Our first destination was the Seal Rescue Facility. This little spot is dedicated to saving and rehabilitating seals. We got to see some babies in the nursery and some older seals basking their big bellies in the sun, (reminding us of a certain other four legged white creature). The only slightly disturbing thing was the poster condemning the Canadian seal hunt that depicted the Canadian flag as white snow and a red maple leaf made out of blood. I wonder if they know that a lot of Canadians are against the seal hunt too. Whatever the case we weren’t announcing our nationality there.
After that we found our hotel and had some supper, (probably a bit too much supper as our bellies were full for the rest of the evening.) The next morning after a rather sad breakfast buffet (why do all hotels do such a bad job of these?), we headed to the botanical gardens. Mother Nature was not accommodating and rained on us all day. We had a few clear breaks which allowed us the running tour of the garden. It was huge and beautiful. There were many different areas including; a re-creation Chinese Feng Shui garden with fountains, pagodas and a tea house; a Celtic garden; English gardens; a Dutch woodland and meadow; an herb garden; a rock garden and many small themed gardens.
There was also a large green house, which we could enjoy despite the rain, which was divided into several different climates, much like the gardens in A’dam. They also had a parrot rescue facility with many different varieties of parrots around the gardens. I would really like to go back on a sunny day and enjoy it further.
After our soggy experience we decided to see the sights from the warmth of the car. We left Groningen province and went south into Drenthe. We spent more times exploring the back roads and then finally headed home. One thing I often remark on to Andrew, and it never ceases to amaze me, is how the Dutch take such good care of everything – in particular their homes and gardens.Whether it is a huge farmhouse or a tiny cottage, 9 times out of 10 they are immaculate. The gardens are so elaborate and well tended, that going for a drive is like a driving garden show. I hope I can have the same success with my Belgian garden.