Monday, November 12, 2007

Lage Vuursche: the little village in the forest

Due to its flat topography, the Netherlands is not only a great place to bike, but also to walk. The country has many protected nature quarters, and hundreds of walking routes through fields, forests, and along rivers.

On that note, which is a reminder, I am really serious about my quest for fitness. With the busy schedule Dutchman and I lead, what better way to fuse in fitness as part of our weekend leisurely activities, and at the same time, indulge in culture and nature exploration. Sounds like it fits right to the bill!

The 3 main walking routes in Lage Vuursche - we randomly picked the yellow route.

Lage Vuursche is a little charming village, with just a couple dozen houses, cuddled by trees in the middle of the National Park Utrechtse Heuvelrug Forest in Baarn, Utrecht. Queen Beatrix used to live here in Castle Drakenstyn with her family before her rise to the throne.

I didn’t have the chance to take a picture of the castle (it’s not open to the public anyway) because we didn’t follow the red route - the ‘kasteeltuinwandeling’ [castle garden walking route], where obviously the castle sits. We will do it another weekend after the trips, hopefully before the year ends.

Taking the the yellow walking route - we walked more than 4 kilometers. This is not really the best foto in terms of quality (when enlarged) but I still want to keep this shot as I loved the background, the carpet of leaves, and the symmetrical trees, very common in the Netherlands.

You can find more information and an interactive map of this delightful and cozy little village with the facilities it offers here: Lage Vuursche

Anyway, the weather played tricks on us, the sun shone then it showered sporadically. Air was relatively thick with water – damp air which makes it feel colder, no, chilly I mean. Glad we wore our gloves and I had a hat with me too, otherwise we would have frozen our knuckles and wet our sorry heads.


Walking through the forest and communing with nature is indeed a great way to spend the weekend. You reap the ultimate relaxation – fresh air, unsullied nature, and stillness.


The national park Utrechtse Heuvelrug forest

Lage Vuursche is only a little part of the massive Utrechtse Heuvelrug forest that spans across the center of the country.

This tiny village is also very popular for its ‘gezellig’ Dorpstraat where you can find a couple of fine restaurants, hotels, shops, and traditional pancake houses. Pancake houses are quintessential Dutch restaurants that families with children go to during special occasions and weekend outings.

Heerlijke ‘Erwtensoep’ voor €4,50 met roggebrood en spek - in short Pea Soup with pork and rye bread (which is a different type of rye bread actually - hard and bitter, and popularly eaten as breakfast bread in the northern European countries).


After the walk, I was tempted to buy a cup of filling ‘Erwtensoep’, a homegrown Dutch winter soup, which is also called ‘Snert’ by the locals. The coldness in the forest requires some warm snack after. We picked the restaurant with an oval atrium with white canopy draperies, and they had these framed menus hanged up on the wall columns, and from where we sat, they advertised the ‘Erwtensoep’ menu, but on the other wall column, about 3 meters from our table, they were offering another heerlijke Dutch appetizer – ‘Bitterballen’ with mostard.

The glowing Pancake House right across the restaurant we had tea. I love the lights and check out the English bike on the roof. Its only 5:30PM when we took this foto and it’s already dark. Welcome winter.

Took us longer than expected to decide what to eat but didn’t matter as the waiter seemed to forget we walked in, lol. Even when paying, I had to drag Dutchman to the counter as the same waiter was taking his time and ignoring us, well, ignoring many customers actually. Of course we didn’t tip him but I bet he did not expect tips from this job as he gets paid with the normal wage + benefits anyway. Service personnel in this country are so darn lucky not to live on tips.

Anyway, we had ‘Biterballen’ with our tea, and I promised to cook Spaghetti Arabiatta for the Dutchman when we get home.
On a cold day, nothing is much better than a home-cooked meal.

Visit Period: November 2007
Destination: Lage Vuursche (Baarn), The Netherlands

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