Such Happiness In Thought Happens

April 24, 2013

Holiday in Center Parcs

Filed under: Holiday — Duane @ 2:59 am

This will be the full update of our mini holiday away at the Center Parcs Kempervennen. It includes photos! There were a couple of other headings I could have used for this post:

  • Holiday within a holiday
  • Spring in 3 days

The above also sprang to mind because of what happened during our stay away. Read on for more.

UPDATED with new pics taken with the proper camera.

As mentioned in the short update, we had been booked away for a week – Monday to Friday at a Center Parcs in the south of Holland. This was to make it easier for us to take the kids to the Efterling (detailed in another post) and enjoy some time away. This link is the main site to learn more about Center Parcs and Kempervennen in particular. Agnes and I have stayed in a Center Parcs previously – our honeymoon was at Center Parcs Venlo in January 2000. So the idea of an indoor subtropical paradise with swimming pool is nothing new.

Last week Agnes and I discussed going the weekend beforehand, so that Wim and Jola could have some time off from extra people in their place, and we could have some time to ourselves as well. The price was right, so Friday mid-morning saw us driving our way to Kempervennen.

(I need to confess something – When I first heard talk of this place called Kempervennen I thought they were saying Camper vannen, so my thought was of camping vans – not something I am overly fussed about. When I asked everyone laughed and assured me that this was not the case).

Friday day was a bit of a shitty day – rain and thunderstorms were forecast and we definitely had rain. Finding the place was a tad interesting as well – the instructions from Google Maps was not overly useful. Thankfully signage was good and we found the place ok.

We stayed in a 5 person cottage/house/huisje/villa (all different names we called where we stayed to the kids) from Friday to Monday morning. It was nice, narrow and very comfortable. A late check out (around noon) was arranged, so that we could leave one place and then transfer to the other house Monday after lunch. This was the house originally booked for us as Wim, Jola and Timo would be staying with us as well. The 8 person cottage was nicer with two baths, two toilets, a nicer layout and a bit more room, but the beds (at least the ones Agnes and I slept in) were not as nice as the first house.

The Center Parc is car free – this means after dropping off your stuff at the house, you drive your car to a designated car park and then walk everywhere. It was common to see people on push bikes, or pushing/lugging wandelwagons and even the occasional golf buggy. Enough to say we did a lot of walking. The “Market Dome” is the center of the park – here you find the restaurants, a games area, supermarket, souvenir and stuff shop and access to the swimming area. It is always warm in the Market Dome. Once you are inside you take off whatever outer clothing you have and enjoy the warmth. This place has a little stream running through the area, which houses turtles (tortoises actually, but to the kids everything of that type is a turtle), gold fish and catfish. Some South American parrots and stork-like birds (can never remember their name) are also to be found.

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Eating options for Monday to Friday had already been organised as part of our stay, however we had not organised anything for the weekend. We decided to do breakfasts at the house over the weekend and went for an interesting package for dinner – 1 night at the Market Restaurant, 1 night at a restaurant called the Grill and 1 night as table cooking. The nights at the restaurants were normal, highlight being the food at the Grill as the Mixed Grill was very nice. The Grill also had singing waitresses that helped with the atmosphere. The Table Cooking was a very enjoyable experience. We have introduced some of our friends to the experienced called “Gourmet” – cooking your own food on little pans over a gas fuelled fire. This was something similar except it was electric powered. Your paid your fee and during the afternoon delivered to where you were staying was the cooking grill and a variety of foods, including dessert. There was so much food we were able to have some for breakfast the next morning. Also they gave us 3 shake and bake pancake containers, of which we only used part of one – we have the other two here still to use.

If you looked at the Center Parcs link, you would see that there are a lot of activities that you can partake. We kept ours simple – swimming. The Animal Farm was a hit with the kids, as was the playground immediately behind the farm. Saturday and Sunday the kids partook in some of the kids activities that were on offer, and on Wednesday Emma and Caitlin became princesses for a short period of time.

Enjoying the playground:

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Above is a photo of the kids with the presenters of one of the kids activities.

Saturday day we spent most of the day swimming. The Aqua Mundo consists of a number of different swimming options – a kids area, a wave pool, a coral sea exhibition, two different water slides (one of which goes outside), 2 warm spas, a tanning saloon area, a wild water area (more on this later) and an area to relax and eat. We spent most of our time in the kids area as they had a water slide appropriate for young children. I had to take Lucas the first couple of times, but he soon got the idea and was enjoying the water slide as much as his sisters. After lunch we decided to look around more. The coral sea area is where your can “snorkel” and look through glass windows at different displays. Not much fun for the kids and without my glasses I cant see much. So the wild water area was next. This turned out NOT to be such a good idea. This area is not for young children. Basically it is like a water slide, in that the water is pushed along at great speed, but instead of being in a tube, your go down rapids. This was to prove to be my undoing. Going over the first rapid, I took Caitlin on my back and went over the rapids on my belly. Somehow, and I still do not know how, I hurt myself on the right-hand side of my ribs as I either went over the rapids or at the end coming off the rapids. I forced myself to continue (I still had Caitlin to worry about) but did no more rapids on my belly.

We continued the day in the swimming area as my ribs didn’t hurt that much – tried the other slides and finished up at the kids area. By the end of the day my pain levels were at a discomfort but nothing unmanageable, or so I thought til I went to bed. Laying on my back was so painful I had to get Agnes to help me sit up. Medical staff were called to assess the situation and it was agreed that bruising was probably the situation and to treat with painkillers. I ended up being able to sleep and that was the end of my swimming at Center Parcs.

Sunday was a nice slow day in which we took a nice, long walk around the park. The weather had warmed up by this point and it was quite pleasant walking and looking around. You could see the trees striving to get their leaves out and start the growing process.

Elusive squirrels and rabbits:

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My Sunday lunch – stroopwafel pancake with stroopwafel ice cream.

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Lucas as a lion with Opa Wim.

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The kids like riding things and take every opportunity to ride if they can.

The girls as princesses from Wednesday:

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Tuesday we spent the day with an old friend of Agnes while waiting for Wim and Jola to arrive. Wednesday was the day the kids spent with their grandparents swimming and having fun. Thursday was the Efterling, which I will talk about more in another post. And Friday was spent packing and driving back home.

Emma with a present Agnes got for me. This was while feeding the ducks in a lake behind our house one day:



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