27.07.23 Liveryman Simon Gurney

The Coachmakers visit to The Netherlands 25th-28th April

Liveryman John Knightley arranged another wonderful trip, this time to Gouda in Holland, when 23 members, including the Master, made their way to an excellent hotel in the middle of this lovely medieval town on Tuesday 25th April for a three-day extravaganza. The first evening was spent at the appropriately named “Unique” restaurant for at least eight courses and differing wines. (Your correspondent lost count).

The next day was a visit to the wonderful Louwman car museum in The Hague where we were privileged to be given a whole day conducted tour by the Managing Director, Ronald Kooyman. This is an exquisite display of more than 250 cars, memorabilia and silver which trace the whole history of the automobile from the early coaches with steam engines to the modern day, including a lovely Silver Ghost built by Past Master Robert Croall’s family firm.

The second day was a visit to the Keukenhof gardens which claim to be the world’s greatest spring garden and it deserves the accolade. More than 7 million bulbs are planted every year and the garden is then open for eight weeks after which all the bulbs are dug up and composted. Did you know it takes 25 years to grow a bulb from a seed? Thursday, the King’s birthday, was a public holiday with everyone wearing orange and there was a live rock concert in the main square in Gouda. The Coachmakers avoided it!

The last night was another gastronomic delight in the hotel which that week had just received its first Michelin star. If you are “on the wagon” or a diet, the Knightley tours are definitely not for you!

The final day was a visit to the Vermeer exhibition, with Girl with a pearl earring being the centrepiece.

If you were not on the tour, you missed a treat.