The Netherlands

 

Pictures of a Dutch Private Guide Motor Tour

 

A series of pictures taken in May 2007, when Tom and Joyce from South Carolina visited The Netherlands and had a day to spare.

I arranged a rental bike for them and took them out to see some of the sights of the northern part of Holland.

Of course including the inners of a windmill, our more than 600 year old towns along the old Zuiderzee, the main dikes and some good Dutch food !

 

First thing that needed to be done was to inspect the rental BMW for scratches and such. And note the mileage of course. We did a little under 300 kilometers this trip, with lots of picture-taking stops !

The dealer is Motoport in Wormerveer, near Zaandam, and they have a wide collection of bikes, but also clothing and accessories.

 

Tom and Joyce are fitting their gear here, anxious to get it done with.. and ON the bike !

Oh, here are some pictures of the route we took. We wanted to ride AROUND the northern part of the IJsselmeer (the large lake on the right of the green line), but ran out of time for that.

So in the end we doubled back over the main dike.

 

Everything sorted now, and packing their stuff in the RT’s cases, before hitting the Dutch roads !

First stop, the obligatory Dutch windmill of course ! May sound like a cliche, but these things really form an important part of our country’s history, and existence even. The museum in Beemster has an interesting 10-minute video and a collection of tools, pictures, and of course a REAL working windmill!

Next stop was my home town, Hoorn, and a visit to the old harbor area. This town is now officially 650 years old (in 2007). Actually it is much older, but it received official ‘town’ status 650 years ago. And the right to build a defensive wall around it. The wall has gone, but a few of the old guard towers are still there ! These are from around 1480, just before America was discovered !  

 

Happy customers ! That’s the old harbor tower in the back, the yellow upper structure was built in 1532, the tower itself is older.

From Hoorn we followed the old Zuiderzee Dike, passing little sleepy villages as Schellinkhout, Wijdenes and Ooterleek, winding up at Enkhuizen. Enkuizen (and Medemblik) resembles Hoorn a lot. All these towns were built and flourished about the same time.

We passed through the old town center and then headed through the wide open Wieringermeer Polder towards the Afsluitdijk…. the large Dike connecting the provinces of Noord-Holland and Friesland.

We stopped at the monument that marks the closure point of the dike, back in 1932. I is where the two teams, building from the two provinces, met and closed the dike. We found a lone fishing boat checking his nets

 

 The dike is around 30 kilometers long. On this picture, taken from atop of the monument tower, you see the North Sea (Atlantic) on the left, and the (now closed and renamed IJsselmeer) Zuiderzee on the right. Left is salt water, right is sweet water (and the level is lower too!).

 Always a place to park a bike……

 The photo below shows a ‘mosaic’ in the dike…. X marks the spot (where we were), the yellow parts are sandy grounds (beach, dunes and forest ground) above sea level… the white part is ‘land’ (some of it below sea level), and the gray areas are the main polders that were built (dried) after WW2… and ALL below sea leve !

More packing, dressing and making photos of course…..

              

Once we crossed the dike, with a HEAVY wind facing us all the way, we arrived at Harlingen. A bit later than planned, but hey, what’s a plan when you are on holiday !!??

This is the new harbor tower of Harlingen. Unlike the old towns in Noord Holland, Harlingen still borders on the North Sea and has big locks to protect the harbor from high tide….. and Southwestern storms.

Ultimately, this is what we crossed the dike for, and braved the Easter storm all those unprotected miles !!

The Harlingen Poffertjes Kraam! It is a pancake restaurant, but here they also serve the typical Dutch specialty of ”poffertjes’. Pancakes the size of Oreo Cookies, baked with 50 or 60 at a time in a large cast-iron baking plate over a good fire.

Traditionally they are served covered in powder sugar and with a good measure of real butter over them !

YUMMIE !!!!

Hope you enjoyed the tour as much as Tom, Joyce and I did !

 

All material on this web site is Copyright (C) 2006-2008 of Silver Cloud Publishing and François A. Dumas

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