Last weekend I spent a long weekend in The Netherlands, and it might surprise you to find out that, no, I haven't been to Amsterdam! Instead, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to explore the beautiful countryside in the central eastern province of Gelderland.

There will be more posts to come detailing the ins and outs of what I got up to on my travels, but I wanted to start by sharing a few of my observations on the Dutch countryside.

The Dutch have a bit of an obsession with windmills. It wouldn't really be a post about Holland if I didn't mention windmills, would it? But seriously. Every few miles as we were driving along you would spot a windmill in the distance. In residential areas every other garden would be adorned with miniature windmills. And it's not just traditional windmills either, there's a lot of wind turbines too.

They also have an obsession with bicycles. Again, everywhere you went you would see bicycles. Whole families cycling down the street. Rows and rows of bicycles parked up outside the shops. Even the occasional ornamental bicycle. They really have some respect for cyclists too; every road has a cycle track running parallel and where an off-road cycle path crosses a road, the cyclists are given priority!

Everything is so perfect. Every building was unique but equally grand and beautiful. Every piece of grass was cut to perfection. There were no run down areas at all, nothing out of place anywhere and never a piece of litter in sight. I never tired of staring out of the window as we drove around trying to spot something that wasn't perfect, but I never succeeded!

There are deer parks in every town. I have no idea about the origins of this or the reasons for it, but every town really has a deer park. Just a small patch of land with a fence around it, home to a couple of families of deer. It is so random, but such a beautiful idea. I have to say I enjoyed bonding with a few deers keen to eat the grass straight from my hands.

Have you ever been to Holland?

PS. For things to do in Holland check out these posts on The Gardens of Apeltern and Palais Het Loo.