Dave the motorhome is at Gorinchem, on the way to Eindhoven where we’ll soon meet up with Keith and family (N51.82596 E4.97086). Keith worked in the same company as Jay and I, in fact he was the ‘work husband’ of my boss. He and his family now live in The Netherlands and answered our question of where’s good to visit with an offer of beer – how could we refuse?
This morning we didn’t linger in the car park waiting for the person who checks the tickets, he hadn’t arrived by 9am so for once we were on the road at a reasonable hour – reasonable to most people, early to us!
We drove to a motorway services and had breakfast in the car park, tasty Lidl Pain au Chocolate and Apple Cakes. The maps and guidebooks out we looked for somewhere to spend the day before we’re due in Eindhoven. A motorhome parking in Gorinchem looks appealing as it’s right next to a river beach and close to a town, despite there being no mention of it in our guidebook we head there anyway.
Passing signs for motorhome parking and circus tents we reach the co-ordinates in our Aires book, a small car park next to the river and its beach. The handbrake is barely on before Jay and Charlie are off out to explore. We make a quick visit to the official motorhome parking next to the marina with electric and wifi, no idea how much it cost but would be perfect if we needed an overnight stop.
Later we stroll towards the town, as I look over towards the circus I spot people standing and staring upwards. I point out the subject of their attention to Jay, a huge giraffe statue which right on cue swings it’s tail and wanders across to a tree for a bite to eat.
We scramble across the park, it’s not roaming loose, but it’s just a tiny piece of low voltage string between us and Mr Giraffe, a most unusual sight to see. It chomps away on the park trees, teeters over to sniff Jay and Charlie and seems very happy with its lot. We get talking to a Dutch woman who tells us there are many more animals to see behind the tents. A free zoo!
We spent quite a while transfixed by the camels, horses, lamas, elephants and tigers – one the latter having three tiny bundles of two week old cubs with them.
Charlie isn’t impressive and keeps a full extendable lead length away from the tigers, his pooch instincts serving him well. He’s not even tempted over as they rip into hunks of raw meat.
Eventually we tear ourselves away from the animals and walk through a gate in the defensive walls into town. It’s hard to describe the place, sort of a wavy ring of fortresses walls with water on the outside, inside a river runs through the middle with locks either end. It’s pretty, compact and chilled out – it’s finding places like this that make travelling so much fun.
In the main square people eat and drink at cafes while a bride and groom are having some photos taken and being waved off by family and friends.
Popping into the vvv (tourist information) a small leaflet has the main sights and tells us that Hendrick Hamel was born here – he’s credited with discovering Korea although the story says he was shipwrecked there and taken prisoner for 13 years before escaping and writing of his adventures. Someone decided he needs brightening up and has painted his statue, he’s now sporting a fetching green jacket with red shorts and hat.
We wander along the defensive walls to one of the town’s windmills before it’s time to head back to Dave for a late lunch and a bit more animal watching.
Have a great weekend.