We spent the weekend up in the Netherlands, visiting some of Luuk’s family. We stopped in Maastricht for the first night – the Netherland’s most southern city and one of its oldest.
There we found the church where Luuk’s parents were married. It seemed very closed so we wandered around the outside.
And met with this interesting looking fellow on our walk. A Tim Burton Character? Is it just me? Anyway, turns out the church was open, so in we went…
If there are not many photos of Elena it’s because she was wrapped up to the point of invisibility in the push chair (which is a particularly vibrant shade of blue, not ideal for photography). She wasn’t asleep, or particularly fascinated by the treasures and furnishings of this gorgeous old church. But so long as we kept walking she kept her opinions to herself.
There are halls and a cloister, chapels and no doubt numerous mysterious rooms in this building, but this is the actual church.
After we’d explored the church we headed back toward the car, via the bustling commercial district. We had walked through the market on the way to the church and avoided it (crazy crowded) on the way back. Instead we discovered another church… one of many no doubt.
But this church was serving another purpose entirely. Books!
We had some lunch by the river Maas and then drove up to Tilburg with blissfully sleeping babies. (timing! glorious timing!)
We spent the afternoon and evening with Luuk’s uncle Frans and his lovely wife Rita. This game ‘Badaboum!’ was the perfect age-defying activity. Louis is getting very good at building towers. Almost as good as he is at destroying them.
We had a delicious feast (lamb curry!) and lots of drinks and snacks. I went up to bed around eleven, fed Elena and then fell asleep. Luuk didn’t get in till two. It’s possible he and Frans are ever-so-slightly bad influences on each other.
Next day, after a leisurely start – or perhaps ‘false start’ is more accurate: we were up around six, as always, but Elena and I went back to sleep and I think Luuk got a bit of a nap when I got up – Anyway, after the dozy morning, we drove down to Veldhoven to see Luuk’s other uncle, and one of his cousins.
A cousin who, fortunately, was in the process of sorting through and giving away his childhood toys – heaven for Louis! We have acquired a cable car and a Garfield.
We stayed for dinner and then talked away the evening, but flaked out rather earlier than the previous night.
On sunday we had to head home, but Frans and Rita took us for a lovely walk in the forest first.
Louis found a giant stick. Luuk offered him a smaller, more manageable one. Louis’ look said, clear as day, “that is not a stick; this is a stick.” (But good luck catching that on camera.)
Unfortunately it started raining. We hid under cover and had some lunch then had to get on the road.
The weather improved on the way home. Belgium is rather nice when you don’t stop only at run-down truck-stops. Though I’m yet to see an actual town, city, or destination of any kind. We always just drive right through. One day we’ll stop for chocolate at least!
We were making excellent time until we got close to Paris. First it was an accident blocking up the road, and then just traffic. Lots and lots of traffic. The photos don’t capture it, and it got far worse than this, but this was the best photo. It was gridlock at points and added an hour to our ETA, but I suppose that’s what you get for predictable behaviour like going away on a long weekend.