Saturday, September 06, 2008

Texel, part 1

Aren’t we glad we went to Texel last week and not this weekend? We woke up this weekend to a gloomy, cold, and rainy day. Saturday was a bit better though, yet you still need a light jacket to make yourself warm and comfortable outside.

The Teso boat that sails between Den Helder and Texel Island.

Weather news said last weekend was the last warm weekend in the Netherlands, which was more like a catching up really because we never had a great summer. One can count with their hands how many sunny and warm weekends we had in this country for summer 2008.

So much for the weather talk, I will write about our experiences in Texel, divided into 2 parts. The first part will be about Den Burg, the capital of Texel Island and De Koog, the touristy town in the west side of the island. For the second part, I will be writing about the little villages in the countryside, Cocksdorp where we stayed, Den Hoorn, t’Hoorntje, and Oudeschild.

The birds loved to hung around the boat during the entire sailing time to Texel. They were floating on mid air, and perhaps they loved the wind force of the boat.

Texel is the largest island in the Waddeneiland (a group of islands in the north of the Netherlands). It is easy to get to Texel. The huge Teso boat sails every 30 minutes from Den Helder. Teso has been sailing for more than 100 years I believe in the Den Helder – Texel stretch. It took us about 2 hours drive to get to Den Helder from Utrecht. For a car with 2 passengers, the boat ticket is €35 retour and sailing time is approximately 30 minutes which is relatively fast.

Interestingly, I just found out that the Waddeneiland is actually part of the Friezen Island community spanning 3 countries: The Netherlands, Germany, and Denmark.

To see where Texel is, click HERE for a map of the Netherlands. It is the island above Den Helder along the coast of the North Sea.

De Koog

De Koog as it seems to be is the most popular and fun place in the island.

One of the bar restaurants filled with confetti and banners in the busy strip in De Koog town center.

Dutchman says De Koog is hands down by definition the Malia of Texel, ha-ha. Malia is actually a beach summer holiday place in Crete, Greece where the young hardcore partygoers go. We’ve been to Malia before and we will never go there again. I don’t know if that is a bad way of describing De Koog but it is indeed a place to chill out and party – lots of bars, loud bars if I may say, the usual touristy shops and café restaurants dot this little strip in the town center. If this floats your boat then its definitely your place to be.

I like this little traditional white church in the town center. These cabaret (or carnival?) girls in costume just finished their dance in the town square and are leaving while bystanders like us cannot help but take a sneaky foto of their voluptuous behinds.

De Koog beach on a Saturday afternoon.

We searched for the beach which was quite a long hike than expected from the little strip where everything happened. I did not mind the walk anyway as it was quite nice and the weather was just perfect. We passed along hotel apartments with tenants sitting outside on the balcony enjoying the warm sun. The roadside became finer and dusts of white sand appeared everywhere. Before us was this modern and nicely designed wooden bridge leading us to the main beach area. Below the bridge is a parking lot full of cars. Around its perimeter, on both sides is the camping grounds. I could see a number of tents, caravans, and plastic tables and chairs scattered around in the mounds and bushes. And I thought... oh my, I was glad we were not on a camping weekend.

White little beach huts for rent with orange wind shields on the grounds.In a windy country like the Netherlands those wind shields are important beach accessories.

The white beach stretch was quite busy, but nothing compared to Scheveningen or Zandvoort on a warm and sunny day. Lots of children playing on the sand, couples sunbathing and kissing, families having their afternoon snack, and a group of guys were drinking in the beach were flirting with me, beckoning me to take a picture of them until they realized I was with the Dutchman who was 30 feet away from me.

I did not bring my bikini as we were not expecting to swim in this short island-weekend holiday. In fact, I was looking forward to bike around the island the next day!

More fotos of De Koog here: De Koog - Texel, The Netherlands

This is one of my favorite fotos in Texel - capturing this lovely couple flirting openly in public with the yellow and white little beach huts in the background. If you look closely in the foto, there is another couple on the far right sitting on the beach.

At any rate, Dutchman and I spent the whole afternoon strolling along the beach shore and having cold drinks in an outside café beach terras watching this group of guys having fun dipping in the sea and a curious seal observing them 10 feet away.

In Dutch, a seal is called a zeehond, literally translated as “seadog”. Well, when the seals bop their dark shiny heads up and down the water, they indeed look like dogs from a distance.

Den Burg

Located in the middle of the island, the capital, Den Burg, is relatively and unexpectedly big. The number of shops and commercial establishments in the city I thought was far too many for a small island such as Texel.

This is the little square in Den Burg town center with lots of cafe terraces.

Dutchman kept telling me – this place would be dead in the winter and you would not want to ever come here. Which brought me to question how these shop owners could survive? I am sure during winter they won’t be open 5 days a week.

The little square with the café terraces (forgot the name of the square) is quite nice as when we were there, there were many people around. Most of them were like us on a bike, taking a rest before hitting the road to the next village. It was a beautiful day, and naturally on days like this, terraces abound.

The church in Den Burg, and another foto of the gezellig little square with cafe terraces.

I initially thought of having dinner in a cabaret house in Den Hoorn. I read this in the tourist website of Texel, but we got lazy and decided to have dinner instead in Den Burg, at this restaurant across the church (above in the foto). It was the restaurant that had a lot of guests so we thought it must be okay, at least. My dinner did not prove to be a disappointment but it could have been better.

More fotos of Den Burg here: Den Burg - Texel, The Netherlands

Time flew so quickly, it was past 11PM on our watch, so we drove back to Cocksdorp, in the north of the island, where we will be staying for the night.

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