Camping is a wonderful way to spend part of the summer holidays, especially if you have children. The editor remembers fondly her only three camping trips in the Netherlands and has another less agreeable but relentlessly seasonal close call.
The seasonal itch
The sun is out again.
I wrote the above line at 10:30 this morning. By 11 am we are in the midst of a thunder storm and I am ducking out of the local chemist, trying to avoid bolts of lighting, clutching a bag containing various noxious hair products designed to combat the head lice my daughters pick up annually from school to mark the summer holidays.
It’s the season for these tenacious parasites which bump up my water bills and deplete my patience as I apply the insecticide-laced shampoo – tea tree oil doesn’t work, believe me – to my daughters’ extra long and luscious hair. Following this, I religiously wash the last used garments and bedding. But there’s always one that gets through the comb – a female with eggs no doubt.
The necessity of using a fine-toothed nit-comb to prise the animals off each hair causes my girls to pretend they don’t have lice at the beginning of every fresh outbreak in the school. When I ask them why they’re scratching, I remind them what the creatures look like. We all viewed bone-chilling blown up photos of the head-louse at the natural history museum in Leiden. Last year they also had a large model of the animal sitting on a hair the breadth of a pillar in the cafeteria. I guess it’s the claws on them that make them hard to shift. Curious? Go to this page and scroll down.
Tips: Check with your doctor that the lice aren’t resistant to the product you are using. I believe they mutate and become immune to certain chemicals. Plus follow the instructions carefully and go through the whole tediious process, despite your children thinking that enough is enough a quarter of the way through. If not, they’ll be back next week.
Camping in the Netherlands
Getting back to the weather, I had planned to take my children camping this year, but I’m going to see if things look like drying up before making any firm plans. I’ve camped in the Netherlands three times with my daughters, now aged seven and eight, and every time it rained.
I recall that it rained practically every night, all night on the second of these trips to the campsite at Vogelenzang. The nights became a blur of unzipping tent flaps, muddy feet and scared children needing to go to the toilet, which just happened to be a five-minute walk away along a muddy track. The only other option involved getting drenched while holding a child in the correct position to allow it to pee without getting my feet and legs caught in the stream.
The appearance of the sun every morning, which started to dry out our soggy socks and shoes by midday, prevented us from going home immediately. In fact we hung in there until the end of the week we’d booked. Go-karts, a children’s playground and small swimming pool kept the children busy when we weren’t wandering around in the nearby Waterleiding Duinen.
The only other campsite I’ve stayed at in Holland is De Ruimte, which I’d recommend for its combination of nature, comfort and privacy. There are ample single family camping spots which are surrounded completely by high trees. This gives you the impression of seclusion but all spots are in fact not too far off from the modern and spacious shower rooms and all are hooked up to electricity. Families with special needs children will find this place caters particularly for people with physical disabilities.
- Camp with someone who knows how to pitch a tent and fold one up at the end of the trip–note: in wet conditions you need to dry the tent first.
- Learn how to pack a rucksack from an experienced mountain climber.
- Work out how to carry all the dirty pots, pans and plates to the washing area in one go without dropping any. Then work out how to dry them and carry them back without getting them dirty and wet again and smeared with wash-up liquid. Experienced campers bring plastic basins for this task.
- Takeat least two plastic bags: one to enable you out to arrive at the shower room in the rain with a dry towel and one for the wet towel on the return journey — the second bag houses your toilet roll on the return journey. (Funny, a Dutch friend said even the Dutch are self-conscious about walking to the toilets carryng a visible roll of toilet paper.)
- Enjoy yourself! I did, really.
You can find campsites in the Netherlands via these websites:
Best campsites in the Netherlands
If you can recommend any campsites in the Netherlands please send in the details (or add the to the end of this feature) and a short description to [email protected] so we can start building up a list for our leisure channel.
Editor Expatica Netherlands