Elaning, camping, coasters, beer & architecture in Holland

Our Elans were built to be driven and not all of us want to to use them on Track Days. If you use, or plan to use, your Elan as a Grand Tourer and have completed or are planning some great trips then inspire the rest of us with the details.

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Elaning, camping, coasters, beer & architecture in Holland

Postby mnemonix » Mon 16.08.2010, 11:37

Just back from an excellent week Elaning round Holland.

We decided to take the overnight ferry from Harwich to the Hook of Holland, which was a breath of fresh air compared to the rowdy booze cruise ferrys across the Channel from Dover, particularly after a superb dinner at the Pier Restaurant on the quay at Harwich, which boasts a great selection of fish dishes, fine wine and Green King IPA in the bar downstairs. If you prefer white linen then there is also a more formal dining room upstairs, though we took a table outside in the setting sun, surrounded by Dutch holidaymakers on their way home. At times like this, Harwich seems like a little well kept secret hiding out on the East Coast though it's a working port town and decidely unpicturesque in places.

I can also recommend the 'tourist route' for the last leg of the journey, turning off the A12 via Manningtree to Harwich, for some fantastic quiet and twisty roads to put your elan through its paces ;-)

A good nights sleep on board on the Stenna Line 'Hollandica' (the better of their two boats on this route compared with the 'Brittanica') ensured we were ready to start the first leg of our journey at 7am the next morning. Although I can't report back on finding great twisty driving roads, Holland is different enough to the UK to create that sense of truly being abroad. Vast greenhouses growing produce, modern wind turbine windmills everywhere you looked, and the odd traditional wooden one too with smooth, flat & dead straight roads raised up on banks & dykes affording views across the unaturally flat landscape.

Our first stop was Texel, the first of the Dutch Friesian Islands, requiring another short ferry hop over the water from the maritime centre of Den Helder. Here we camped at Loodsmansduin, right on the edge of the sand dunes of the nature reserve and close to the little village of Den Hoorn. The Elan had easily accomodated my girlfriend Anna & I, together with a good sized pop-up dome tent, sleeping bags, mats, cooking gear & luggage, particularly having replaced the spare wheel with a can of tyre weld and removed the rigid carpet panel from the bottom of the boot. Our itinerary only afforded us one night here, but we enjoyed walking in the nature reserve as well as a quick trip up to the beach at De Koog where we skinny-dipped in the North Sea and watched the sunset with many Dutch holidaymakers just standing on the beach gazing out to sea in awe of the coloured sky.

The plan for our tour of Holland probably wasn't entirely typical as it was designed to take in some of our favourite activities, from walking on the coast to the next day of riding roller coasters at Walabi World, taking in beer & architecture along the way... For those that do enjoy such things, Goliath was my favourite coaster giving a couple of occasions of big air cresting the humps after the initial drop, and the other coasters gave some good variety from the Nemesis-like El-Condor to the huge wooden coaster Robin Hood.

Driving to Walabi world we took the northern route on the E22 across the Afsluitdijk, a spectacular 18 mile man made dyke/bridge separating the Wadenzee from the IJzelmeer.

From Walabi World we continued on to Utrecht in torrential rain which I'm happy to report didn't result in any wet knees or shoulders! Additionally, an application of Rainex to the windscreen & Autoglym hood conditioner before the trip proved itself with some spectacular beading of water. Arriving after dark and in pouring rain, we decided to forego the camping experience and checked into an 'NH' chain hotel, which for a last minute decision proved to be reasonable enough, though the directions to the car park just behind it lead to an hours nightmare round one way streets during which I thought I might have to spend the night in the car having left my phone and Anna back at the hotel!

Utrecht was a day of architecture. The picturesque, old city centre with its unusual split level pavement alongside the canal, the Ritveld-Schroeder House in suburbs (something of a pilgramage for architects and fans of early 20th Centrury modernism) followed by a walk around the University Campus to see the amazing modern architecture there.

Just outside Untrect we camped at Fort Spion, a very small & quiet campsite on the site of a former defensive fort, surrounded by a moat. Beautiful but we're still counting the mosquito bites now!

Thursday, we set off for Southern Holland to visit the La Trappe Trappist Brewery at the monastry near Tilberg. The only one in the world, let alone Holland, outside of the 6 in belgium, we're both big fans of the Trappist beers. Getting a bit carried away we'd booked for the beer tasting tour, but discovered the regular tour provided beer to drink anyway, and six different beers in not-so-small tasting glasses would have left us incapable of driving afterwards! We still managed to find space in the Elan for 6x 6 packs to bring home though and bought from the brewery, the monks vows mean they can't charge more than the most modest amount of profit, so it was less than half the price than it is elsewhere :beer:

The final leg of the trip was back to Rotterdam where we had a night booked in a cabin aboard the 1950's transatlantic liner SS Rotterdam, now restored and converted into a Hotel, restaurants, tour and conference centre. We were disappointed to find the cost of our room (one of the Officers suites at the front) didn't include the tour or access to some of the most interesting parts of the ship, but we saw a lot of it and admired the many original & stylish modernist designs & decoration. Before catching the night ferry back we also got a chance to visit the Architecture Institute, the Sonnenburg House, the amazing Cube houses by Piet Blom, and the Van Nelle factory en-route back to the Hook.

The total journey to & from Nottingham was only about 750 miles, but it was another trouble-free and highly enjoyable tour in the Elan and Holland proved itself to be as civilised & stylish as ever.

Proost!

google maps route
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Re: Elaning, camping, coasters, beer & architecture in Holla

Postby Jackonicko » Mon 16.08.2010, 12:12

Great report, Chris, very thought provoking, and sounds like you had a great time.

Just one complaint, from one who has met (and can therefore picture) you:

TOO MUCH INFORMATION!

"a quick trip up to the beach at De Koog where we skinny-dipped in the North Sea"
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Re: Elaning, camping, coasters, beer & architecture in Holla

Postby mnemonix » Mon 16.08.2010, 12:29

Be thankful we didn't stay at & report back on the naturist campsite up the road :lol:
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Re: Elaning, camping, coasters, beer & architecture in Holla

Postby tigerdog » Wed 25.08.2010, 22:53

This could very nearly be my ideal holiday in Holland, too! We were there in 1994 and I made my in-laws suffer through my hunting down the Rietveld-Schroeder house in threatening rains. Your choice of breweries is also excellent! Thanks for sharing this travelogue - upload a few photos if you get a chance. An Elan in front of the RS house would be an especially good juxtaposition of lines, angles and swooping curves! .
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Re: Elaning, camping, coasters, beer & architecture in Holla

Postby HJ2 » Thu 26.08.2010, 09:12

Next time if an LEC-er is near Delft: Drop me a PM!

Free drinks and Delft tourist information @ my place :lol:
If you always do what you always did, you always get what you always got
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Re: Elaning, camping, coasters, beer & architecture in Holla

Postby The Ref » Tue 31.08.2010, 16:39

HJ2 wrote:Next time if an LEC-er is near Delft: Drop me a PM!

Free drinks and Delft tourist information @ my place :lol:


Jackie and I go every year this summer we spent 2 week at Nijmegen watching the march "we use bikes ” so next year i will give you a call .
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Re: Elaning, camping, coasters, beer & architecture in Holla

Postby HJ2 » Tue 31.08.2010, 18:12

PM me for my phone number & address!

If anyone's in trouble with the Elan in Holland, they can phone me as well. I have a reasonable equipped garage @hand :beer:
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