Midweek Belgium and a few days Holland

Trip Start Jun 01, 2010
Trip End Mar 11, 2011

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Where I stayed
Casa Marianne
Casa Gerardo

Flag of Belgium  , Antwerpen,
Sunday, August 22, 2010

We start out early as I have to pick up Quentin at his mother's place in the morning. The checkout was quick and luckily the rain had stopped so we did not get soaked during the short walk to the rental garage. We have the same car as last time, a grey Ford Focus C-Max, with a broken remote control. Not that it matters, but that is how we recognized it was the same one as before. The drive to Hoorn is short and a small hour later we have Quentin in the car and head out to do some groceries as we need supplies for our stay at the Sunparks Kempervennen in Vlaanderen, Belgium.

After groceries we head to my father's place to get some administrative things sorted out for my Visas for Russia, China and Mongolia. As a courier will pick up the paperwork the next day to submit the requests to the embassies. I need the visas for the Trans-Siberia express which we are going to take in September. After all administration we head out to Belgium. It is supposed to be only a 2 and a half hour drive from Andijk, but traffic was bad, so we took a little longer. When we almost arrived at the park we realized that we did not leave my passport for the courier to pick up. Damn! we have to go and deliver that ourselves tomorrow.

The apartment in the park was OK as it could be. Although the cleaning could have been done a bit better as the floors felt sandy. We are also lucky that it is not too hot in Belgium as the AC in the apartment was not really working. But we did not need AC so that was fine. We also ordered a set of towels, as we don't drag these along on our travels, you would expect a packet of 4 or 5 towels with a beach towel for the pools as we stay for 4 days. But no, we got two paper thin towels each, ridiculous.

After unpacking and settling in, we decided to check out the 'village center' and get some food. It was quite late and we were quite hungry so we did not feel like cooking. We took a seat outside on the terrace and Quentin explored the environment. Cooking would have been a faster solution as it turned out later. We had to wait for more than an hour and a half for our order, and the food was horrible. I ordered a steak, medium-rare, which came out more than well done. But we were so hungry that we did not bother to send it back. It would probably mean that we would have had to wait another hour for food. Done with 'dinner' we headed back to the house and we all got a good night of sleep.

The next morning Quentin was up early as always. The weather turned bad outside, it was raining and the skies were gray. We all got in the car to drive to Rotterdam which is about an hours drive. Here we dropped my passport off at the visa handling agency and went to ZuidPlein, a big indoor mall near the 'Ahoy' stadium. We bought some swimming trunks for Quentin and had a nice Surinam lunch before heading back.

Finally it was time for the tropical swimming paradise. We all got ready and headed out to the village center where the pools are located. It's a big indoor complex, with water slides, wave pools, a waterfall and a small outdoor pool connected to the main pools. Imagine around a thousand screaming children, suffocating chloride swimming pool smell and people feasting on burgers and fries from a place that smells even worse. Whoohoo fun! Well at least for the kids it is, so Quentin had a blast in the wave pool and trying out the slides, not the higher ones, those are too scary for him. After a couple of hours we bribed him out of the chloride dome with the promise of food. On the way back we bought some logs for the fireplace and a picnic BBQ for tomorrow.

Back at the house, we prepared dinner together. For Q first some carrots, potatoes and chicken wings. The chicken wings were marinated in the store and turned out to be too peppery for him. For ourselves Linda made some Hainan Chicken Rice. But it turned out that Quentin (who normally does not like anything besides fries, carrots and frikandel) loved the chicken.

The next day the weather cleared up. We headed back to the village center to make use of the free Internet. Quentin was playing at the playground, the lake and around the town center, occasionally coming back for a drink or a frikandel. Later in the afternoon we played some midget-golf and air hockey. Back at the apartment Quentin made friends with the children next door and played all evening. We made a BBQ for dinner with some spareribs, sausage and yesterday's spicy chicken wings.

The next day we went to the pool again, and again. First we went together around noon, but when we came back the neighbors asked if Quentin wanted to join them in the evening. The chloride dome closes at eight. So we went again. We waited for Q outside as he went with his friends and their mother was keeping guard. On the way back to the apartment Quentin wanted some kind of stick-on Tattoo. He saw these outside on the market when he was playing. So we went to the market and got him two nice onces, one snake and one Yin-Yang.

Check out was at ten in the morning, so we got up the next day, packed up the suitcases and got the car from the parking lot. Our midweek at Sunparks Kempervennen was over. It is fun for kids, but I don't think we will ever try a Sunparks again. Back in Hoorn I brought Quentin to his grandparents, as he had a sleepover with his nephew over there. He had a great time, as always.

Our next stop is Italy, and we did not prepare much for that yet, so we went in to town to get some travel books and a big map. Because my honey is lost without her map. We also managed to squeeze in a haircut before heading out to my mother's place. It is always great to see them, and mommy had prepared a nice ham for dinner. We chatted for the rest of the evening catching up on the latest news from the family.

The next morning we took it easy, I had to work a bit and Linda started the Italy research. Later in the afternoon we headed out into town for some wine and to get my mommy a new computer (netbook). Her old one is acting up and I am afraid it won't survive for much longer. And as she would never buy one herself, we treated her to a nice Compaq/Mini. We also put in a wireless access point so the house would have wireless internet, something we can use ourselves as well when we are there. My mother also got us a present, a book about Hoorn, my hometown, filled with areal pictures of the town. So that I would not forget where I was from. We spend the afternoon installing the computer and around three' o clock my brother and his family arrived to say hi and of course stay for dinner.

My mother had organized a nice surprise for Linda and me. She managed to get the neighborhood Chinese restaurant (Golden Garden) to prepare an authentic Chinese dinner for us. It was very nice, we had steamed fish, prawns, ginger and spring union lobster, some beef, Chinese vegetables and of course roast duck. The restaurant chef was also from Hong Kong, so he knew what we meant by authentic food. They told my parents that they would normally never serve this in the restaurant as it would be their own dinner. After eating way too much, and drinking a bit more we walked back to the house.

The next day we headed out to my father's place in Andijk. We stopped by the old town of Hoorn, which was buzzing with activity as it is tourist season. The harbor was full of boats and the terraces filled with people. We enjoyed some nice kibbeling (fried cod) and of course a 'broodje haring' (herring sandwich). We walked a bit through the old town before heading out.

In Andijk my father was welcoming as always. Cherie was out with Tara (the dog) but came back about half an hour later. We sat around the kitchen table, chatting about our travels and the midweek in Belgium and before we knew it, it was time for dinner. We decided to go out to the closeby town of Enkuizen. At the harbor there is a nice restaurant called 'Admiraal'. The food was very good, and the service very friendly. The chef came to say hi, and to receive her compliments from my father who was very pleased with his dish. We sat outside on the covered terrace, and when we got there it was raining a bit. But by the time we were finished it cleared up and it became a lovely evening. After dinner we strolled around the old harbor of Enkhuizen for a bit before heading home.

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