We needed to the get out, on a low budget and in a short time. Before December and my busy time of the year, because until the summer of 2017 we would not have a chance to go on a trip. The low budget and the short time were my main arguments to convince Desy we would go around Holland this time. Even after we hit the road she was still fighting the whole plan, but our home country would grow on her in this week.
The first night we would spent on the Veluwezoom, but before we would get there we visited family in Arnhem. After picking up a 99,- euro parking ticket we got into the van and soon we were driving into the nature park. The Netherlands are super flat, and I did not expect to find little hill roads and hairpin corners so I was highly surprised to be driving these beautiful roads.
We arrived at a spot overlooking the flowing hills, covered with low vegetation and some pine trees in the distance. Water had carved out trails in the white dune sand, that had us stumbling down the hill. We were so hoping to see deer, or wild boar but the only animals we saw were Paco our dog and Huubje our cat. While the sun was setting we got back to the van and got ready for sleep. Before we even were ready to go to sleep a police man and woman armed with flashlights politely asked us to find a spot outside the park to sleep. This was first time ever the police told me to move away, I always knew this day would come, but it’s a big shame that we could not sleep in this beautiful spot.
We parked right outside the park on a small parking, and the night was memorable none the less, because we slept with both our cat and dog in the van since a long time.
Next day we were going to see the famous village of Gierhoorn. Its allegedly known for not having roads but only small waterways, the people move around in small boats and in winter they ice-skate everywhere. The truth is not really close to that but is is beautiful and being a tourist in our own country we rented a little boat to get around. It not being the touristic season there were barely any people. We walked and drove the boat around for hours, loved the old Dutch houses the waterways and the open water, felt pretty good to be Dutch at this point.
On Our way to Giethoorn while Desy was sleeping I notice a parking, the parking was separated from the road by some bushes. The road cut a lake in half and had water view on 360 degrees, and I knew we should sleep there. Driving there we got into a fight because Desy wanted to stop and take pictures of the sunset but I knew the pictures would be better from the parking. That evening was officially the most beautiful sunset of the year, and the timing to arrive at this parking was unreal.
The next morning we were going to try out the camping oven that we got from Rough-Side. It is a foldable oven that sits right on top of the stove and it amazing! We mixed eggs with veggies and backed them in the oven and bagels accompanied them when they were close to being done. Best breakfast in the van by far!
We set of to Groningen in the North of The Netherlands, to visit a World War II deportation camp and old “Viking” graves called dolmens. Desy started her life in The Netherlands 10 years ago in Groningen and we loved visiting the city after last seeing it 9 years ago. To Desy the city gained 1 big attraction since she lived there and we walked into it by accident, a cat cafe, she was over the moon, I thought it was mostly a lot of girlyness in 1 room.
The dolmen on the other hand was amazing, we arrived at night and did not get a real feel of it but in the morning it looked amazing! The deportation camp had us fall from one amazement into the other. Unbelievable the things that happened at this camp just a few years back.
Next we drove over “De afsluitdijk” an important part of the Dutch defence to keep the water out of our country. It is a dike that spit the inland sea to create a lake on 1 side and a sea on the other side. On the other side of this lake our goal was Volendam, every thought that pops up in your head by thinking of The Netherlands is displayed in Volendam. A fisherman village with typical old Dutch houses and facades. It really looks like a theme park that shows and makes you feel the old Dutch everything. The winds were strong that day and we had a hard time finding a place to sleep, we settled right at the shoulder of a dike that guards the village from the lake. Next day we were going to another Dutch site, De Zaanze Schans.
De Zaanse schans is a little winding road with on 1 side green fields and on the other side water. Half in the water half on the land every 100 meters or so a windmill was whooshing in the strong wind of that day. I was so excited, so deeply interested in the windmills that I could not wait to see the insides. I finished woodworker school and I am still professionally involved with wood every day. We choose to go in an restored wood cutter windmill. Pictures do not fully show the look and feel of this windmill but since I have no Idea how to describe this monument that’s all I can show.
After this week of being a Dutch tourist in our own country we left the Kinderdijk and drove home. We loved this trip, and even Desy came to the conclusion that we live in a beautiful country! After this trip I can finally talk about travelling and not feel guilty about not having seen my own country. I am Dutch and I am proud to be so!
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