Saturday, June 02, 2007

Roadtrip: Volendam, Edam, and Urk

First Stop: VOLENDAM

Not sure where to go in the weekend, a bright idea hit me. I told Dutchman we will go to North Holland province and revisit Volendam. We both have been in this charming fishing village 6 years ago and the visit was actually nice, we were retracing our footsteps... Did we not walk on here? Oh hey, we ate in this restaurant remember? Oh, I was in this shop.

The village looked exactly the same 6 years ago. Dutchman scoffed, “If not because of you, I would never ever set a foot here! And now again!” (he does not like villages lol)

The epitome of Dutch architectural representation, the mini draw bridge

Busy Centrum of Volendam, probably the most popular side trip made by tourists leaving from Amsterdam.

Two children playing with the fisherman statue - the kid in blue jacket is sticking his finger up into the fisherman’s nose! Bad kid, he needs a spank, lol.

This house has an interesting backdoor facing the main street.

Some information of interest: Volendam is a tightly knit place. The proof -- people marry each other in the village, even their own kin I heard (I know, I was shocked when I first learned about this too). Dutchman said, an outsider will always remain an outsider to them so if you move here, be prepared of the consequence.

Second Stop: EDAM

We also checked out Edam, a small village 5 kilometers away. This is where the famous “Edammer kaas” (Edam cheese) came from. Surprisingly, the place was not busy, say, compared to bustling and touristy fishing village of Volendam. The weather was also gloomy, a bit cold with drizzles every now and then. Perhaps that played a role too.

The main little bridge in the Centrum facing the square.

In the Centrum of Edam... the yellow wooden shoes decor, may look worn out, yet still very charming.

Moi here in the center of Edam.

Scenes in Edam, love the pots and pans foto.

In Edam they also have the regular cheese market and the traditional cheese trading show just like the one in Alkmaar, see my old entry here for reference: Cheese town Alkmaar

Both villages, Volendam and Edam are celebrating their 650 years as a municipality in North Holland province.

What we didn’t know was the Afsluitdijk (closure dike/dam) is having its 75th year anniversary that day. Had we known earlier, we would have driven there! We drove instead to the other dike highway (kilometers long) between Enkhuizen and Lelystad.

Third and Last Stop: URK

The plan was to go to Giethoorn, the Venice village of the Netherlands. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time in our hands, so I suggested we drop by in Urk for dinner and a walk. Like Volendam, Urk was once a fishing village, rather a tiny fishing island, before it was transformed into a polder (man-made land) connected to mainland Holland.

The once fishing haven of Urk, now filled with yachts and cafe restaurants.

Fisherman painting his boat.

Now, this is a real lighthouse - with a real house! And a busy boat painter drabbing lead paint on the boat’s bottom.


Some information of interest: The houses in the Centrum of Urk sit exceptionally close to each other. This reminds me quite like dormitory living. You can easily walk to your neighbor’s living room, peek into their kitchen and check out what they have for dinner. Another observation, which is quite interesting really, I found the place loaded with a teenage population stuck in the late 80’s pop revival culture, and in an odd and ghetto-ish manner. I saw boys wearing gold earrings of the same type. Teenage groups hanging out in snack bars – a father admonished one of the kids who seem to be the leader of the gang (he had 12-13 year old giggling girls around him) to quit hanging his butt in the place. Flying scooters also grace the Centrum.

I had mix feelings about Urk.

We also saw many German cars and trailers/campers parked there. What is with Urk and Germans? If it’s because they can park their trailer/camper for free in the haven, then I can understand, but what about the cars? It never crossed my mind that Urk is a tourist destination in Germany.

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