Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you had a wonderful holiday, I know we did!
If you have been to my blog at this time on previous years, you have probably heard me moan about the state of affairs in the Netherlands on New Years Eve. Mainly the situation with the fireworks and my dogs. While the fireworks are great for taking photos, it’s really really bad in big cities if you have pets that are nervous. My dogs have been absolutely beside themselves every single year and each time I’d swear that it was our last time in Rotterdam on NYE.
Of course, something would always come up. Either we couldn’t afford it or we had something going on that required us to be in the city, or we just put it off too long. Not this year, though!!
After our previous visit to the Cabanes de Rensiwez in February we knew that we had found our happy place. Our place to get away from the city, people, the internet, fireworks… everything… and just be together in peace and quiet. So we booked a holiday for ourselves over the New Year period in one of their newer cabins.
We booked Cabane de Werner for four nights, which we quickly realized was not long enough. Neither of us wanted to leave! It wasn’t long before we were wishing we had extended our stay through the weekend, and we did try, but it was already booked. Pity.
Still, we loved our time there. Here are some professional photos I’ve borrowed from a travel site to give you a good view through the cabin before I share our photos, just so you can get a look at how freaking cool this place is. They are better at showing off the cabin itself than any I took while I was there.
It really was as lovely as it looks in the photos and everything was just as advertised. Let me tell you, that sofa is COMFY!! When I was looking at the photos before I went I was a little concerned, because it was hard to tell just how big it was. It could have been just a loveseat size and with myself, my husband and the two dogs, I could see that getting crowded. It wasn’t, though. It was really deep and wide and we could both stretch out across comfortably, even with the dogs.
I think the above photo shows it pretty well. It was morning and we were chilling out on the sofa with the pups. Xander with his book and me playing a bit of Carcassonne on my tablet. You can see the dimensions of the sofa just by the space we still have with us both stretched out with the dog beside my husband as well.
Seriously, I want that sofa in my house. We spent a lot of time on there. Like, pretty much all of our time.
Can you see how comfy I am? Ok, I also look a little sick, but that’s because I was. I had a heinous cold (which annoyed me because I ALSO had one on our previous visit!) but hey, is there a better place on the planet to be if you are going to be sick? I can’t think of one.
Pixel loved it too…
So did Bailey.
Plus, the view from the sofa was great, so we were happy to sit there and just look out the windows at the nothing but nature out there!
I want that view from a forever home! I want it so badly. Even now as I look at the photos I am dying to go back.
Since the point of our visits to the cabins are to chill and relax, we did just that. Other than the morning and evening walks with the dogs (usually down the hill to the office to pick up our breakfast or put in our order for the next morning), we didn’t leave the place!
We did enjoy our walks though, mostly because it was snowy and beautiful the entire time we were there…
This is the cabin from the front. It was at the end of one of the upper lanes on the hill so I’m pretty sure we were in the most secluded spot they have at the moment. It was really great with the dogs because they were able to be let off their leads to tear along the road back to the cabin at the end of our walks.
This is Xander and Bailey one morning on our way back to the cabin. We had just walked down to the office to pick up our usual morning breakfast of pain au chocolat and croissants!
Yeah it was a little colder there than here in the Netherlands, so we were bundled up nice and warm. I love this photo of us! We were so happy to be away from home and enjoying this wonderful place.
Not unlike my visit to Cabane d’Isabelle one of my favorite parts was the tub. Oh those wonderful wooden tubs!
This was a daily practice. Filling up the tub with one of my bath bombs, grabbing my ereader and soaking and sighing for as long as I felt like. Ignore the tissues, they went everywhere with me.
I really loved having the tub out in the open upstairs in the bedroom loft.
I could have a bath and not miss anything going on downstairs, still chat with my husband if I felt like it and just stare out the windows into the trees.
This is the view from in front of the tub and behind. Yeah, I had the window open behind me, I really love the whole cold above the water and hot below the water thing. I think I need a hot tub in a snowy garden at some point in my life.
Can I just say how glad I am that they put those wooden stick shutters on the upstairs windows? When I was looking at the photos before we went I was a little concerned about having the tub right in front of the window upstairs. Ok, so you are at the end of the road in a rather remote place, but still… I’m not in the habit of hanging out naked in front of windows, no matter how long I live in the Netherlands! (ha!)
