Time to explore the northern Netherlands

Sunday

After a rather uncomfortable and long flight we arrived in rainy Holland at 6:30am, thankfully for the family who love us and came to the airport to pick us up. It’s roughly a 90 minute drive to Sliedrecht from the airport, and when we arrived, we went straight to my cousins Maricia’s house for a cuppa (this was the first time we got to see her new house, and it is really beautiful!)

After a caffeine hit we dropped mum off at my aunt Inekes place and I went home with my aunt and uncle. We spent the day just chilling out, sitting around drinking coffee and chatting which was really good. By midday the weather was sunny and warm.

In the evening we had a family dinner which was great, with the aunts uncles, cousins and partners. To stay awake for the last part of the evening, I went for a ride on the tandem with my cousin Lianne. It was hilarious!!! It involved much squealing until we got the hang of it (which thankfully didn’t take too long)

Monday

Mum and I had a really chilled day, more coffee, more chatting, we also wandered around the neighbourhood and did a bit of sticky beaking in the shops. We weren’t particularly jet-lagged but had a chilled day anyway. The weather really took a turn for the good and we enjoyed mid 20s weather sitting outdoors.

Tuesday

In the morning mum and I headed off on a road trip to the north. I was pretty apprehensive to start with, driving on the highway on the right side of the road, but was feeling pretty good after only a short time. It is pretty crazy how people drive here. Flying down a 5 lane highway, I was doing 110km/h in a 100 zone, but being overtaken by EVERYONE!!! So the standard highway speed seems to be about 120-130km/h.

The days adventures mostly entailed seeing some of the older more traditional towns. we started with Marken, that has lots of old beautiful timber houses and a few people wandering around in traditional dress. After a few hours wandering around Marken we headed to Volendam, a similar old city along the water. We stopped for some lunch there and I took the time to enjoy a rose beer (delicious fruity pink beer!).

From there we headed to Edam where I was super keen to buy some Edam cheese. Sadly I discovered that Edam cheese is not actually made in Edam, so I had some locally made cheese instead. Still very tasty.

After Edam it was starting to get a bit late in the day and we decided to head to the island of Texel since it was fairly close by, and I had never been. We were pretty lucky that we got the ferry terminal perfectly in time to drive onto the boat and head off. It was about a 20 minute trip and then we headed to the ‘capital’ of Texel, which of course was a pretty small town but of course very cute with the paved streets and little houses with gabels. We drove around the whole island, checked out the beaches and lighthouses, had some delicious dinner and then found a place to stay the night.


Wednesday

After an early start and some brekky we jumped on the ferry back to the mainland, then drove across the Afsluitdijk.

The north sea used to flow into the zuiderzee, but this regularly flooded the area. So donkeys years ago they built a dam (its called a dijk, but its technically a dam because there is water on both sides), called the afsluitdijk which is 30km long.
After crossing from one side of the land to the other we ended up in a region called Friesland.
Friesland (Fryslan) is actually kinda weird because even though it is part of Holland they have their own language, which I can’t understand at all! We headed to the city of Leeuwaarden (I wanted to go there because I just love the name of the city). We didn’t really do a great deal here, wandered around the city, went to climb the church tower, but it was closed.
From there we went to a town in the middle of nowhere called Hegebeintum (the navigation system couldn’t even find it, it was so small). That was where we went to see Holland’s highest terp. A terp is basically a big mound of dirt which is a place you evacuate to when it floods (remember the afsluitdijk has now prevented flooding in this area). So the terp in hegebeintum is8.8m high. It has a church, graveyard and a few houses. It was interesting but only took a few minutes to see really.
We had a 4:30 appointment in Grootegast, so from there we hightailed it through lots of narrow little roads, following canals, through to the city (piss tiny) of Grootegast where we met some people regarding something mum does with the dutch australian society. There we had this meeting and chat, and they took us out for dinner. While I found it all pretty awkward to start with, it actually ended up being a really pleasant evening.
After that we zoofed straight through to Groningen. A bigger city. We crashed there the night.
Thursday
We started our day sitting in the sun with a tasty brekky and a coffee at the base of the Martini tower. After brekky, I went sticky beaking around the city, climbed the Martinitower and did a little bit of shopping. While I explored the city, mum had a meeting at a school regarding a student  exchange program. After that we headed back to Sliedrecht, we had some dinner then picked up Pat and Anna from the train station (first time we have seen them since late January, so it is pretty awesome to catch up!!).
So that’s the latest and greatest. Tomorrow morning we head off to the Ardennen in Belgium for an adventure weekend away with the whole family.
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s