Thursday, April 17, 2008

National Park Loonse and Drunense Duinen

Sunday - I woke up 7 in the morning feeling like I was drugged the night before. It seemed like I had floated my way from the bedroom to the hallway to the kitchen and back while heating up our kant-n-klaar pancakes and kicking Dutchman’s butt to get out of bed. I hate hangovers, especially at this age when everything looks like a pail of piss after 5 glasses of booze.


Signboards in Loonse and Drunense Duinen and Café de Rustende Jager (means something along the lines of the cafe of the resting hunter).

As we all know, I managed to drag myself to the hike hoping that the pesky hangover would leave me at one point. Luckily at around 10AM, just when we arrived in North Brabant (this is actually in the south of the country) in the restaurant called Café de Rustende Jager (in Oude Bosschebaan, Biezenmortel near Udenhout) I started to feel a lot better. Good, it was about time.

This is the interior of the cafe and I took this picture from upstairs where we had a great view of the inner part of the restaurant.

The café was so packed; we had to take our seats upstairs, which was actually nice as it gave us a beautiful view down below of the restaurant and the bar. The Dutch father treated us to some yummy tarts and Brabantse broeder (a local pastry that looks like Paasbrood / Dutch Easter bread) with coffee. He was happy to pay!

Afterwards, we began our journey through the Loonse and Drunense Duinen. The area resembles like a conglomeration of Mother Nature’s Sahara dessert, an almost denuded forest grove, and a coastline without a beach in sight.


For more fotos, please click here: Loonse and Drunense Duinen

Almost like the Sahara dessert.


It was also said that temperatures can go up to 40C during summer here. This would be something like heat-wave Philippines during March-April. I always get migraines from direct sunlight exposure which is very annoying as I also get allergies with the oscillation and high humidity of the weather here in the Netherlands. There or here, I always have a problem with the weather. Sigh.

There were many bikers that day too. And a lot of them were grouped in teams and sporting catchy and colorful uniforms. One team of bikers wore yellow, another red, then another, blue, and so on. Perhaps there was a competition earlier that morning that we have missed. Nevertheless, it was lovely to see the animated jumble of colors.

Paaltjes (little posts) with color-coded signs, these are directions for the walkers/hikers, and on the next foto are the children doing their thing -- when I was little girl, I too was always climbing walls and trees, given the opportunity.
Halfway through the hike, we stopped by this popular stopover, Café de Drie Linden where Dutchman and I treated the whole Dutch family for afternoon tea. There were already quite a number of people having a break from their walks, and an older couple too just parked their open horse-drawn carriage while they left the horse in the stable at the entrance. It was a very romantic sighting indeed, that if you append flowers on to the carriage, it would look like they were celebrating their 50th anniversary.

I like this foto a lot; I caught the biker between the trees ;-)


Now, what I truly find irresistible with Dutch nature parks is the way they marry nature into man’s environment, or vice versa. These parks are literally strolling havens! The Netherlands has so many of them it will take years to cover all of them.

The Dutch style is very subtle and simple however its man-made signature juts out of the picture like a lone giraffe sticking out its neck in a den of lions. The symmetrical obsession and their passion for organization are very evident and very easy to spot on in these nature parks.

Nature parks are actually real forests (and in this case, a forest with sand dunes), adapted to the needs and enjoyment of the human being. The parks are equipped with all the information and directional signboards, maps, and posts for the hiker, biker, and horse back rider to reference. It would be impossible to get lost. They also fit in tastefully café restaurants for pit stops that matched the ambiance of the place. I believe there was a camping area nearby too.

Cafe de Drie Linden, a pretty and cozy place to stopover during the hike.


It was a nice experience. The kids loved it. They could not stop climbing from one tree to another and exploring the vastness of the area. We had great fun in the children’s playground in Café de Drie Linden too. The Dutchman as usual could not be stopped. He thinks he is 9 years old again enjoying his swing.

Grey clouds and light showers followed us throughout the hike. Sometimes we would catch a glimpse of the elusive sun.


When we left about 3PM to go back to each of our homes, the sun shone beautifully. Oh well, what else is new with the unpredictable Dutch weather?

Visit Period: April 2008
Destination: Loonse en Drunense Duinen (Loon op Zand - North Brabant), The Netherlands

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