Saturday, August 30, 2014

BIG 6-0 Birthday Celebration in Huizen, NL

That would be Astrid, of course, who turned the BIG 6-0 last Sunday.  HELLO!  And YES, we celebrated.

Astrid loves to find good deals through the Dutch VakantieVeilingen (vacation auction) site, so for her birthday, we had a hotel and 3-course dinner in Huizen for less than half price.  How can you say NO to that!

So, off we went last Sunday morning, with a route already mapped out (another thing she loves to do) on the back roads of Holland.  The destination that day, Huizen, was only only 66 km from home taking the fast route.  But, no, we weren't in a hurry.  Once we got off the main road, we stopped at every Dick-Jane-and-Sally weathervane...which you'll see at the end of this post.

But this is a start at the Trompenburgh, a 17th-century manor house in 's-Graveland.
Believe it or not, Astrid's brother knew the son who lived there when they were both 14,
going to the same school in Hilversum, nearby.  Remember that Astrid grew up in Hilversum. 

After that, it was already time to eat lunch, which we did at the nearby 't Bruggetje in Loosdrecht.
We knew we'd have a big dinner, so "light" was the vote.

Astrid knew there was a water tower in nearby Bussum, from 1897.
In 2001 it was sold to an engineering firm that turned it into an office building!

Remember that we were stopping for weathervanes all the time, before and after...
but soon we drove into Huizen, our destination for the day.
Astrid learned to ski there on those green slopes...on grass, yes.
In her day, Huizen had 4K people; today they have 41K.

And before we could say "Jack Sprat," there was our Fletcher Hotel with a HUGE weathervane.
It was opened in 2012 and is quite the complex.
Our room was in the side tan building (left-middle), overlooking the harbor.

All of this was right in front of our very eyes.

And because we had plenty of time before dinner, we took a walk to the harbor head.

We wanted to see the big water of the IJsselmeer lake,
and watch some of the boats sail into the harbor.

Then it was time to eat, and boy, were we ever looking forward to it.
(In the middle-right image you can see the building where we stayed.)
As Astrid says, we had the best seat in the house.

Her appetizer was mussels, mine was we were both in heaven.
Our main course was beefsteak and salmon, which we shared, with au gratin pototoes and frietjes .
Dessert was crème brûlée (for me) and a caramel delight (for Astrid).
After all, it WAS her BIG 6-0.

After dinner we took a nice walk around the Fletcher complex...
and enjoyed our breakfast the next morning, part of the cost of the stay.
WOW.  How can you beat that.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

It was a new day, the day after, and we were off to nearby Muiden to see the castle Astrid had known as a child (next post).  But on the way, she wanted to stop at the Jewish cemetery in Muidenberg that she had never visited while growing up.

It's the second oldest but largest Jewish cemetery in the Netherlands, from 1642.

What is it about cemeteries?

Since we couldn't read Hebrew, we made up our own stories.

We had seen so much before finding the castle.  We were short of eyes!

Can you imagine seeing a camel out in the middle of nowhere (top-left)?
How about a school sign telling you to slow down (top-right).
Astrid told me the (bottom-left) fur-ball was spit out by an owl, with parts of a field mouse still in tact.
And one of the 50 weathervanes that didn't make any of my following collages is the troubadoor.

Are you ready for all the vanes we saw in the space of two days?

Yes, I separated them into themes.

The boats first...some of which just blow my mind, in 3-D.

Animals and fish.


And everything else.
One is even "gone with the wind," as Astrid so cleverly says (top-2nd-left).

Next up will be the castle we saw before heading back home....


  1. There are enough weather vanes to sink a ship....and they are real beauties. Amazing that so many pieces of art are just within reach... well almost. It was a great weekend. We went to many places that are from my childhood and still unchanged. Lucky us. However the hotel and its surrounding is all new.
    Absolute fabulous pictures put into collages. We were so lucky with the weather. Isn't there a saying, you get what you deserve.... it must have been because the big 6-0.
    Thank you MLS. A weekend to remember.

    1. These are times when I pinch myself, MLMA. And no one even needs to have a birthday. HA! Thank you for having so much fun with me and being such a good sport, stopping for all those weathervanes. We're so lucky to have such great photo hunts.

  2. I think it was your intention to make your readers hungry with this post...
    Jewish cemeteries are special I think. This one is probably the most orderly one I've ever seen. The ones I have seen always remind me of "The Woman in White", and of course the tombstones had rocks lying on them, sometimes piles of them. However, those were much smaller cemeteries.
    The weathervanes are so lovely - I love the animals. No wonder that there are some speedskaters on Dutch weathervanes!

    1. Something for everyone, Carola, which is why I also share the food we eat. We don't usually eat big meals like that night. We more often get one entree and a salad meal and split the two. Anyway, it felt like a big celebration. It was!

      The Jewish cemeteries in particular intrigue me. I just wish I knew Hebrew!

  3. You two are just something. I love how you take all these adventures within "your" country. And then...we are so fortunate to see "your" country thru your eyes. Picture me cracking up when I read..."every dick-jane-and sally weather vane!!! Too funny. And it's unbelievable how you two luck out with the weather! LOVE this post!!

    1. Thank you, dear Robin. We love the Dutch skies, especially when rain is looming, so we take whatever we get. It may rain for awhile but never for too long, it seems. I must add that several weathervanes were caught in the rain through a quickly rolled-down window, before rolling it back up. :)

  4. Great that you were able to have a fantastic time to celebrate Lady P's milestone birthday. (Ange is 65 on September 23rd but don't tell her I told you



    1. We won't say a thing, Bill. Big milestones all around, then. Thank you. :)

  5. Oh that food and I love where you 2 go and explore...when I turn 60 in 3 yrs I should come over and let you plan my day out!! :)

    1. HA! That's a plan, Donna. You have 3 years to save up your money. Just do it. Seriously.

  6. Happy belated birthday Astrid. I didn't know it was a milestone birthday. I'm like Astrid, I scour the net for these vacation vouchers that are almost always half off. In fact I never go without a voucher :)

    1. Next year is MY milestone (70), Maria, so we're planning a combined trip to somewhere special, like Malta or Greece. And yes, we will make sure we find the best deal out there. We're not stupid! I'm know this about you, too!

  7. It's all really lovely, you are very lucky to have such a wonderful opportunity to travel.

    1. It IS lovely, Sham, and we definitely know we are very lucky!

  8. Just spectacular! Every bit.

    I am like Astrid, loving to plan these things and find bargains.

    You really did her proud, and it is obvious from her smile in the photos that she thought so too. <3

    1. Oh, yes, Ruth. Every bit of it. And hopefully next year we'll do a combined special trip for her 60th and my 70th...maybe to a place like Malta?!