Monday, October 03, 2011

TEXEL: Heaven on Earth

Astrid has told me about Texel Island for 4 years now. It's her heaven-on-earth (parallel to my family cottage in Michigan) where she's been going back-n-forth since 1982. Finally I had a chance to see it with my own eyes a week ago. It was even better than what I had pictured it to be.

Here's a map of the Netherlands (click to enlarge), where we live and where you can see Texel to the north of us. It's a 15-minute ferry ride from Den Helder, the northern mainland city, to the island...

So let's begin there...after I first mention that it's my turn at Vision and Verb again, where I talk about our art and how, when we enjoy it and do it well, it's like heaven on earth...just like a place called Texel.

I love boats, period! I've been on all kinds and varieties, as you know.
This one, as ferries go, is HUGE. Which says something about Texel and how much it is loved.
And not just by the Dutch! Astrid says 40% of the island is owned by the Germans.

When Astrid met Jaap in 1982, she married into the bungalow owned by his family in one of the many bungalow parks around the island.

What a charming little heaven on earth.

And all that much more so because of it's proximity to the North Sea....

...over sand-dune hill and dale, approximately 20 minutes walking.

Right after cresting the last dune and seeing the sea, I saw all the bikes.

This is so Dutch!
And if you don't have your own bike, not to worry. You can rent one.
We walked because Astrid wanted me to "feel" the sand dunes!

Astrid flew a kite....

...while I took macros of the seashells.
I was amazed at how "anthropomorphized" they seemed so up close and personal.

While out-n-about elsewhere, I fell in love with the buoys not in the sea but scattered around the island like collector's items:

HA! One more thing to collect!

Speaking of which, I really was in heaven. Wherever we went around the island, by foot or bike or car, I was constantly adding to my arsenal....

Weathervanes, of course.

And gevelstenen (= gable stones).

See, we actually did ride bikes...the ones that live at the bungalow.

And we enjoyed the fruit of the land....

I made two carafes of rose-hip herbal tea, appropriately called the beach rose.
They, along with black raspberries, were everywhere, free for the picking.

Which makes a good segue to the special eating-out times we had....

Koffie met appeltaart while on the beach!

A very Dutch uitsmijter for lunch one day,
and wonderful smoked pepper-salmon another, with Texel beer.

And homemade ijs (= ice cream) before supper, because life is short.

Next post I will show you the two windmills on the island, the lighthouse there and in Den Helder, a couple photogenic churches, plus some other goodies down at one of the harbors. There really was no way I could process all the pictures in one week!

But here's an appetizer....

The Texel lighthouse right outside our café window!

It really IS a heaven-on-earth place...and that's my Vision and Verb for today....


  1. So, Astrid's equivalent of Hukilau! What a precious place it looks to be. I love those big windows flooding the room with light. You know I love the appeltaart, and herbal tea!

  2. Ruth: Exactly, and now we've both seen each other's paradise! Everything was better than she had described, which quite thrilled me. I can hardly wait to go back...maybe at least once every year! :) Thanks.

  3. I know there's so much more to this post, but really, the food at the end is making me hungry! Looks like a great place to have a holiday retreat.

  4. Karen: You'd love the place, all of it! But yes, the food is making me hungry, too...again. :)

  5. Wow - it is so beautiful. The ferry reminds me of what we have here in Victoria to the mainland, not the smaller islands because well there aren't any tops on those ferries.

    And your macros, loving them!!! And all of the photos of course. I started trying to process mine but I have another project I have to do too, on top of all of my other projects.. Oh I need lists!

    What a beautiful little bungalow. I'd love one just like that too.

    OFf to V&V.. :)

  6. ET: Yes, Jen, I thought about the Vancouver Island ferry, which we have taken, of course. This one had a lower level for semi-trucks and camper trailers. Very big and everything loaded and unloaded down to a 10 minutes. It amazed me.

    Thanks for all your positive feedback, which means the world to me. With Cammie, you'll have your hands full for a long time to come, I'm afraid. But what a special bundle of joy! I'm so happy for you.

  7. Ginnie, you find so much beauty wherever you go! :)

  8. Tim: You're very kind. Thank you. The thing is, the beauty is there for the taking, everywhere I go!

  9. Lovely photos asusual. I really can see why she loves this island! I wanna go too :-)

    Such a great collage, you manage to get the most out of the places this way for sure - for us too!

  10. Oh I think we all need a sanctuary. I have yet to find mine, but what a lovely place this is. I felt my stress melt away and I'm just looking at it from across the web.

    BTW, I cannot comment on your Shutterchance page. I think it's me, not you :). It must be my browser or something else. Just to let you know I peek every day just cannot leave a comment.

  11. I've never been to Texel, but it looks like a place I'd love to visit. When I was in 7th grade (I was 11) I took a two-weeks school trip to Ameland - and I HATED it. I was homesick all the time and not open at all for the beauty of the place.

    Uitsmijter looks like "Strammer Max" in Germany p love the dark bread on the bottom. I'm not even looking at the apple tart and the REAL whipping cream... I just had dinner and I feel hungry looking at your photos!

  12. LC: Thank you! Going the collage route really reinvented how I do my posts, since I always have so many images to show. They sure beat the photo-album route I always took previously. Since you travel a lot, too, you surely understand!

    PC: I totally agree, Maria, that we all need a sanctuary...even if we go to it only once a year or so. It helps to have one close by. Thanks for that thought.

    Hmmmm, about SC. I'll check with John to see what the issue might be?

    Carola: Astrid says Texel is "over-run" by Germans, especially during the summer, so I'm surprised you haven't been there yet! :) If you ever have a chance to go, I promise you will not feel homesick. HA!

    Uitsmijters and appeltaarts are two of those things we just have to eat every once in awhile. That's just how it is. I love it!

  13. Once I am on the Texel-ferry, I get the vacation feel, even if it was only for a weekend, crossing over.
    My wish to show you Texel came true, I have to say that it helps that I 'know' my way around a little bit, you saw more than some people would see in 4 weeks.
    You cannot get lost there and it is big enough not to fall off.
    You have experienced the Texel-life in a nut shell or should I say; a sea-shell.
    You did a great job with all the pictures, it brings back another great memory, We will be back next year, even if it is only for the weekend.

  14. Astrid: Thanks to you, I did indeed see a lot in our short time there! THANK YOU. The thing is, it really IS better than you described it or how I imagined it. I will love going back again!

  15. Thanks, you girls, for the trip ... I was really needing to " get away"!
    Lovely buoys, sea shells, weather vanes and food! and it was a very pretty ferry. So happy to know y'all were there together.

  16. WS: Thank you, Susan, for your lovely comment. You and Larry both would love Texel!

  17. I can see why Astrid calls it Heaven on Earth... it looks like such a wonderful place to explore... one funny thing (to me) I must tell you is that as I was studying all the buoys in your collage of them (marvelously colorful and artistically presented), I thought to myself that I bet she will start looking for these and amass a collection of images for us to drool over... and THEN I got to your caption! HA! right back at you.

    The food photos always make me hungry (it is, however, just about time for me to fix a bite to eat for myself). And the gable stones and weather vanes are always a treat! Oh... and the seashell macros are gorgeous.

    Seeing Astrid in action flying the kite was fun too. Now I'm off to see part 2 so I'm somewhat caught up with you before your next post. :-) (If I don't fall asleep, I may finally get a post or two organized myself... my blog has been sorely neglected lately.)

  18. Victoria: You're so good with your comments, dear Lady, no matter when you write them. THANK YOU. I love how you identify the things that especially grab your attention. I always end up smiling. :)