Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Goodbye France - Hello the Netherlands

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

And so it happened that I missed the Sint Nicolaas festivities in the Netherlands, because I left France the day after.  It's celebrated in France as well, but in the Elzas region, not where I was staying.  Anyway, not to worry....

I left early on Wednesday morning and said goodbye to Jean Pierre.  Michèle was going to drop me off at Laval as Jean Pierre had other commitments.  Had I been happy the day before, when I had cleaned and returned the car, that I had managed everything without having an accident, that relieve didn't last long, because Michèle asked me to drive. :-)  It all went well, but I certainly didn't relish driving in the dark.  We arrived in plenty of time for me to catch the train to Paris, so I said goodbye to Michèle as well and got ready to settle on the train for a few hours.

Later in the morning I arrived at Montpernasse from where I had to catch the metro to the Gare du Nord.  Not as easy as I had hoped for, because there were no elevators or escalators to the metro station and I was lugging a damn heavy suitcase.  Fortunately there are always helping hands when people see you struggling, so the lifting was kept to a minimum.  That's not to say that I hadn't a sore arm three days after my arrival in the Netherlands. ;-)

At the Gare du Nord I had plenty of time, so I bought lunch and sat down to do some reading until the train would leave for Amsterdam/Schiphol.  I arrived there later in the afternoon after a pleasant and uneventful ride on the TGV (Train Grande Vitesse, or the very fast train) and found the intercity for 's-Hertogenbosch easy enough.  I finally arrived there at about 5pm.  Erna was waiting for me and we were soon at my last destination for the day: Liempde, N.Br.

Since I know Erna and Hans fairly well by now, having met a few times in Australia, it was easy to settle down and chat.  It was a relieve to be able to speak Dutch again, after a month long struggle with my limited French!

And what did we have for dinner on this winter day?  Yep, good old pea-and-ham soup with roggebrood and katenspekRoggebrood being a kind of pumpernickel and katenspek a thinly sliced kind of speck.  This is commonly eaten after a bowl of pea-and-ham soup if there are no pancakes on offer....

Well, if that wasn't a good start of the stay here than I don't know what is...

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