To kick off Road Trip Europe 2014 we started with a night at Camping De Vrolijk in Laren, Netherlands (the Gelderland Laren, not to be confused with the city Laren near Amsterdam, or so I’m told). The Dutchman and I first spent the day with his parents about 20 minutes outside of Laren in Zutphen, a modern small city with an old center that survived World War II almost in its entirety.
Zutphen by Fluisterboot
We toured the prettiest locations on the river “de Berkel” and the canals by “fluisterboot“, a silent electronic boat (or whisper boat), where our skipper told us all about the history of this Hanseatic town. Monumental buildings in the city center date back to the 13th, 14th, and 15th centuries. Some of the old walls and defense structures are still present.
Dutch BBQ at Camping De Vrolijk
After some more walking around the city center, we were ready to head back to camp. I don’t know if all Dutch like to bbq by cutting small bites of meat and fish and cooking them one batch at a time for hours, but the Dutchman’s family barbecues this way, and I LOVE it. No messing with cutting up meet or double fisting a burger and huge bun. Just several hours of conversation, rounds of different small bites coming off the grill, and all the fresh baked baguette and garlic butter you can handle.
Laren was the first test of our camping setup. Since it was just one night, we decided to set up the tent we were borrowing to make sure we had all the pieces and parts (and didn’t kill each other while figuring it out). At our next stop, we’ll use this tent for our clothes, the electric fridge (I fought it, but it turned out to be totally worth it), and to store the table, chairs, and other gear when we leave camp; and we’ll set up the REI tent for sleeping. With all we were borrowing, I was amazed when it all fit into our tiny Puegot on loan from the Dutchman’s grandparents. In the morning, it was wake up bright and early for the 460-mile, 7-hour drive from Laren to Normandy.
Have a question or comment? Connect with me on Twitter @meganfields.