We had no firm plans for today other than to be at Jerry and Rianna’s place around 5:30 pm. One thought had been to return to central Amsterdam but that depended on the weather.
I woke at 6:00 am to the sound of rain on the windows and wind howling through the rigging of boats in the marina. Noises from downstairs confirmed that Jane, Virginia, and Margot were on the move and preparing for their 7:30 am ride to the airport. By the time I had showered and walked downstairs they had finished breakfast and were doing their final checks.
Majella was downstairs soon after. Just after 7:00 am we helped them get their bags across to the reception building to wait for their ride. We said our fond farewells and wished them all a safe journey home. They had been fun company. We were lucky to have a pause in the rain to take their baggage across but the rain was falling again when we walked back after they had departed on schedule.
We packed up our gear, sorted out the bits and pieces of food that should go with us, and tidied up before having a final cup of coffee and packing our gear into the car. We were on our way soon after 9:00 am with the intention of following our Tuesday footsteps to the park and ride and then to Amsterdam. It was looking too wet to cycle but we could see some museums.
Not far out of Volendam the rain really began to bucket down, causing us to rethink our plan for Amsterdam. We paused at Monnickendam to consider our options and decided to look for a shopping mall, perhaps one with a movie theatre, and keep out of the rain. We drove to Purmerend and parked in the Eggert shopping centre where we walked around for a bit. Majella thought that having a facial might help her relax and sleep better so we spent some time searching for a salon. She asked directions in a couple of places but never did find the place they mentioned.
We drove on to Zaandam where we parked in the Rozenhof centre and tried again to find a salon. This time we found one that offered what she wanted but only on appointment and the first available was at 3:00 pm. We were not prepared to wait 3 hours so we drove on again.
Those stops had taken us a little west from Volendam and our destination for tonight was south-west so heading south made sense. We drove to Bloemendaal and then on through the national park, a stretch of woodland and dunes, to Bloemendaal aan Zee where we parked with a view of the windswept coastline and sea. We were surprised to see kitesurfers out in the wild wind and driving rain – the Dutch are a hardy race. We sat in the car watching the sea and ate a simple lunch of food that we had brought with us – bread, cheese, sausage, cold meat, tomato, and fruit. At one point we heard a tapping on the roof of the car and thought it must be a parking inspector (it was pay and display and we had not) but it was a seagull perched on our car roof with one foot on the windscreen. Evidently it was interested in our food but we were not prepared to share.
From there we drove on through Zandvoort and then Leiden with the intention of solving the mystery of the green conical structures from yesterday. We went almost to Delft on the A4 without seeing any and then turned around to head north and catch the one that we had narrowly missed yesterday. We eventually found them at a Total service centre on the highway near Leiden. Majella confirmed that they were garbage bins rather than the individual toilets with windows that Virginia had imagined.
By 5:30 pm we had arrived at Jerry and Rianna’s place in TudorPark at Hoofddorp. Jerry was a colleague and friend at USQ for more than a decade before he came to live in the Netherlands. They greeted us warmly and we shared drinks and conversation before heading out for dinner at a nearby restaurant. The plan had been to walk the short distance but intermittent heavy showers put an end to that and we travelled by car. We are hoping for better weather tomorrow but the forecast suggests not.