No lie… and I swear I am not making this up. When I got up out of the bath after taking those photos, I just happened to look out and there was a group of people standing on the road in front of the cabin, pointing up and taking photos. Now, I’m pretty sure they weren’t pointing at me but rather just the cabin itself. I got the feeling they were walking around (as I did on my first visit) looking at the different types of cabins and taking photos. Standing on the other side of the window, naked, though? Yeah, it felt like they were pointing at me, and I silently thanked the owners for putting up those shutters. It’s possible they saw my outline or something but whew, I’m glad the window wasn’t as bare as I was, I’ll just say that!
Oh how I wish I’d gotten a photo of those people, it would have made great blog fodder. Oh well.
The purpose of our visit was to escape the madness of New Years Eve in Rotterdam, and that was a huge success. We were in bed by 10pm and other than a few faint pops from a nearby town we didn’t hear a thing. The dogs didn’t even raise their heads, which was great. When we are in Rotterdam they are beside themselves, panting, pacing and just generally freaking out. It’s horrible to watch.
In fact, the dogs were totally chilled the whole time we were away. Considering they drive us up the wall most of the time in Rotterdam, we were pretty surprised. It’s amazing how well they were behaved when they weren’t bombarded with outside factors. We didn’t even need their crates, which we would never DREAM of going without at home.
We had their crates in the car “just in case” but on the first night we decided to try just throwing their pillows and blankets on the floor to see how they’d react. I argued that we were going to regret it and I was not really happy with trying at all. I was sick, I’d not slept properly for a few nights due to a wicked cough and the thought of spending an entire night yelling at dogs to get off the bed? No, I just was not down with it.
They did try. Bailey tested the waters a few times by trying to sneak up on us to jump on the bed and I think we had to tell him probably 4 or 5 times to get back on his bed before he just stayed.
HE JUST STAYED THERE.
Maybe you need to have experienced Bailey and his clingy nature in real life to get how mind blowing that sentence is, but I ate a big ol’ piece of humble pie the next morning when I told Xander how right he was. He had faith that they’d behave themselves, and I told him he was nuts… but I was wrong. Even when I was up to get water during my coughing fits, they didn’t budge. Every night we were there they got on their little beds, curled up and went to sleep. GOOD DOGGIES!
We really need to get out of the city… man! Just thinking of how much easier our dog owning lives would be out of this flat and out of the city! Ok… yes, that’s a rant for another day.
Let’s talk about food!
Since we were staying at the cabin during the holidays, they had set up a special meal for NYE. I got a mail about it the week before we left and we hummed and hawed for a little while before deciding to go for it, and I’m so glad we did! It was a beautiful five course menu with a lot of really delicious items on it. I was a little confused about how it was all meant to stay warm while we got it to the cabin!
This is what we went and picked up. SO MUCH FOOD! Everything was packaged up pre-cooked with sauces separate and a sheet of instructions for how to heat everything up. We were a little surprised when we learned that we were meant to prepare the food as I think we both were expecting something like if you order take-out, ya know? Just open the package and it’s hot and ready to eat. It wasn’t a problem, though, as nothing required more than a few minutes in the microwave or pan and it all reheated amazingly well. Nothing had that crappy next day reheated feeling, and it was all really, really tasty.
In the end we actually preferred that they did it this way. If the sauces had been in with the meals and had not stayed warm and it all had to be reheated after that, it may have been an absolute mess… but this was really clever. They packaged it up in the perfect way to allow for it to be finished up in the cabin and it worked out great. Plus, taking the time to prepare each course gave us time to digest and slow down rather than just sitting and eating and eating and eating.
We just couldn’t believe the amount of food we got. We ate it for dinner on NYE plus lunch and dinner on New Years day. There was that much food. It was wonderful.
At this point you’re probably wondering if I was paid to write this post (I wasn’t) because I just rave about how wonderful everything is. So I’m going to share some of the not so wonderful things, because there are a few. Not deal breakers, or anything that we feel made us not want to return, but things that could definitely be improved.
Firstly, there’s the temperature issues. The design of the cabin is so beautiful, but there is some really weird temperature stuff going on in there. I mean I get the science of it all, hot air rises, cold air stays low, etc… but wow, this cabin really proves those scientific facts. The cabin is made in three levels, the kitchen at the bottom, the middle is the living area and the upstairs bedroom / bath. What’s weird is the drastic temperature difference between these three areas. The heater and the wood stove are both in the middle and while you’d think the air would move around since it’s really one big open area, it really doesn’t!
