cool road in Middelharnis
This is without a doubt the best day i have had on my trip so far, for the simple reason that I got to see where I came from for the first time in 18 years since i left back in 1989. After checking out of the hotel I drove to Goeree Overflakkee (an island in south Holland) and then straight to Middelharnis
(Called Manheerse to people living on Flakkee). Upon reaching Middelharnis I saw the familiar petrol station and then to the right was my street Langeweg. My first impressions of my old house were that it was so small and I remember it being so big, but then I was only 6 when I left.
Unlike in Australia where everyone is born in a hospital, in the Netherlands (on Flakkee at least anyway) most people are born at home unless there are complications.
my house! 146 Langeweg
So seeing my home was a bit emotional because that is where i was born. My brother was also born at home but both my sisters were born in the hospital of the next town Dirksland. When i parked my car across from my house I took some photos and then walked around the back of my house to the alleyways behind the houses. It was exactly how I remembered it which was so cool, even the fences of the neighbours houses, I walked down the alleyway and then to the end of the street.
I also went past my first school the Bosseschool even though it had moved about 300m from where it was when i went there. I then walked back to my house and took some video footage and more photos. Having seen my house I then decided to see the rest of the town, I drove to the shopping street in town and parked the car.
the alley behind my house
I went inside a local supermarket and found that they had yoki (a drink i loved as a kid) and I had to buy one, very tasty/ I walked down the main shopping street and then had some poffertjes at a nice cafe. It all seemed very familiar to me which is what I hoped would happen. After the food I walked to the harbour where we had a yacht when I was young and it was really special seeing it again (the harbour not the yacht). From the harbour I went and had a look at the old town hall that was built in 1639.
I had loads of photos from my home and it started to rain so i thought it was time to move on, I originally wanted to stay overnight in Middelharnis, but the old hotel had closed down. It meant I had a 10 minute drive to a nearby town called Oude Tonge and stay at a nice hotel called Lely.
the Harbour is so nice
When I drove into town I forgot how bloody wide the car is and i hit a high curb going 50km/h and blew my front right tyre. It was a loud bang and then the car started the veer to the right, luckily the car had power steering so it was easy to correct. The hotel was only 2 minutes away so I slowly drove it there.
I called the car rental guys and explained the situation and they sent someone out to have a look, and while I was waiting for him to show up there was a thunderstorm. The poor guy had to work in the rain and he looked at my tyre and saw a massive hole, so he said i needed a new one. At this point i should mention that my car is brand new (only 200km before i picked it up) and it already needed a new tyre. He put the dreaded Doh!-nut on the front and i followed him to a nearby garage.
Middelharnis Harbour (love this photo)
The garage didn't have the exact same tyre but it was the right size. While i was there I started talking to a local from Flakkee and the repair guy and they both recommended I got to Neeltje Jans (another island) and Zeeland (another province/state of the Netherlands and where New Zealand gets its name from). When i showed them pathetic map that came with the car they gave me a massive 1:250 map and showed me where to go, very nice people and definitely made up for the tyre incident :) It was also from them that I learnt the local name for Middelharnis.
I have no idea how much it will cost if anything until i hand my car back on the tuesday. When it was all fixed I drove back to the hotel and dumped my stuff. I had a nice walk around Oude-Tonge and ended up at a nice windmill, I also got to see a cute little foal at a nearby paddock.
poor car missing its tyre
I'm not a fan of horses because when I was a child I was knocked out by a horse, but the foal was very cool. While walking back to the hotel I decided i needed a beer after the tyre incident and ended up at a bar called "De Geit" (the goat).
It is a very interesting pub with lots of funny things on the walls, I asked Linda (the barmaid) about them and she said it was because the dutch are crazy :). I asked if she had kriek but she didn't, probably a good thing though after the last time (Antwerp), I ended up having a few different beers I haven't had before, Jupiter (another one from my Belgium beer shirt), Hoegraarden with lemon (yum) and Grimbergen. Linda added something to the Grimbergen (i forgot what) and it was also very good. After a while I got hungry and I got Linda to make me some Satay Chicken with chips, very tasty and a massive portion for the price.
cool windmill in Oude Tonge
I started talking to BJ and Linda about my trip and then i got my Laptop from the hotel (1 minute away) and showed them my photos. During the night several people asked me why someone from australia would end up in Oude Tongem I think it is unfortunate that more foreigners don't visit.
In both Germany and the Netherlands it has been the tiny towns that have been the best (keep in mind that my favourite place in Australia is Kalbarri which is a tiny town) as they are beautiful and the people are so friendly and relaxed. Thanks to BJ and Alex and other new friends I didn't have to pay for anymore drinks which was very nice. I stayed at the pub until just before 2am and then went to the hotel for some sleep. The Funny thing is that my legs were about 1 foot too long for the bed and i'm not even that tall.