John’s experience in Etten-Leur

During my five mile drive to site each morning it’s very noticable how cars give way to bikes, there are cycle paths everywhere, an absence of hills, all bikes have luggage racks and lots of secure covered cycle parking is available……… the UK has a very long way to go.

Cycle parking at the hotel.


Initial concerns about running a training course in a foreign country quickly evaporated, everyone speaks excellent English and seems to understand every word – occasionally the group reverts to speaking Dutch to discuss some detail points but then take the trouble to summarise that discussion in English, probably because I’m looking blankly at them.  Of course the only Dutch words I can remember are ‘Circuit Zandvoort’ and “Arnhem a Bridge to Far”.  Although everyone speaks English they pointed out that they do struggle with a Newcastle accent and for some reason phrases such as “Yer gannin’ proper radgie, man. Caln doon, al mek a cuppa.” seem to cause difficulty.

At lunchtime, everything stops as we briskly head to the site canteen, the idea is to get there early enough to make sure some Kroketten are still available. Dutch Kroketten are about ten times larger than croquettes found in the U.K. and seem to consist of potato together with some unidentified meat in a savoury béchamel sauce rolled in breadcrumbs. This sought after delicacy is then enthusiastically mashed onto a slice of rye bread before being eaten with a sliced boiled egg on top.


Having skilfully avoided Kroketten yesterday, my hosts encouraged me to try them today. As fast food goes it was fine but its unlikely they will feature on our menu at home.
Soup also seems very popular and my hosts were rather surprised when I declined soup to go with the Kroquettes they had acquired for me. Even the hotel has six different soups on the menu, one of which is courgette and we’re tempted to take some home for Matt!


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