Sunday, May 25, 2008

Small Town Fairs (in Holland)... and the Perfect Weekend

What a fantastic weekend. A day of sunshine, and a day of thunderstorms and mist -- one to go out, one to stay in.

We covered it all. There was adventure - going on a 10 km bike ride to attend a small-town "fair" in Coudorpse (near Driewegen, Borsele -- see cute little town hall pictured left); plus plenty of time for home cooked meals - covering everything from pancakes to pasta, prime rib, and pork roast. Best of all, there was lots of creative play time -- pretend "grocery shopping" with Lukas, doing a puzzle together, and collecting, washing and finger-painting rocks. I also found some time to bake -- a Strawberry Bread from the Martha Stewart site, using fresh strawberries from the country fair (which was ironically a recipe submitted by a woman in The Netherlands)... one loaf for us, and one for a friend.

But the country fair, oh, was that an experience. Initially I was expecting lots of kitsch set in a carnival-like atmosphere. Boy was I wrong! There were people from surrounding communities, from Oudelande to Baarland and Driewegen, with well-kept antiques and hand-made goods. From wool baby booties and sweaters, some of which were woven on the spot; to beautiful vases and carvings made from wood - right before your eyes. There was also locally-grown fruit, apple juice, and honey (yum!); ice cream made from local goat's milk; pony rides; and tin cans stacked in a pyramid - for those with good aim.

I don't remember having seen anything like it in my lifetime, other than in the movies. It was truly a treat. Thank you Driewegen!

So here's to the perfect weekend.

Have you ever been to anything similar? If so, please leave a comment. To me, fairs like these provide a rare look into a community, and are well worth the air fare, travel costs, and time spent traveling.

It hasn't all been hunky-dory, though. For the past couple days, I've felt like I have a broken rib. Actually, it started around about a week ago, but got progressively worse with each day. So is it a lung problem, or a rib-problem? Before our bike ride yesterday, I took 2 Tylenol (Paracetemol), and felt pretty good until just before dinner. Last Monday, my Obstetrician requested an appointment for me at the local lung specialist, but even with their having called, there was no way I could get in until 12 days later. I now have 5 days to go. Maybe whatever it is will have resolved itself by then.

My intention is not to use this as a forum to complain about my aches and pains (although I realize that there have been a lot lately!) - but perhaps other expats will appreciate the info, and those with other circumstances (i.e. in other countries) will develop an appreciation for their health care systems. Don't get me wrong, health care in Holland is great, but getting appointments with specialists can sometimes be a bit tricky.

Well, the sun is finally setting here in this neck of the woods (at 9:30 PM!), and the bird songs are getting more and more sparse... which I'll take as my cue to sign off for the evening.
Have a great week!

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