We spent the last three nights of our trip in a B&B in Ilpendam, a very small village in North Holland. Brahm, the dog, was one of Theo’s favorite parts of our stay, though the nearby playground and boat dock were hits as well.
Another highlight of our stay was renting a small electric boat to explore the canals. It was absolutely as pretty as it looks, and the slow meandering was a nice antidote to three weeks of crazy-intense work to meet deadlines. (There was still work during our stay in Ilpendam, but at a less crazy-making pace.)
After our boat ride, we enjoyed lunch and dessert at the adjacent tea house before biking back to our B&B.
On our last night, our host declared that we must celebrate, so she built a fire, and we and a group of her friends gathered to sing songs accompanied by accordion. It was a lovely send off.
The Netherlands reminded me of Switzerland, in that most things were very nice, very comfortable, and fairly expensive. (Zurich is still the most expensive place we stayed.)
Out of our whole two-year trip, we spent about a year total in Europe – a little over nine months to start, and then the last three months to end. I have to say, I remain pretty enamored, and could easily see us living there someday.
That being said, I’m not sure if it’s because we’ve become more experienced travelers, or if it was just luck (probably some of both), but our experiences in these past three months felt almost a little too easy – our day to day lives lacked the grit, challenge, and surprises of some of the other parts of our trip. I’d recommend everywhere we stayed in Europe – but I’m very glad that we ventured elsewhere too.