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Dutch Delights: to my surprise, the Netherlands proved to be a great place for a short touring holiday by car. Avoiding the better known attractions of Holland proper- the great cities of Amsterdam and The Hague, and the day-trip magnets in their vicinity, we got a sense of the 'real Netherlands ' the areas around Groningen, Arnhem, and the wonderfully named
's-Hertogenbosch.

Here's a classic Dutch scene, from the well-nigh perfect small town of
Heusden, in North Brabant (some 50 miles south-east of Rotterdam) - and barely a tourist in sight, on a fine spring day. It's popular with Dutch day-trippers, but I sensed little known outside the country.
And amazingly, Heusden is pretty car-friendly (the Dutch seem to be serious about making all types of transport a decent experience, in the right place): free parking available in an attractive old fortress 5 minutes walk from the centre. OK, you have to be a local (and perhaps have a classic car) to be able to get this close to the harbour - which, interestingly was only created in this form in a 1970s restoration, in place of what used to be the car park!
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The Grote Markt in Goes, in the western province of Zeeland; another great little town, well off the tourist trail
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I don't know how typical this was, but the service area at De Somp, Appeldoorn, was an eye-opener - as was this €1 special offer, from La Place all over Holland this April …