Blaize Visit to our Twin Club Vlaardingen 80

Fri, Apr 1st 2011 at 12:00 am- Sun, Apr 3rd 2011 - 12:00 am

See below for the full report.
To see all the pictures at one go click on "gallery view" above. Individual pictures can then be enlarged by clicking on them.

Friday 5:00pm - We all meet up in the bar aboard the SS Rotterdam for a welcome meeting with our friends from VL80. There was all the usual getting used to the Dutch kissing - 3 times but which cheek was it first? At least the ice is quickly broken if there ever was any.

Then our hosts depart and it's off to the cabin for a quick wash and brush up before dinner in the Lido restaurant onboard. The food is excellent but the service appalling. Poor Pierre frets about the disaster with orders going astray and huge gaps in things arriving. Calm down Pierre nobody blames you for it.

Saturday - breakfast followed by a gathering on the dockside to be taken by car to the water bus to Dordrecht. A very nice small town 20 kilometres South East of Rotterdam.We walk along the estuary side to the Bell Vue Hotel (aptly named) where lunch is provided.

Then the party breaks up into 3 for a short guided tour (2 English speaking 1 Dutch). Some fine architecture and a quick walk by a building where Van Gogh once blinked. Wilma is quite upset because there was some other artist (Aelbert Cuyp?) who properly lived and worked in Dordrecht but of course he wasn't quite a superstar like old Vincent.

After the walk another stop for a coffee and biscuit (I'm waddling by this time) and then back to the waterbus for the trip back to the SS Rotterdam. The itinerary says back at the ship by 5:00pm but what with ferry delays and despite a formula 1 race with Michael Schumacher's alter ego Lourens (Lous) Meerman it's nearer 6:00pm. So alas no time for that power nap I'd planned.

7:00pm it's off again by coach to Fons Hosman's wine vault in Vlaardingen where dinner and entertainment is provided. Poor Atif is surrounded by all these alcholic fumes (and more than a few merry people) he'll never be the same again. Before dinner we are all enthralled by Roderik's wonderful violin playing accompanied by his partner Els on the grand piano. Then a lovely dinner is followed by more wine and Fons himself singing a few classical pieces. We all feel quite uncultured compared to our talented friends.

It's coming up midnight by the time the coach deposits our weary band of travellers back at the SS Rotterdam. Well most of us are weary - Tim is off up the steps with a spring in his step to the bar!
Thankfully on Sunday morning it's time for a lay in and a leisurely breakfast before we check out and are picked up by our hosts for a ride to Vlaardingen where we will do a walking tour. Our hosts are the ever jovial Ron and Nel so this time the car journey is more circumspect and we get a chance to see some of the countryside. Surprise surprise Ron may drive more slowly but he's still first into Vlaardingen as most of the rest take wrong turns in their breakneck pace to get there.

As we gather on the church steps the congregation is just departing so Ren

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