After the brief walk around the streets of Eindhoven, Uco picked us up in his car and we drove out to Eersel, another town that Dad lived in as a child. I didn’t realise quite how far our of town it was, so thanks to Uco for deriving us that far. It was surprising when he let us know that if we kept on this road for another 20 minutes, we’d be in Belgium. What was even more surprising was that in another two hours you could drive through Belgium and be in France! Considering when at home it would take us about 9 or 10 hours just to drive to a different state, it still kind of boggles the mind to think you could easily drive through a number of different countries in just a few hours.
For as long as I can remember, we’ve had a photo of the house in Eersel up on the wall in the hallway, and also a watercolour painting that Uncle Jaap (Uco’s father) brought over on one his visits. So it was pretty amazing after a good drive, and a walk down a few tree-lined paths, to see that actual house. Still standing, but no longer with a thatched roof – still, the moss growing over the tiled roof still gives it a nice hat. It might sound strange but it was a little bit like the ‘Empire State Building’ moment we had back in You know, something you’ve known about your whole life which you’ve only ever heard about and seen in pictures… so to be there at the actual place, yeah it was pretty cool. Anyway, before the owners came out and started asking us why we were loitering, we got back in the car.
By this stage the sun was starting to break through the clouds a bit, which was so nice to see. We stopped in at the Wings of Liberation museum – we were a little late to get in to the museum itself, but out the front there’s a great bistro/bar so we enjoyed a drink and another chance to chat. Gezellig, as the Dutch say 🙂
After that Uco was kind enough to take us back to his home in Son, where we had the pleasure of meeting his wife Cita – it’s so great to finally meet these people you only normally hear about from Facebook (or even letters in the post, in the olden days!).
Unfortunately time was marching on, and we already had plans to catch up the rest of gang for dinner – so sadly it was time to leave Eindhoven. Again, Uco was kind enough to drive us to the train station, and then it was time to say our goodbyes. I can’t thank Uco & Gerda enough for their generosity and hospitality on this day – we really enjoyed it. And it was a fantastic opportunity to get out of town, away from the ‘touristy’ places, and a chance to see the city where Dad grew up. I doubt he’d recognise Eindhoven itself, much of it looks to be quite modern, especially around the university and the High Tech Campus – though the Philips factory is still very much there, which I believe has been a constant in the city for a good many years.
For the return journey, the trains were all working like clockwork – we departed exactly on time, and arrive back at Amsterdam Centraal the exact minute the timetable said we would. When that happens in Sydney it’s usually a pretty big surprise 🙂
Catching up with our intrepid travellers, we headed out for dinner at The Alley – the place we had breakfast the day before. To describe their dinner … well it wasn’t bad, but let’s just say they do a fantastic breakfast and leave it at that. After dinner we took a bit of a wander around the streets and canals, but before too long, our good and almost-constant companion, the rain, was back again. So we cut the night a bit short – but to be honest I can’t complain about that, it was such a big day so I was pretty much ready to sleep anyway… which I guess I proved by cutting short the write-up of the day – ah well hope I don’t lose too many marks for turning in my homework a day late 🙂