Archive for the ‘The Netherlands’ Category

De Rotte

One day in December I rented a bike in Rotterdam and followed the river Rotte (which Rotterdam is named after) almost all the way to its source. It’s a beautiful trip, especially on this frosty sunny day! A very Dutch landscape, with a lot of windmills…

Bike path along de Rotte

Panorama of the bike path along de Rotte

There are houses along some parts of the river. Must be a nice place to live!

Boats on de Rotte

Houses along de Rotte - must be a nice place to live!

Panorama of the pretty views along the road

I rented my bike from the train station. The train company has a very good deal on rental bikes, and I only paid 3,20 euro for 24 hours. So convenient!

The bike I rented for only about 3 euros!

Beautiful house on the river…

Nice house along de Rotte

At some point you reach the recreation area Rottemeren. A really nice area where no cars are allowed, and there are many jetties in the lake. Some were very fotogenic, I took a lot of photos of this nicely shaped jetty…

Jetty panorama

It was such a beautiful frosty day!

I took a lot of photos of this photogenic jetty

Another windmill along the way…

Another windmill along the way

Which also had a jetty next to it…

Windmill and jetty - there were a lot of similar jetties

Here I crossed a bridge over the river and returned along the path on the other side. Nice view from the bridge!

View from the bridge over de Rotte

Further along I saw this pretty bridge…

Pretty bridge over de Rotte

I cycled back along the Kralingse Plas, a really nice lake with amazing views of Rotterdam. Here they also built some jetties, and I love the Rotterdam skyline view on the other side.

The jetty at the Kralingse Plas - I love the view towards Rotterdam from here

A jogger on the jetty

After this, I cycled back to the central station to return my bike. The station is a really cool modern building…

Panorama of the very cool train station in Rotterdam

I had cycled 38 km – beautiful ride! Here is a map of the trip…

Map of my bike trip

Birthday Bike Ride

My birthday was the day after we came back from Florida. Michiel had to work, and I was lazy most of the day. The weather was beautiful though – cold but sunny – so in the end I decided to go for a little bike ride around sunset. I don’t have my own bike in Rotterdam, but it’s very easy and cheap to rent one at the train station. This photo is from the short walk to the train station…

On the way to Rotterdam central station to pick up a rental bike

It took me a while to get out of Rotterdam, I lost my way a bit and ended up in some quite industrial areas. I was almost afraid I’d miss the sunset, but finally it started to get pretty when I reached the small village of Zweth.

Beautiful building housing a restaurant in Zweth

From here, I followed a very narrow walking/cycling path that follows the Berkelse Zweth (a small river). The path is so narrow you have to pay attention, as you could easily end up in the water! I loved the colours and the calm scenes along the river…

Along the narrow path

Behind me the sunset had become very beautiful and very red…

Beautiful sunset!

Passing a house while continuing on the narrow path…

Continuing on the very narrow path

One last look at the sunset from the bridge over the river…

One last look at the pretty sunset

After that I cycled back to Rotterdam quite quickly, as it was getting dark and much colder. I was glad I convinced myself to go for a bike ride and that I got to enjoy this sunset!

Lelystad – Ameland – Texel – Lelystad: by plane!

Four years ago, I went flying with my brother for the first time (blog here). I really wanted to go again, but somehow we could never make it work while I was in the Netherlands. But this summer we finally did, and how! We had PERFECT weather, and we decided to fly from Lelystad (where his flight club is based) to Ameland, then to Texel and then back. A day trip 🙂

Jakob on his way to boarding the plane

We flew north towards Kampen, nice landscape with the meandering Ganzendiep.

Het Ganzendiep at Kampen, a branch of the IJssel river

and my brother even let me fly for a while – which I found terrifying. You have to think of so many things at the same time, I found it stressful – I guess you get used to it though. I much preferred just to look at the landscape and take photos 🙂

Dutch landscapes where Overrijsel, Drenthe and Friesland meet

Here we’re flying over Friesland, and reaching the coast.

Friesland

A farmer at work…

Farmer at work

Ameland, one of the five Dutch Wadden Islands.

Ameland

Lots of caravans near the beach…

Crazy amount of caravans on Ameland...

HUGE beaches 🙂

Huge beach at Ameland

Beautiful beach at Ameland

The lighthouse on Ameland (Bornrif), and the island Terschelling in the distance.

The lighthouse at Ameland, Terschelling in the distance

We landed on Ameland, and had lunch outside – really nice. Then we walked back to “our plane” and set off for our next stop, the island Texel!

Another photo of the beach at Ameland

I loved the play of clouds, light and sea here 🙂

Love the play of the clouds, sunlight and water here :)

Windmills near Harlingen

Windmills near Harlingen

And boats leaving the harbour of Harlingen…

Boats leaving the harbour of Harlingen

The amazing Wadden Sea, where low tides brings out lots of sand banks.

The amazing Wadden Sea with lots of sand banks showing up at low tide

Mussel aquaculture near Texel…

Apparently these are for mussels - near Texel

And Texel itself 🙂

Texel

This is a place I was very familiar with from cycling around Texel. I love all the different colours in the water, from green to brown to blue!

