Wind mills & old city charme: Kinderdijk & Doordrecht

Since my parents were visiting for a week, we wanted to take them out for a day trip to see some windmills. As I had previously already been to Zaanse Schans, we wanted to check out Kinderdijk this time. It was a bit of a longer drive and unfortunately the weather was not at its best. Still – the windmills are super cool to see, especially since there are so many of them lined up one after each other.

We spent some time walking around from one windmill to the other, and checking out the little museums inside some of them. If you feel like it, you can also rent bikes and cycle along the canals, but with this kind of weather, walking was enough for us. There is also an interesting/informative movie to see in the information center which explains where the name Kinderdijk might have come from and how the people lived here back in the days. I will spare you the details – if you want to know, why not go visit yourself!? 😉
After all the windmills and walking, we felt like having a cup of coffee and warm up inside. We took a short drive to the town of Doordrecht where we found a cozy cafe. Re-energized, we went off to explore the town afterwards. We only had an hour or so to spare, since we anted to hit the road before rush hour traffic set in, but it was enough to get an impression of Doordrecht. After a while, all these little Dutch towns start looking a bit alike, but what made Doordrecht a bit more special for me was its little harbour basically inside the old town. As some of you might know by now, I have a thing for boats so really enjoyed this part of Doordrecht.
All in all it was a nice day trip even though the weather was not on our side and the drive was slightly long for just a day. It would be a good idea to visit Rotterdam one day, spend the night and then go on to Kinderdijk and potentially Doordrecht the next day.
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The Hague the 2nd, Delft the 1st

A couple of weeks ago, I did a combined day trip to The Hague and Delft. I had already visited The Hague before, so going here again was more a matter of catching up with a friend and having a nice walk through the city.

Afterwards, I moved on to Delft – a town that has been on my „must see list“ for a while now. Here, I met up with Mathijs and together we explored the little canals and streets of Delft.

The town center is super small and can be explored in a matter of 2 hours or so. We had some more time at our hands, so spent some time sitting on the terraces on the main square, having some drinks and soaking up the atmosphere.

Delft is a very pretty little town – like a smaller version of Amsterdam minus the hordes of tourists. Definitely recommended!

Short trip to Naarden

I had wanted to check out the cute little village of Naarden for a while already. My original idea was to cycle there from Diemen since that cycle route is very scenic (I had already cycled it partly to Muiderslot once). However – since we now have a car and we are sometimes getting a bit lazy… 😉 So we took a short drive there, parked a bit outside and then walked the little village.
It’s nice but of course you don’t get to see the amazing shape that well that you would have from the air (check Google for an idea). So in the end, it doesn’t look that much different than other small Dutch villages. We had an ice cream and walked around for an hour or so, then sat on a terrace to enjoy the summery weather (in April, in Holland, can you believe it!!). Better than sitting at home for sure – but nothing you absolutely need to see 😉 Apologies for my bad pictures, had only my mobile phone at hand this time.

Autumn walk in the Lage Vuursche

In November this year, when all the leaves on the trees were turning red, it was time for an autumn excursion! We decided to pay a visit to Lage Vuursche – a little village in which surroundings you can go for nice walks. Just a little away from the main roads, you are suddenly all by yourself and can choose from a big network of trails! Just don’t get lost, like we almost did… 😉

Unfortunately the weather wasn’t too sunny and there was an icy wind, so we just walked for an hour or so and had a hot chocolate & bitterballen after! We also found a midget golf course, so we decided to have a go. As always – lots of fun and I almost came close to beating Mathijs! 😉
If you are looking for somewhere in the Amsterdam area to do a nice little autumn walk (possibly next year in this case), Lage Vuursche for sure is a nice place!

Waterleidingduinen – a day trip from Amsterdam

Last September, we bought a car and now have much more possibilities when it comes to day trips and excursions. No need to wait for trains and busses anymore and to change xxx times before arriving. Yay! Our first trip took us to the Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen, a little dune area between Zandvoort and Noordwijk.

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Here, you can take many different walks all the way to the beach if you want to. But the main draw are the animals! You will see lots of deer closeby, this is pretty much guaranteed. Since I needed to test my new lens before South Africa, this was the perfect opportunity!

I knew there was also a chance to spot foxes, but really did not count on it. But we were so lucky!! Suddenly, there was a fox next to us in the bushes. It disappeared, but we tracked it down and ended up standing just 1m away from it while it was napping in the bushes! It was not shy at all! 🙂 This was definitely the highlight of the day for me. First time seeing a fox in the wild!!

If you have your own car, the Waterleidingsduinen are definitely worth a trip. It only took us about 25min to get there, and with all the animals around it feels like a whole different world. Recommended!

Adam Lookout – Amsterdam from above

A couple of months ago, we got the chance to visit the newly built Adam Lookout tower. This recent addition to the city’s sights stands in the North of Amsterdam and you need to take the ferry behind Central Station to reach it.

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While from below, it doesn’t look like much – I would say just another tall office building – its charm lays in the views from the top of course. Having got „skip the line“ tickets for one of the first times in my life, allowed us to walk right to the highspeed elevator, flying us up in a matter of seconds.

Up there, you will first find a restaurant/bar area where you can already enjoy great views through the glass fronts. However, the more spectacular view awaits all the way at the top – from the open air roof terrace. See for yourself!

For the daredevils, there is a swing which goes right over the edge. The line was too long for us to wait, plus it did not look as amazing as it may sound like. Instead, we walked around the roof, taking in the views into all directions, before finishing the day with a cold drink in the bar below. While the tower itself is nothing special, it is pretty cool to see Amsterdam from above, and the Adam Lookout is a great option for doing so! 🙂 Here’s a couple more photos.

Dive Trip to Belgium

Diagnosis: Dive addicted! This is why I could not wait until October anymore (when Mathijs and I will be visiting South Africa), but actually decided to try diving in Europe! The original idea was to dive in the Netherlands of course. However, no dive trip worked out within my busy schedule over the last couple of months and so I jumped on a chance to go on a dive trip to Belgium with Divection.

At 6am we met up at Divection and I was reliefed to see that I was not the only diver without a buddy among couples. There were divers with different levels of experience, some of which 90% of their dives had been done within the Netherlands! Ok, I really, really love diving, but I certainly cannot imagine ever ending up like that! 😉 After a long drive (almost 3h) we reached Sprimont, the quarry where our first dive should take place. Long matter short: Cold, almost no visibility, nothing to see. Freezing 13C!! Even with a 7mm wet suit I was shivering after 30min. First time that water temperature decided on the duration of a dive…

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Almost no viz in Sprimont

The second dive site was much much better. Only a short drive from Sprimont lays another quarry – La Gombe. This one is certainly worth the trip and we had a great and super fun dive! In this quarry you can find a little plane wreck as well as lots of fish. The most fun were the curious sturgeons with their cute white noses who just swam up to you very close and even occasionally bumped into you. I was laughing so hard during this dive!! 🙂

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A little plane wreck invites you for an (underwater) ride

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A curious sturgeon getting very close to me

It was a long, long day and the water was colder than I had ever experienced on any of my previous dives. However, especially La Gombe was certainly worth the dive! I won’t travel close to 6h for a day of 2 dives anymore in the near future, but I will definitely dive again somewhere closer to Amsterdam. Click here for some more pics!

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Entering the water in Sprimont