Wednesday, 8 August 2012

The Floriade & Big German Women

One of the main "things we must do on this trip" was visit Floriade 2012 so this week it was off to Venlo, the nearest town, to do just that.

We'd had a couple of really nice quiet days in Leukermeer, one in a marina and one anchored out on a lake. Both were good, in different ways. The marina was well equipped and next door was a static caravan site with a pool and a great play area. Emma and I had an afternoon there which she really enjoyed.

I enjoyed it for entirely different reasons. The site is very close to the German border and the vast majority of the other women in the pool (no men - no idea why) were German. And very "well covered" they were too. For the first (and possibly last) time in my life, I was the thinnest woman in the pool.

I think I will holiday exclusively in Germany from now on.

Anyway, on to Venlo. Brand new city-centre harbour, which, like the rest of Venlo, will be lovely when it's finished. But, at E10 per night and a big screen showing the Olympics at the end of the harbour, I really can't complain.

I'm still feeling a bit "hmmmmm" about Floriade. I have been once before and loved it, but this time - not so much.

Some bits were great; we loved the Chinese and Indonesian Pavilions and Emma loved the Tunisian Pavilion as she was entranced by the on-site potter, who made her a pot with her name on (can't believe I managed to get a wet-clay pot all the way back to the boat in one piece) but a lot of the national pavilions were just "have a holiday brochure" or "our apple industry is second to none!", which isn't that exciting.

The Chinese Pavilion

Emma's Tunisian Potter

The site is very good. Flat, obviously (this is The Netherlands) but quite varied in that you walk along woodland paths to get between the various areas. Spotlessly clean and with plenty of loos (and no queues - important when you have a three year old who goes from "Do you need a wee?" "No" to "I need a wee! Nooooowwwwww!" in about 10 seconds. Still, it was a garden exhibition - plenty of bushes to hide her behind).

We loved:
The really deep, dense planting
The very comfortable astroturfed recliners

The tractor with video screen field to drive it in
Feeding the fish (the best 20 cents we spent all day!)
The Living Wall
The Glass Stream - this is something I'd like to recreate at home
Next stop - Maastricht. We've been there once before, years ago, but it was closed (honestly - everything was closed). Am hoping it will be a little more lively this time!

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