Pete, my friend Sonny and I travelled to Holland on Thursday night for a long weekend. We visited my friend Jan (pronounced Yarn) in Assen in the north of the country - it was he 40th birthday party.
We travelled on the overnight ferry from Harwich to Hook Of Holland - which was a much better experience than I had been expecting and then drove through the country to Assen in the morning (what did we do before Sat Navs?!). We arrived around midday on Friday and after a quick pee break and coffee we headed off to the Assen TT circuit to watch some practice and qualifying sessions for a number of races of various car types plus racing trucks. Here is a stunning short film I made at the track:
The hotel was in the middle of town, which was pumping at 3am - just what I needed. Assen is a clean and compact town, with loads of shops. We had a walk around on Saturday morning including cake stops for Pete. He likes the Dutch tradition of having coffee and cake.
On Saturday afternoon, there was a barbecue and plenty of beer and/or wine. While we were there, we reenacted a photograph that was taken about 20 years ago - a depressing thought, but we thought we would do it again in 20 years - before and after...
On Sunday we took it pretty easy and after seeing Jan's impressive summer house in the woods, we drove to Leiden which is south of Amsterdam. It's a really pretty town with canals everywhere. We stayed there overnight before getting the 2.30pm ferry on Monday afternoon - 7 hours later we were back in Harwich.
The Dutch people are so welcoming and the lifestyle is far more laid back than the UK. They seem to have the balance about right between work and play - few people commute by the sounds of it, a source of stress for so many people I know.
It was a fun, costly and tiring weekend - but well worth the effort.