December 25th, 2007 – by: Sweetski
Dinner at 'Het Haagsche Schouw'
Christmas day 2007. For the first time in my life, we would break with tradition. Normally we would have had a big family dinner, but this year was different. It was the first Christmas after the unexpected death of my father earlier this year. It being all very unreal and strange, we decided to throw caution to the wind and step away from tradition. We (my mother, my wife and I) decided to get away from it all and take a trip to Switzerland to the chalet owned by my sister's hubby. Being recently married (see previous blogs), my sister and her hubby went on a belated honeymoon to Brasil. When my best friend Eelco learned of our trip, he asked if he could come along. He had his own reasons for wanting to escape, which I will not disclose (don't worry, nothing illegal). The more souls the merrier was the idea, so of course he could come.
Then he came up with a brilliant plan. Let those 'girls' take a plane while we take a road trip. Now that’s a good idea. We could take all the luggage, having the ladies only being weighed down by hand luggage. Flying used to be fun but in today's world with more and more people flying, combined with very tight security, it is a blessing not to check in any luggage.
Center of Noordwijk
The girls (as we kept referring to them) were supposed to fly December 26, in the afternoon. To get the chalet ready for use, a few things needed to be done. Turning the heater on as soon as we arrived was one of the priorities. Also, we needed to get some groceries to stock up. From the Netherlands, it is between a nine and twelve hour drive, depending on the route and the weather.
Forecasts predicted black ice for Belgium and northern France. Therefore, Eelco and I decided to leave somewhere before midnight. We anticipated on arriving in the afternoon, which would give us ample time to get the chalet organized.
They made an effort
Eelco would pick me up at my mother's around eleven o'clock. He had a Christmas dinner to attend to first. The three of us had dinner in 'Het Haagsche schouw', a hotel and restaurant in Valkenburg, which isn't far away from Noordwijk where my mother lives. It being Christmas and all, the streets and buildings in the area are beautifully decorated, so after dinner (and to pass time until pick-up, my mother took us on a little sightseeing tour. Eelco is a very dependable guy and showed up at exactly 23:00 h. We put the last luggage in the car, our provisions bag within arms reach and headed out. Switzerland, here we come!