Since you spend most of the time in the living area, you tend to sort out the temperature to make that space comfortable. The only problem is that when the living area is just right, the upstairs is BOILING. Like, holy crap, it’s a sauna up in here kind of hot. The first night we were there we went upstairs and I just about had a stroke. As I said, I wasn’t feeling well and hadn’t been sleeping well, so having it choking hot was not ideal. All of the heat from the wood stove just goes straight up and sits there. It doesn’t move, it just hangs around in a hot, hot cloud. It was deadly.
On the lower level, which is really just about four steps lower, the toilet and kitchen are both freezing. The floor in the kitchen was so cold that I had to slip my boots on while I was cooking and use them as slippers and the toilet was cold enough to make me really envy my husband’s ability to stand up to pee. How on earth there can be such an enormous change in temperature in an open room with just a few steps difference in height? I have no idea, it escapes me. The upstairs I get, but the kitchen is a mystery to me.
I know, this sounds like a nightmare, right? It really wasn’t… I just wanted to throw it out and not sugar coat it. After the first night we sorted it all out and it was fine. About a half hour before we went to bed we’d let the fire die off and turn down the heater, then we’d open the windows upstairs. The downstairs would then cool off very quickly as the heat really liked to hang on upstairs. It worked out that once the downstairs started getting a little TOO cold, the upstairs would be ok and we could go up to bed. In the morning it was pretty cold when we went down but it heated up nice and quickly once we started the fire.
No amount of heat in the bedroom was going to stop my little fire bug from doing his thing, though. Just like our last trip I am pretty sure he went through five times as much wood as a non-pyro would use in the same amount of time.
So yeah anyway, if you were going to spend any amount of time upstairs, if you’ve had the fire or heater going, you have to open the windows in the loft for a little while to make it bearable. Otherwise it’s stinking hot. Most nights we still slept in the buff with the blankets thrown off, so unless we wanted to keep the window open it was never really cool up top, just less warm. We both agreed that a quiet ceiling fan where the lamp is in the ceiling above the wood stove would probably go a long way to helping to circulate the air in the room.
No matter what we did the kitchen and toilet didn’t get warmer, but we seemed to adapt after a while and it didn’t really bother me. I mean, it’s a cabin, heat rises, things are cold in the winter… . It’s nothing a thick pair of socks or slippers can’t fix, so all of these problems were easily solved and we still totally loved this cabin. I think none of this would be an issue at all in the summer.
Another small issue was the bed.
I’ll add this photo again so you can have a visual for what I’m talking about.
The bed was nice and big, I think about 160cm x 200cm, the same as we have at home. It was also really comfortable. The only problem is the setting and I think this is a personal thing. We are people who wake up through the night and check the clock, we take e-readers to bed with us, etc. With the way the it is situated, there is nowhere to put anything around the head of the bed, not without risking it falling down to the floor below. With me having such a rotten cold, I also had things like water and tissues that I needed to be able to have access to during the night, so the bed just wasn’t going to work for us the way it was.
We decided on the first night that we’d just remake the bed and sleep with our head at the other end. This also worked better as it made it easier for us to keep an eye on the dogs and prevent them from jumping up and stuff. So it was a really easy solution for us. Again, certainly not a deal breaker. Other people, who don’t take technology to bed with them or need things at night, may be happy to just crawl into bed and look out over the cabin, we’re just not those people.
At the end of the day, even with those few glitches, we still loved our visit and plan to book this cabin again. While we did love the other cabin we stayed in, this was just far more comfortable for day to day lounging and sitting around. The other cabin was comfy enough and we liked having more than one sleeping area for napping and such, but the big sofa in this made our daytime comfort so much better. It made it worth the slight hassle of making the sleeping area more comfortable each night. If they had a sofa like this one in the other cabins, like Cabane d’Isabelle (and I SO think they should!!) I think we’d probably prefer that one.
All in all this was a wonderful holiday. We were so relaxed and happy to have another little getaway in this beautiful spot. We’ve already been checking the website to see when we can return.
Just in case my few complaints about the bed and the temp made you think this isn’t an amazing place to go… here are some more photos showing the remote beauty of this place. It’s so worth having to open a window now and then!
I would never get sick of that view. Especially with the snow. I can imagine it’s pretty spectacular in the summer as well, but for some reason I can’t help but see this place as a winter retreat for me.
So, that was our New Years getaway. I honestly don’t know why we didn’t do this years ago!
If you are interested in booking a holiday in one of these amazing cabins, check out their website, they always have really weekend / midweek specials!