Week 2 – Time with Dirkje.

4th June to 10th June 2017


The weather has been grand since we left UK with warm sunny days and hot sticky nights so when news came that the weather was to take a turn for the worse, unlike other campers here who have spent the day swimming, or walking or drinking beer we have done the washing – well Sue has, but someone has to supervise. It’s all done now so the weather can do it’s worst we are ready for it.

This is such a super dooper site we always thought that somewhere under the skin there must have been a problem. There was. The electrical supply is totally inadequate for the size of site when everyone gets up in the morning and turns on their coffee pot the voltage drops to a level where the fridge has a fit and we have to shut everything off.

We got the Cobb BBQ out tonight for the first time since Portugal. While back in UK we bought a new fry pan and paella type pan for it so planned to try the paella pan out with one of our favourite dishes, fish with onions and tomatoes. The pan performed well and the meal was delicious.


It’s a bank holiday today and unlike a bank holiday in UK virtually nothing is open, we did find one supermarket open but there is very little else, not even many coffee shops. When the large retailers in UK were petitioning for Sunday opening one of the main arguments was that we must have a level playing field with Europe and so must be able to open Sundays. During our travels we have come to realise that no one other that the Brits and the Portuguese have such liberal Sunday trading laws in much of Europe the majority shops stay firmly closed on Sundays and bank holidays. In much of Europe Sunday is still a special family day.

Dirkje came back to the caravan for dinner tonight, we had liver, bacon and onions cooked to a Portuguese recipe, followed by a very English black currant and apple crumble. As the weather was still dry we started cooking the liver bacon and onions on the Cobb BBQ, pity it started raining halfway through so we had to finish on the caravan stove but it was still great stuff.


Up with the lark this morning as we were going for a day out. A quick trip into Germany first to get an “umweltplakette” or environmental badge a green, orange or red sticker that is stuck to the windscreen and allows the car into the red, orange or green


Three grades of sticker

environmental zones that are established in an ever increasing number of German towns and cities. Any TUV centre in Germany will on production of your log book issue you the umweltplakette relevant to your vehicle emissions for just €10.00 and even stick it on the windscreen for you.

We had decided to spend the rest of the day at Clemenswerth Schloss not far away. When we arrived it was threatening rain and because of the inclement weather we were able to park very close to the monument (visitors not coming on such a dreary day??). That is the only good thing I can say about the experience. There was no signage in any language, so we had no clue what we were seeing or the procedure for a visit. There is a central building with paths radiating from it and at the ends of the paths smaller buildings, we wandered aimlessly until we happened upon a cafe. The tables and chairs outside were wet (and it was cold) so we went down a set of stairs to a restaurant. The lady behind the counter told us in no uncertain terms that we did not belong down there and coffee was served only upstairs. There appeared to be toilets at the back of the restaurant but no these were not available we must go upstairs. Scouting around upstairs we found no cafe and no toilets so continued our wandering and a couple of buildings later we found public loos by being nosey they were not signed and we were looking in doors. Each of the houses was guarded (I use the term advisedly) by a woman whose main qualification, in all cases but one, was a desire not to assist in any way shape or form. The lady who did assist waved a hand towards the main bulk of the buildings and stated we must buy a ticket over there. To get “over there” we passed the car park so got in the car and left – I can say without doubt that Clemenswerth Schloss was the worst tourist experience we have experienced. We will not be back

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Clemenswerth Schloss

So what to do now?

Holland are a sea loving nation with a long coastline but despite this Dirkje was complaining she so rarely saw the sea so after experiencing Clemensworth Schloss we headed north to have a look at the German North Sea coastline. Although we knew it was quite a distance but hadn’t realised how long it would take us, So long in fact that when we arrived we had just enough time for a short walk along the prom, a posh waffle, that is a waffle covered in fresh fruit, fruit sauce and cream, and a cup of coffee, blimey it needed to be posh as it cost more for one waffle and one cup of coffee than we often paid for a three course meal with wine and a coffee to follow while we were in Portugal.

The return journey was as long but took a third of the time using motorways.


Today we had planned to get ready to move on, do some housework change the bedding, all the good things – not. What we hadn’t counted on was the appalling weather the rain “persisted” down for most of the day. The forecast for the next few days is for more of the same so we have extended or stay till Sunday when the weather is forecast to improve.


Of course when we woke this morning the wind had dropped away till virtually nothing as had the rain. It is still very cloudy but improving, but by late afternoon there was a virtually clear sky – hurrah for weather forecasts.


Many years ago while crewing a yacht from UK to Denmark I sailed along both Dutch and German Friesian Islands.I enjoyed visiting many of the islands and often thought about going back. Today I got the chance we drove to the Dutch north coast at Holwerd and parked the car in the ferry car park. We had thought of taking the car but that costs €94 and you still pay the €15 fee each person so €5 for the car park seemed the best deal.

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Ameland Ferry

Despite there being no great distance between Holwerd and the island of Ameland it took the ferry a full 45 minutes to wind its way, like a drunkard weaving his way home from the pub, between the numerous sandbanks, it turned out that was the quick high tide passage on the way back at low tide the passage took over an hour.

Arriving on Ameland we took a taxi to the main town centre, it was a quaint place with some pretty buildings but was first and last a holiday centre and without a car or bicycle you were restricted to the few, albeit pretty, streets in the town centre, everything else was just to far even the ferry terminal seemed a long way when we walked back to it. We will not be repeating the experience, well not without the car anyway.

Everyone, particularly poor Dirkje, was so exhausted when we got back that rather than cook we all went to the Chinese restaurant opposite here home and had another excellent dinner there.

© S W Ghost 2017