Over the past couple off weeks I have been traveling around visiting some friends in Holland and seeing a bit of the country inbetween. Yes Holland is dead flat, but there is so much to see here. A lot reminds me of home in New Zealand, with plenty of cows and sheep in the endless green fields, it almost feels like home. I drove up to the north of Holland to visit a friend close to a city called Alkmaar, Delano was a friend I met in The Philippines, we traveled in Cambodia also. In his city there was many beautiful old buildings, cobble stone streets, and of course windmills and I am still amazed at the amount of bicycles around the place. The weather is starting to turn as winter approaches, people are wearing an extra layer as the sun is poking its head out less and less.
From Alkmaar I headed further north to Den Helder which is right up the top on the west coast of Holland, it was an old port city, still home to the largest naval base in Holland. The town was quiet and tranquil on a sunday afternoon, I headed out towards a fort called Kijkduin which was built under the instruction of Napoleon (yes that French guy) when he visited the area in 1811 he realised the strategic positioning of Den Helder and made them build the fort and a navel base. The French fought with British and Russians in the 1790’s and captured 14 Dutch ships and 850 guns in the harbour. The fort itself is now a museum which happened to be closed when I was there, but there is a beautiful beach next to it where in the summer I imagine is a nice place to spend an afternoon. There is also an impressive light house there, the largest cast iron light house in Europe in fact, standing 63.45 meters in height. The surrounding landscape in this area was amazing, with horses wandering around in the long grassy fields it was a nice place to visit.
When I was just about to nod off to sleep in my car I saw a light cutting the sky open for kilometers around. It was the light house, I had to go check it out, and even though I was 5km away it was still extremely bright where I was.
I headed back down south to Alkmaar area to meet up with a new friend as she was to show me the Zaanse Schans area, which is a popular area for tourists to go. It was an interesting place, with a collection of windmills set along side a river. Each used to serve a different purpose, weather it be to make flour, or spices or oil. They had been restored so the public could see how Holland was in the olden days. It was a very touristy spot, but it was informative and worth a visit for the day.
This was the mill where they made spices. The smells in this mill were mouth watering.
I headed to Amsterdam the next day, to take a stroll through the city, and to sort some more immigration stuff before deciding spur of the moment to book a bus to London. I haven’t been there before, so I figured for 25 euro, I didn’t really have a reason not to.