Mother's column – Running around in a castle
One of the girls with whom I once lived together as a student, has become a mother. Planning a maternity visit does take some effort, as she now lives on the Dutch island of Texel, where you can only go by taking a ferry. That will make a nice day trip with the kids during the holidays.
"Shall I look around the area for a hotel?" I ask Jan last minute, and of course, he thinks it's an excellent idea. However, the number of vacancies is dreadfully disappointing, even when I expand the search area to the whole of the province. Everything is fully booked, except for a few hotel rooms and Airbnb's that cost more than 400 euros a night.
But then I find a website with hostels via Google. "Jan!" I exclaim. "Look at this! A six-person bedroom in a castle, not expensive at all, breakfast included." The website even mentions that children are allowed to run through the hallways. Now I know for sure: this is meant for us! We must bring our own towels and make up our three bunk beds, but who cares.
Neline is married and the mother of five: Martha (9), Abel (7), Jolijn (5), Reinout (3) and Sifra (1).
Maybe we could combine our trip with a visit to the Corrie ten Boom house, I suggest to Jan. But then it turns out that you have to make reservations for a visit these days. And that everyone does so weeks in advance. Bad luck for people who live by the day.
Fortunately, there is plenty to do inside the castle. Whereas Assumburg Castle was a residence of the nobility for centuries, it is now a coming and going of backpackers and families with adventurous children.
I do worry a little about the casement window in our room though. Sifra likes climbing a lot, so I can picture her climbing the chair via the stroller and then crawl over the little table out of the window, right into the moat. "I think she'll just get stuck in the gutter", Martha reassures. Oh yes, that makes a difference. Yet, I fold the stroller anyways.
The other children can climb to their heart's content in our room. You can clamber over the truss to a small attic with a little effort. That is immediately renamed "the hut".
Incidentally, on the day of arrival, we hear that my friend has become sick with the flu. The maternity visit is thus postponed. A pity, but still not so bad. Because we would love to come back here again. We better book the Corrie ten Boom house in advance.
Mother's column – where is Reinout?
Mother's column – singing like a bird