A familiar place for me on Texel, love all the different colours of the water

We landed at Texel airport, had a drink in the sunshine and watched the parachutes land. And then it was time for the final lap, back to Lelystad.

Ready for take off!

Leaving Texel…

Leaving Texel

Den Helder on the left, Texel on the right…

Den Helder on the left, Texel on the right

De Afsluitdijk, a 32 km long dike which closes off the IJsselmeer (now a lake, used to be part of the sea).

De Afsluitdijk, a 32 km long dike that closes off the IJsselmeer (now a lake, previously sea)

A big holiday park near Andijk, and nice pattern on the water.

A holiday park near Andijk, with a nice pattern on the water

Sailing boats and amazing colours on the IJsselmeer…

Sailing boats on the IJsselmeer, love the different colours in the water

The Houtribdijk, which goes from Enkhuizen to Lelystad. Even more clear colour difference here, so pretty!

The Houtribdijk from Enkhuizen to Lelystad, with even more extreme colour differences

Reaching Flevostad, a relatively new area of the Netherlands (reclaimed from the sea).

Near Lelystad

With lots of windmills and big fields for agriculture:

Flevoland and all its windmills

In for landing 🙂

In for landing!

What a fantastic day!!

De Pontjesroute

During my last week in the Netherlands, my Swedish friend and colleague Jakob came to visit. Of course we went to Amsterdam, but I also wanted to show him the “real” Netherlands – part of the country that I find really beautiful, which looks very very Dutch, which is actually the part you can rightfully call Holland 😉 but perhaps best of all, without hordes of tourists! And of course this had to be done by bike 🙂

We took the train to Uitgeest and started cycling from there. The route we followed most of the way is called “de pontjesroute” or the “ferry route”, as you use 4 ferries – one big one that you share with cars, one small one just for bikes, and (extra fun!) two self-service ferries 🙂 (For a map of our route, and a link to the official map – scroll down to the bottom)

It didn’t take long until we spotted the first windmill…

The first windmill of the day, on the way out of Uitgeest

We cycled on a very narrow path next to the lake (barely wide enough for two bikes next to each other). We watched a sailing school with many sailing boats on a canal.

Sailing boats

And we cycled past another windmill, with a small bridge and sluice next to it. The windmill was in use, and the sluice also opened by appointment, for canoes and small boats.

Windmill panorama

Mill & bridge

Not long after that, we took the first self-service ferry. There is a cable running over the bottom and you can wind it by turning a wheel. It’s quite hard work actually!

One of the self-service ferries

A nice old cafe next to the bike ferry at Spijkerboor.

Nice old cafe next to the ferry at Spijkerboor

The bike ferry called Jan Hop, where we paid a small fee for the crossing.

The bike ferry Jan Hop

In this region of the Netherlands there are a lot of wooden houses with this characteristic green colour.

The typical green wooden houses of this region

De Rijp, which I think is the prettiest small town in the Netherlands. I once stayed there in winter, in an amazingly pretty B&B, click here for photos of that trip.

De Rijp, one of my favourite places in the Netherlands

A small and narrow (one person wide) bridge in De Rijp.

One of the many canals and bridges in De Rijp

The very pretty town hall and bridge in De Rijp.

The town hall and the bridge at De Rijp

Ice cream time! We spent a lot of time in De Rijp, visiting the town hall and the church famous for its collection of stained-glass windows. If anyone is interested, here is a video I found on youtube, showing the inside of the church. We donated our last coins to the church, as it looked like it badly needed renovation!

Ice cream time!

We went for a walk around the many pretty streets of the town. There are many canals – must be fun to grow up here and play with boats 🙂

Boys playing with a boat, must be so much fun to grow up here

We bought a picnic lunch from the supermarket here, hoping to find a nice place to stop and eat it. Just outside de Rijp however, we had to cycle through a very open area, against the wind, and partly next to a busy road. The views were still great though: flat fields with grass, water, farms and a big big sky 🙂

A very Dutch panorama

Oh and cows of course!

Cows and a very pretty sky

We actually cycled all the way to Akersloot where we finally found a really nice place to stop by the lake. Very good, as I think we couldn’t have cycled much further, we were starving!

A bench by the lake

It was such a nice day and it was great to lie in the grass for a while.

Falling asleep by the lake, such a nice place

When we got to Castricum, we had to decide whether we would take the train from there, or finish the circle by continuing to Uitgeest. In the end we decided to do neither of this: instead we cycled to the beach at Castricum aan Zee (Castricum by the Sea).

Jakob on the beach

I loved the skies that day! We stayed at the beach for a long time, almost staying for the sunset, until we remembered that we still had some distance to bike to get to the train station in Castricum.

The beach, dunes and a very pretty sky at Castricum

Here is a map of the route we cycled, which was almost 50 km in total. The official map of the pontjesroute can be found here

Map of our cycling trip

From Castricum we took the train back home again. We were exhausted after a long day of cycling (much of it against the wind, as it always seems to be in the Netherlands), but what a fun day!