Monday, June 19, 2006

The beauty of Holland: Bloemendaal Beach, Enkhuizen and Hoorn

The weekend flew so quickly out of the window! Why is it that the clock ticks so fast when we are enjoying? :-

Well, we’ve explored a few of the amazing and beautiful villages of the North Holland province. For the unsuspecting, Holland is actually a province here in the Netherlands --- so to clarify this Holland vs. Netherlands confusion check this old entry: Netherlands and Holland explained



Where in the Netherlands is Noord Holland [North Holland]?

First map: Netherlands showing where the North Holland province is. Second map: details of North Holland.

Bloemendaal aan Zee (beach)

To reach Bloemendaal beach, one must go through a few kilometers long of zigzagged road flanked by huge mounds of dunes. Dutchman explained to me that these “duinen” were specifically deposited there to protect the Bloemendaal municipality from the strong surge of the sea.

As many of us know already, the Netherlands is a low land very vulnerable to water. During high tide, the surrounding water levels in some areas can be higher than the country’s grounds.



Chic café restaurants decked the pristine coastline. On the other side of the beach is a long stretch of white summer rental cabins grouped together.

It’s a pity that the sun is not my friend; I always get a headache when exposed directly especially for long periods of time - I would have lazed around just like everybody else.


Enkhuizen

Enkhuizen is a striking, charismatic, old little village [circa 1300s] anchored securely along the IJsselmeer [IJssel lake] in the eastern part of North Holland province.

We had great timing as last weekend the village was running a kermis [carnival] and this year too [2006], is its 650th (that old!) village anniversary.


A quaint street leading to the Zuiderkerk.



The streets were festooned with buntings in all sorts of colors. And, get this... the locals displayed their laundry in public! I thought though that the hanging-their-laundry-in-public act is supposed to serve as festive street decors for the celebrated event. It was quite a sight really as it was my first time to see how fancy laundry can be.

There are also different bike routes for local visitors and tourists. I will for sure come back, with my bike at the back of the car.


Hoorn

About 18 kilometers to the south of Enkhuizen is the picturesque city with a village feel called Hoorn.

Statencollege, one of the old buildings in the Ursemplein.


We were greeted with a lively city feast when we arrived in Hoorn. Hundreds of people were partying in the streets. Colorful podiums with live music performances in various genres were set up in different corners of the city center. The place was indeed alive. Ah, perfect timing again for us!


Hoorn is the birthplace of VOC - Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie [Dutch East India Company], the legendary ship that sailed across the globe in search for “spices”. It is also said that the VOC is the first multi-national firm in the world.

During the height of Dutch trading (circa: Golden Age), this beautiful place was a popular, thriving and very important city. Hoorn of today is a combination of a quaint, ancient, dreamy, low-keyed village that leaves every passing visitor fascinated.

A sea of yachts is docked by the old harbor along IJsselmeer (lake). Buildings and structures facing the port entry to the IJsselmeer still dates back to the early 13th - 16th centuries.

Next year, Hoorn will be celebrating its 650th as a city, so be prepared for many exciting activities. Probably the best time to visit!

More pictures of Bloemendaal beach, Enkhuizen and Hoorn in my Holland Foto Album.


Veel plezier [Enjoy]...

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