We all met up and took the ferry from Dover to Calais and travelled in the JollyDays van to Centre Parcs in De Kempervennen where our spacious villas were set amongst the trees and lakes surrounded by wildlife. After settling in we soaked up the local atmosphere by having dinner in a restaurant in the nearby town of Valkenswaard.
The next morning, after a hearty breakfast, we collected our bikes, and then explored the beautiful park. After lunch we ventured out to the village of Westerhoven, stopping there for a drink, before continuing on to a dairy farm at Verbergen to sample their delicious homemade ice cream. Our first cycling adventure covered 13 miles and we still had energy left for time in the fantastic pool with it’s flumes and rapids. We returned to Westerhoven for dinner and finished our action packed day with a game ten pin bowling at Center Parcs.
The next days cycling route took us to Venbergen, Borkel, Schaft, Leenderbos, and Zeelberg where we passed through a huge variety countryside from open meadows, woodland parks to forest lakes and rivers. We had a lakeside picnic lunch where we listened to the frogs croaking and an afternoon drink stop at a picturesque water mill in Venbergen. After our 18 mile cycle we thought we deserved another ice cream from our favourite dairy farm before returning to Center Parcs. Here we had a delicious barbecue then headed to the entertainment centre for the lively evening show and some time in the amusement arcade.
Our third days cycling started with a trip to Borkel to see the windmill and stroll through the pretty wildflower gardens. We continued on to Schaft for a drink stop and then to the monastery at Achelse for a café lunch. We rode on through the beautiful countryside past numerous horses, cattle and deer and with one more drink stop in Kolonie we arrived back at Center Parcs having cycled an amazing 25 miles! Some of us still had energy left for a swim before we enjoyed a sumptuous barbecue in the early evening sunshine. We finished our day by listening to the fabulous singers at the entertainment centre.
We started our last full day with a fun round of crazy golf. Then having rested our cycling legs we got back in the saddle for an afternoon ride to Valkenswaard. We looked around the shops and had a drink in the market square. We couldn’t resist riding our bikes through the fountains - what a good way to cool off in the heat! Back at Center Parcs we watched the water skiers trying to stay upright and some of us had a fun boat ride on the lake. Our last evening meal was at a favourite restaurant in Borkel where we sat al fresco enjoying the evening sunshine and great company.
On our return journey we had lunch in The Brasserie on board the ferry, a last chance to reflect on our holiday that was over too soon. We all had a fabulous time making new friends and enjoying the cycling and scenery. Well done to Anna, Jonathan T, Jonathan A, Victor, Tony and Joseph - we cycled 63 miles in 4 days, keeping fit has never been so much fun!