Monday, 27 September 2010

The Netherlands...again.....








I am not back down to earth yet after our holiday - there was so much to see and so many things to learn and our friends were so good at explaining things to us. Of course in four days we saw only a tiny fraction of the country but my goodness me, our friends took us here and there and filled in the background as much as they could.

I think one of the things which makes the country so fascinating to me is that is so reminds me of my childhood in the Fens of Lincolnshire - the terrain is so similar. Much of the land in the area we were in is below sea level. The roads are built up and as you drive along you look down on fields which in Spring will be full of tulips. At this time of the year they are still colourful with flowers - dahlias, gladioli, astilbe, violas - all making wonderful strips of colour.

I had a good look at the map before we went over and I was interested in a green coastal strip which seems to stretch from one end of the country to the other. Needless to say that when I mentioned this to F and R, our hosts, they immediately took us to look at that area. There is a long strip of clean beautifully pale sand which stretches for miles along the coast. Behind that sand are the 'dunes' natural sandy hills which in many places have been turned into pleasant country parks. We walked on the sands and we strolled through the park - there were fallow deer, roe deer, a herd of cattle and - as everywhere we went - many water birds - coot, swan, heron.

One thing which interested me was a plant which is fairly new to the dunes area - I took a photograph (see above) both of the flower and of the bud and shall send both to Stuart (Donegal Wildlife - see my side bar) for a positive identification, but I think it is Datura. The speed with which it seems to be colonising large areas seems to me to be worrying for the future. In two years it is growing into small trees and there are hundreds of seedling plants - made me think of Japanese Hogweed.

I hope you like the photograph of the fishing lines anchored to the sand - I think it is my favourite photograph of the whole trip. The rods were fastened into the ground with thick metal bars and the lines stretched taut way out to sea. What were they hoping to catch? Does anybody know?

The country seems to me to be completely ruled by water - but it all seems to be so well controlled. There are a lot of polders - areas of land reclaimed from the sea - these areas have been drained and then protected from flooding by dykes. Since the year 1200 the size of the country has been increased by more than a fifth.
The dykes are beautiful both for their plant life and their bird life - and at the same time they are an essential part of the country. Hope you enjoy today's potographs.

1. Datura bud.
2. Walking in the dunes. 3. Datura flowers.
4. Strips of flowers. 5. Toadstools growing through cowpats.
6 and 7 The sands of the coastal strip - and the fishing rods.

13 comments:

Heather said...

So much lovely space to enjoy in the park and that wonderful sandy beach. The datura flower is so pretty - it's a shame if it is a thug. Another invader is Indian Balsam, also very lovely but it soon colonises large areas. It sounds as if you might need a rest now you are home again, after so much to see and learn!

George said...

A lovely place, Pat. It sounds like you had a great time, and I do like the fishing rods stuck in the sand on the beach, especially when I enlarge the photo on my screen. I look forward to hearing more about your journey to the Netherlands.

Leilani Lee said...

Enjoyed your photographs very much. I edit manuscripts for a group of physicians in The Netherlands, and now I think perhaps I will need to go see them on a "business trip!"

Gerry Snape said...

These are great photos Weaver my friend lived in Alkmaar for many years and we often stayed when the kids were teenagers. We loved the coast especially Bergen-aan-zee.Wonderful beaches and the North sea! thanks for these memories.

Bonnie said...

What a magnificent way to cap off your summer. Enjoyed the pics!

steven said...

weaver thankyou for posting more stories and pictures of your trip to holland!!! it really gets me to thinking about my upcoming holidays next summer. steven

Cloudia said...

Loved your pics!





Aloha from Waikiki

Comfort Spiral

Carolina said...

Hello, I've been directed to your place by Rhymeswithplague. I'm Dutch you see, and I post about the Netherlands. It is wonderful to read that you liked it so much here. I love your photos. I live in the North-Eastern part of the Netherlands, called Groningen. In a very small village near the town Groningen. So I don't often visit Hoorn and the beach ;-)

Dave King said...

You are so good at conveying the essence of a place. A really interesting read (as it always is when I come to your blog) and yes, I agree with you about its similarity to the Lincolnshire Fens.

Golden West said...

Wonderful to glimpse beaches in other lands! Those fishing lines must be extremely long, as they seem so far away from the water. So nice you had such a grand visit, Weaver!

Derrick said...

Welcome back, Weaver. Nice to see the pics of your holiday. Those fishing rods suggest that the fishermen can go off and otherwise occupy their time! I hope you catch your breath quickly before we are off to the Willow Manor Ball!

Stuart said...

Yup. Looks like Datura to me.

BTW, I lived in Rijswijk near the Hague for a couple of years and I well remember the uitsmijter...that feast of eggs and ham. The loose translation is 'thrower-out' and I was told it was because it got rid of your hunger.

Mary Elizabeth said...

I would love to visit the Netherlands. It's been almost two years since we've left the U.S.!
Hopefully our economy will improve soon!!
Beautiful pictures!

M.E.