Pack your bags and slip into your overalls — we’re headed to the farm!
Between now and Eurovision 2020 in Rotterdam, Wiwibloggs is touring the country to collect travel tips and tricks for Eurofans. It’s all to help you assess potential excursions and daytrips away from Rotterdam, so you can discover more of the country during the song contest. Our first stop? Boerderij Farm & Recreation in the beautiful province of Friesland. Here’s what went down…
Cow cuddling in Friesland
As a child riding in the car with my aunt and uncle, I’d always point to pastures and say, “Mooooo Cow.” It was sort of a rite-of-passage for us kids in rural communities and the giggles would fill the silence as we drove from place to place, past one pasture after another.
Fast forward a few decades and that distance — me to window to road to cow — remained the closest I’d ever been to our bovine friends. So it was with a mix of excitement and just a bit of fear that I approached the news we’d be going cow hugging, an experience that would ultimately prove life-changing.
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Mooooove over ? Getting to know some gorgeous Dutch milk cows. Any guesses where we are in The Netherlands? ?? We’ll reveal all on @wiwibloggs when we start sharing the footage in a few weeks as part of our @visit_holland adventure on the road to #Eurovision 2020 ?? ??? . . . . . . . . . . #farm #farmlife #cows #cow #farmanimals #wiwibloggs #nederlands #netherlands #visitnetherlands #visitholland #holland #sister #brother #hapa #hapas #green #browncow #milkcow #esc2020 #eurovision2020 #eurovisionsongcontest #rotterdam2020 #instatravel #instatravelling
The drive from the Frisian capital Leeuwarden to Boderij Farm was scenic and peaceful. The Dutch landscape is incredibly flat, offering vistas of trees, windmills and endless grass for miles. Our arrival at the farm felt like a homecoming. We parked, surrounded by a sea of green and and blue, and were quickly greeted by our hosts.
Within seconds, the most adorable black and white kitten came bounding towards us. I picked him up and he began to purr. He was followed by a sleek black, white and caramel girl, also excited meet us. She jumped into my arms and did not want to be put down. My heart was already melting. The connection between man and animal was already real.
Geeske Holtrop — the matriarch of the farm and queen of its cows — joined us and walked us into a public dining area where she educated us on the history of her family’s farm, which dates back to 1753. We indulged in the King’s cake — sweet, soft, frosted and delicious — and washed it down with some tea and coffee.
Full of sugar and caffeine, it was time to prepare for our main activity: hugging the cows. That involved first learning the proper technique for greeting our very large four-legged friends.
We were provided with adorable overalls — I think y’all Europeans call them dungarees? It was to make sure that we smelled like the farm, so that the cows would feel comfortable with us. We also slipped into Wellies to avoid getting soggy feet in the event of rain. (It can go from sunny to wet in a matter of seconds in The Netherlands). And, perhaps more importantly, to avoid any spillage from the cows who, let’s face it, defecate rather frequently!
And then we saw them: More than 200 cows eating, laying, grazing and generally hanging out. They’re all milk cows — aka, females who provide milk — and no bulls live on the farm. It’s so that the women can live in peace without the constant tension that comes with horny bulls running about.
I greeted my first new friend by stroking her from behind and then on the side before sitting with her and enjoying a bit of girl time. She was so sweet — something that came through her large, intelligent eyes with beautiful, long eye lashes. As I sat up against my beautiful big boned girlfriend (I had no idea how large cows are!), I could feel our hearts beating in sync. I asked her for a kiss and she turned her nose towards me and nudged my chin. Kissed by a cow who will forever remain in my heart. As I thanked her and prepared for the last step in cow cuddling (laying on her back), she let me know that she was not ready for me to leave by standing and showing me how forcefully cows excrete. What’s the name of that Eurovision song from Georgia in 2013? Waterfaaaaaall!
The meet and greet and cuddling continued. I was overwhelmed by these creatures and the pure love in their hearts.
A part of me was hesitant to venture to the farm. Animals deserve to be treated with respect and they certainly aren’t play things. But I learned very quickly about the great care and love the family Holtrop gives to their cows. They almost seem like an extension of their own family. Geeske — her names means Grace in English — knows the personalities and names of her cows. And it was very clear they were familiar with — and indeed fond of — her.
I learned that all cows are queens. Their anatomy even includes a crown. It’s a fitting attribute for these beautiful creatures.
I have not eaten beef since my visit to the farm.
This trip was sponsored by NBTC Holland Marketing, but all opinions are ours alone. We’ll be traveling throughout the Netherlands between now and Eurovision 2020 to give you travel ideas for your trip to ESC. Shout-out to wiwibloggs video editor Oranie. Merci, madame!
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Video on our visit to @boerderijrecreatie up! • We sure do love our new #cow friends!? • And, we know that all of our @wiwibloggs #Eurovision #family will, too! On the #RoadToRotterdam – this is a must-do! Add this to your agenda NOW! • @williamleeadams & I stopped eating beef after making these new friends. One can’t eat a “friend of a friend.” • Video at: https://youtu.be/dA9SINN5s4A • Thank you again, @visit_holland! • #cows #farm #farmlife #dairycow #dairyfarm #rotterdam #eurovisionsongcontest #eurovision2020 #esc #esc2020 #green #visitholland #holland #thenetherlands #netherlands #nederlands #hapa #brother #sister #brotherandsister #allcowsarequeen #drinkmoremilk #eatlessbeef