As you know, I’m a great proponent of river cruises. The first one I took was Avalon’s “Tulip Time” cruise in early April several years ago. I fell in love with the sites, people, history, food – truly every memorable moment in beautiful Belgium and the Netherlands.
The local tour guides that river cruise companies hire in the cities and towns along the way are top notch. But sometimes, after being on the go for days, it’s kind of nice to skip the tour and wander on your own. That’s always an option – as is choosing just to stay in bed or curl up reading on a deck chair in the sun. By the way, most tours are included in the price of your cruise (unlike the big ocean-going cruise ships). So keep that in mind if you’re weighing the price of a river cruise vs. the other kind.
Middleburg is located in the Zeeland area of the Netherlands and is perhaps most famous for its 12th century Abbey. I hear it’s well worth a visit, but on the day we were in Middleburg, my cousin Carole and I decided to sleep in, then wander into the town on our own. We found some lovely little shops, as well as a department store where I bought a couple inexpensive household items that are probably standard fare in Europe but fun and exotic to me.
On our way back to the ship, we stopped for coffee in a charming cafe. We just ordered coffee – but coffee included a little container of whipped cream to top it off, a couple cookies and a shot glass with something alcoholic (if I remember correctly) – all presented using flowered mugs and a doily-covered platter. Sigh. I wish I could go back to that cafe and linger over coffee and a pastry on this quiet, cloudy Saturday morning in Ohio.
Have a wonderful weekend – and happy travels!