Tuesday, October 19, 2004

A different kind of Dutch Birthday Party

Did I say that it´s birthday season?

My sister in law turned 41 last Sunday. Being a nature lover, she decided to celebrate her birthday in the forest, in the Nationaal Park Utrechtse Heuvelrug in Doorn.

The bos (forest), Nationaal Park Utrechtse Heuvelrug, summer and fall.

The kids (my nieces and nephew) were flashing their huge smiles at me whislt getting all warmed up for the walk. On their arms were tiny rattan baskets. We will be picking castanes, acorns and chestnuts along this little journey.

The Birthday Walk

During the walk, we saw several colorful and huge mushrooms and believe me when I say huge, they are GIGANTIC, like the size of a plate. This particlar mushroom was in red and orange colors. Somehow my mind was thinking of faraway Snow White and her 7 Dwarfs, hehe.

Then everyone started giggling when we came across this other mushroom, which was really shaped oddly... like a piemeltje, says my 8 year old niece. Piemel or piemeltje means a PENIS! Haha!

At the end of the hike, I was able to collect a scrubby acorn branch with tiny acorns hanging glued to it. It now bedecks my living room.

We then moved to the proper birthday part -- eating of the tart and drinking the coffee and choco. Sister in law then took out the goodies and placed them in the bench.

Thus, after enjoying the apple and nut tarts, the kids quickly dispatched to play football with the dads. Of course, the Dutchman being a little boy at heart didn´t miss the opportunity. He joined.

It was rather cold for autumn though, averaging between 7C to 8C but luckily the weather cooperated. It was dry with light but no sun. Trust me… it is an amazing experience to stand still in the cold autumn forest sipping hot chocolate milk with your freezing bare hands!

Walk Routes...

You can choose 3 different routes for walking, see the color coded sticks. I had no idea which route we took, I was just a follower!

The Dutch love nature-outdoors (hear: Greenpeace, environmental policies). This isn´t my first forest experience though. I think this would have to be the 4th or 5th in my just 2 years here in NL. Something like an accomplishment of some sort, perhaps? Hehe.

There was also a small Dutch castle now transformed into a Conference Center called Zonheuvel (pronounced as zon-ho-fel) which is situated right in the forest. Dutchman and I toured this area and it lead to a coach house (for horses), a square, a restaurant and finally to the hotel at the back.

A different kind of Dutch birthday party indeed... and a perfect Sunday.

Visit Period: October 2004
Destination: Doorn (Utrechtse Heuvelrug - Utrecht), The Netherlands

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