Become a tourist in your own country with a Volkswagen van!
I think there is only one correct answer to the question ‘Do you want to rent a Volkswagen camper for a midweek getaway?’ And that answer is – Of course! After our road trip through America, Ruden and I have become very into #vanlife anyway, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity to do a touristic tour through The Netherlands.
On April 15th we were expected to be in the shed of our Volkswagen van by 9 a.m. sharp. We ended up being a little late, because – although we left extra early – we got stuck in terrible traffic from Rotterdam. Mr. Orange was already waiting for us by the time we arrived. Despite our tardiness, Ton was happy to see us and cheerfully told us everything we needed to know about his orange beaut!
The first kilometers
Time to hit the road! Now I don’t have a driver’s license myself, so here is what Ruden had to say, “The first few kilometers were a bit difficult to get the van smoothly into the right gear. Once you get used to the lever, it becomes second nature in no time. While light finger movement is enough in a modern car, this Volkswagen van demands a little more from you. Combine that with a tricky steering wheel that only turns after a few centimeters and you can rightly say that this takes some work!”
Though it takes some effort, the feeling you get driving in this van makes it worth the while! I felt like an actor in an old Hollywood movie. With a pinch of engine air, the picture is complete.
De Loonse & Drunense Duinen
Our first stop was De Loonse & Drunense Duinen, because how can you have a touristic tour without visiting a national park? When you come from the ‘big city’ it’s hard to imagine that the Netherlands also has these kinds of areas. We easily could have walked endlessly through this Brabant ‘Sahara’ without coming across a single person. Lord! Here you can really relax, which is exactly what we were looking for.
Although we could have spent all day hanging around in the dunes, we decided to drive on towards Kinderdijk. This is a tourist hotspot that surprisingly enough, we had yet to visit. This is shocking seeing as it is so close to Rotterdam.
Although it was quite busy, we were still able to find a nice spot to check out Kinderdijk’s 19 windmills. This place turned out to be the perfect backdrop for pictures of our van! Our luck didn’t end there. We happened to find ourselves next to an Austrian couple with a drone, so with our best German, we asked if they’d be willing to shoot some nice images of us. 😉
Despite this being my first time in Kinderdijk, I do know people (friends of the family) who live here. In a mill! There is no excuse that it took me this long to visit! It was long overdue for me to find the mill with the ‘white blades’ and pay a visit. My friend, Peter Paul, was kind enough to give us a personal tour of his special house. Then he pointed us in the direction of another good place to take pictures. For the average tourist, this location is off-limits, so we felt very fortunate to know someone here! Fun fact: He photographed my parents’ wedding in 1994, which I attended as a little girl in a princess dress. On this day, he took a picture of us for his current project: #guestsonourdoorstep.
The First Night in The Volkswagen van
Our first night in the camper van was a blast! The model we rented offers sleeping space for four people, but because there were only two of us and it was still quite chilly outside, we decided not to unfold it and sleep on the ‘normal’ double bed. Fortunately, we had brought extra blankets (you can never be overprepared), because we ended up needing them that night. The next morning we woke up on Goeree-Overflakkee. Every year around the end of April / beginning of May this island is bursting with colorful tulip fields. How could we resist seeing that!
You might think not much can go wrong with a tulip field as a backdrop and a beautiful Volkswagen van as a ‘prop,’ but boy can it. First of all, we were not allowed to stand in the middle of the field. So we had to play around with camera angles to get the best picture (without a muddy road in it). Though it was a bit stressful, it worked out pretty well in the end, right? It is important to note as a tourist, people are no longer allowed to enter the tulip fields in many places. Since this was close to the – very quiet – village where I grew up, I was able to ask for permission. 🙂
The weather was – contrary to the time of writing – fantastic, so we decided we just had to visit the water. The Grevelingenmeer was right on the route to Zeeland, so we knew exactly where to head. Coincidentally, my sister was also working there (shout out to PUURR by Rich in Bruinisse), so we were able to put the camper in a place you normally wouldn’t be able to. Once we arrived, we felt it was time to fully unfold the camper, because space to stand suddenly became precious to us (you don’t want to know how many times we bumped our heads ..) Add a bottle of wine and enjoy the here and now.
Hotspots in Middelburg
Day three, time to exchange nature for the city again. Though Zeeland has a number of beautiful cities, we decided to visit the capital, Middelburg. Since we are HTSPT.co we are always looking for hotspots. Here is the best in this city:
Expresszo: Smack dab in city center and perfect for coffee! We stopped to drink a nice cappuccino before we continued to the next spot. If you are hungry, you can also get plenty of goodies here. Think of treats such as banana bread, toasted sandwiches and poké bowls. In addition, they also have a Bed & amp; Breakfast. A location we definitely plan on visiting again.
Het Koffiepand: A short walk from Expresszo you will find Het Koffiepand, where you can get much more than just coffee! They have a wide selection of pastries, cakes, slow breakfast, lunch and afternoon snacks. We were hungry, so Ruden ordered a carrot cake (always good) and I went for the mixed mushroom toast with a mushroom mix, grilled halloumi & eggplant’.
RØST: And the third gem of the day, where we had a nice chat with the owner. RØST has a changing menu with daily fresh, seasonal, home-made dishes that looked delicious. We had a coffee – we really need to cut back with all the coffee – and continued our journey towards the mini-camp ground owned by Ruden’s uncle and aunt.
Technically, the campsite is mainly a large farm, but part of the space is specially reserved for camping guests. Currently, space is limited, but they are working hard to build a larger site. Luckily our Volkswagen van is equipped with a fridge, among other things, so we bought some good food and drinks for a home-prepped breakfast on our last day with Mr. Orange! Fun tip: you don’t have to worry about cutlery, plates, etc.
On the route back to Nieuwegein, going 90 kilometers per hour, we decided to make a pitstop at Brouwersdam . Since we didn’t have to return the bus until 6 p.m. we decided to use our extra time doing something nice. We parked along the water, where we – with a view over the North Sea – did nothing but be for awhile. We ended on a high note, at a beach bar with a glass of wine and nachos.
If you would like to experience this freedom and go out with an Oldtimer, then don’t hesistate to visit Volkswagenbus.nl today. They also offer van rentals for weddings, including a Volkswagen Photobooth! How cool is that? Plenty of options, we guarantee there is something for everyone!