The Netherlands.