Travel Report: Gorp en Roovert Forest, The Netherlands.
December 2010. I’ve celebrated Christmas all over the world throughout my life in destinations as far-flung as Belgium, China, England, Hungary, Scotland and The Netherlands. I was recently flipping through my photo archives when I found myself reminded of a long ago Christmas Day hike in Gorp en Roovert Forest in The Netherlands.
Gorp en Roovert is located in the south of The Netherlands near the town of Goirle where my then in-laws lived. This beautiful forest is actually part of a huge private estate owned by the wealthy Van Puijenbroek family. However, the land is so ridiculously vast they felt moved to open the majority of it to the general public.
It was certainly a picture perfect winter wonderland that day in the forest. Even the lake was frozen over, which allowed myself, my then-wife and her father to walk right across it.
Gorp en Roovert Forest, The Netherlands.
That Christmas Day will certainly go down as one of the most surreal Christmases I’ve ever had. On the one hand it was the perfect Yuletide afternoon, a gorgeous panoramic of snowy bushes, icy trees and the soft crunch of the forest floor.
However, before coming here the three of us had spent the morning at the hospital visiting Mama. She was still recovering from a recent operation and there had been some complications. For a brief spell, things had been a little touch and go. Hence the mood was a little subdued that day rather than celebratory.
It’s weird looking back on that day nearly nine years later. It was my first visit to the forest and, little did I know it, but it would also be my last. Within two and a half years my marriage was over and, as a result, I soon left The Netherlands altogether. Nevertheless, this was still a good Christmas memory in its own way and, most importantly, Mama made a full recovery.
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