Two weary travellers arrived at Chez Kees (Taco’s Dad) around 11.30pm on Tuesday night. The plane ride had been smooth in that all bags were present and accounted for, but not so smooth in that, with C & T forced to sit in separate seats, Taco managed to find himself in the middle of a group of school children obviously quite excited to be travelling to the Netherlands, all with perhaps a touch too much sugar in their systems.
Our first full day in the Netherlands, we hung out like cool kids in the town, Claire got excited about the sun and wore shorts (then got sniggered at by the actual Barendrecht cool kids for pretending it was summer already), and we began ticking off the list of Boring Stuff That Needs To Be Done for Taco. In the evening, we were picked up by the beautiful man himself Kevin, and watched his indoor football match. And what a match, ladies and gents! A dramatic but ultimately disappointing game for Kev’s team. After this we headed to Jur’s place and watched Feyenoord play against Roda: equally disappointing, but less dramatic.
The next few days we slept in, caught up with friends, and began to organise The Bicycle Trip: The Netherlands to Paris on our fietsen, which Tac’s Mum had so kindly driven all the way to London to bring back to the Netherlands for us. We found a book called ‘Fietsen naar Parijs’ ('Cycling to Paris')- with that in our hands we figure can find the way blindly.
Before we knew it was Saturday. Family day. In the afternoon we went to Liesforrest where we had high tea with Tac’s Mum's side of the family, later that day we went to an uncle of dad’s side where we had a little boogie to the LP music. On Sunday we went to the Rotterdam marathon to support Taco’s friend Daan (and his dad) to the finish, but it was so busy that we missed them. Poo. So without meeting up, we went to IJburg to visit Auke and Caz. We all felt a bit like zombies for different reasons so we just chilled on the couch watching the only Dutch cycling classic, The Amstel Gold Race. Back in Barendrecht we went to The Dijk (Taco's second home) to catch up with some more family and by the end of the day we were so tired that we slept for a million years... well not really, we slept for a night, but you get the idea.
Our final day in Barendrecht was spent grabbing supplies for the bike journey, picking up Kev (Claire's bike) from Handy Dandy Robert who had given him a fixing up, then having a lovely extended afternoon tea with Oma, complete with many many Speculaas biscuits and multiple cups of tea. We had a delicious dinner with Daan and Tessa, ooh-ing and aah-ing at Tessa's beautiful baby belly and their sexy baby room (all Miffy/Nintje styled!), before heading back to Chez Kees for some last minute preparations surrounded by the Barendrecht boys and girls.
Claire woke up bloody early on Tuesday morning with the excitement of the trip ahead. Sandwiches were made, our little fietskarretje was laden with bags, and we shook our fists at the sky in the hope that we would keep the rain away...