Thursday, March 12, 2015

A Carpe-Diem Overnighter to North Holland

Actually, it was more like a Seize-the-Weather trip that Astrid thought up!  Last week Wednesday she told me the weekend was going to be sunny and warmer (up to 60F) and maybe we'd like to use the Fletcher hotel voucher we had to visit the Alkmaar area north of us.

She didn't have to ask me twice, nor did it take long to plan our Sunday-Monday escapade!

But first, just for the halibut, here's a quick geography lesson that usually helps me get my bearings:

There are 12 provinces that make up the Netherlands.
Gorinchem, where we live, is in Zuid/South Holland, on the North Sea.
(That is, the province is on the North Sea, not Gorinchem.)

Noord/North Holland, just above Zuid Holland, is also on the North Sea, with lots of coastline.
The Germans east of us are known to drive across the Netherlands just to visit this Dutch coast.
It's known as the German Invasion during the warmer months of the year.  Seriously.

Amsterdam is in Noord Holland, as is Alkmaar, where we wanted to go.
Our hotel was a bit NW of Alkmaar, on the North Sea, in Callantsoog.
Going home on Monday, we drove along the coast south.

Okay, then.  Just enough to get our bearings for our wee trip from Gorinchem to Alkmaar (62 miles), then eventually to Callantsoog (another 15 miles).  In the American sense of distance, this is nothing, right?  But in the Dutch sense, and at the speed we drive over the back roads, stopping at every weathervane or point of interest along the way, it can take all day.

 So, speaking of weathervanes, let's get started!

These are the ones we saw along the entire trip, Sunday to Monday.

Even the ones on top of churches or city buildings are important to me,
though you can easily tell the difference between them and the domestic vanes.

You know the gable stones also grab my attention, of course,
so while we're at it, these are the ones we saw along the way.

Gable stones are always harder to process than weathervanes because...
well, because the corners are almost never square, or tilted properly.
(But you already knew I was Ms. Perfectionist, right?)

Alright.  Enough for now.
This was a teaser and easy to "get out of the way" before moving on with the rest of the trip.
Coming up is Heiloo, Alkmaar, Schagen, St. Maartensbrug, Callantsoog, Camperduin 
and Egmond aan Zee (with a lighthouse we don't usually get to see).

Do you know how good it feels to be back on the road again????

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

My 9-week post-knee-replacement-surgery celebration today:
For my first time, I WAS ABLE TO CYCLE FORWARDS, for 5 minutes.
I actually was afraid to stop, lest I couldn't do it again.
Color me Surprised by Joy!


  1. I love how you scour that little country. I call it "Dutch cleaning." :)

    1. I really like that, Ruth. "Dutch cleaning," indeed! :)

  2. I really enjoy seeing where you are located in the country, Ginnie. I have only been to Amsterdam a couple of times, and Den Haag, but I would love to explore more. What I really want to say is congratulations and a "Go Girl" at how quickly and well you are healing. Bravissima!

    1. Thank you, dear Susie, for all your loving support. It means the world to me. One day, if you ever get over here again, we'll give you a real Dutch tour, off the beaten track.

  3. These vouchers are really good at making you go to places you otherwise would think twice about for many reasons and not because of want. Have you visited all the provinces yet?

    1. We love getting hotel vouchers often for half the price on our vacation auction site, Maria. I know you can relate!

      And, YES, we have visited ALL 12 provinces. We may have done that our first year?! But then, that's not hard, since the size of the Netherlands land-wise is the size of Maryland! Easy-peasy.

  4. Love everything about this post! And adore that Ruth calls it Dutch Cleaning! Priceless!

    1. Thanks, dear Robin...and I know. I remember growing up on Dutch Cleanser! :)

  5. Well, of course you have to make the right angles of the gable stones true in Photoshop. How abpout a catalogue of gable stones and weather vanes. I’ll bet my publisher would go with it. Or better yet, windmills!

    Yes, we have had temps in the 40s since Monday, but there’s still over a foot of hard, rock-like snow everywhere to spoil picture taking. I spent two mornings back in the Farrel Foundry shooting, but the rood was falling in chunks and the floors were either deep puddles or polished ice or both, so it was tough to get to where I wanted to stand. Next shot will be Monday.

    No talk of the knee must mean it’s all good news. Keep it up.

    1. I use PS to correct almost all my gable stones, Ted. Trust me...even then I have "issues." I love it when they work out perfectly. I am definitely planning a book on weathervanes one of these days. It's been a long time coming. But now that I have the 1200mm zoom option, it has motivated me even more.

      Your photo ops may be much more hazardous than ours, but the results are stupendous once you have them! OMG.

      And you maybe missed the last bit at the end...that yesterday was my first day to cycle forwards, for 5 minutes. Today I did it for 10 minutes. So that's progress to me!!! A HUGE goal!

  6. You will have many buyers for your book on Weather Vanes. One of the striking/cool things about them is the different shades of the sky.

    1. Very kind of you to say so, Susan. One day I'll try to figure it all out! :)

  7. I love those trips where you can just stop and admire whatever floats your boat.

  8. When I was a child we had to learn the 11 provinces by heart..... now they added one.. Flevoland became an official province on January 1st ,1986. The Dutch 'made it'.
    It was a long time ago that I set foot on some of the places we visited. It was great to be back in time. The weather-vanes are just a delight, as the gevelstenen. I am so glad that we are able to make these trips again and I have to run to keep up with you again :)
    So proud of you, IHVJ.

    1. Leave it to the Dutch to build another province. HA! It still amazes me how much of the land is below sea level and can go back to the sea again, without diligence. What a country!

      You know it means the world to me to see these places of your youth. I feel so lucky! Thank you for running after me again and being my Partner in Crime!

  9. You've been sitting right there on my blog roll for almost a year Ginnie. Life got crazy busy once my daughter received her call to serve a mission in Belgium/Nederland and I haven't blogged for a very long time. She asked me last week if you were still my blogging friend. I decided it was time to post again. Your posts thrill me... another window to the world she now lives in. I love that you have such grand adventures with your friends... and that you share them on your blog. Oh the places you've been! Emilee began her mission in the Antwerpen area and is now serving in Friesland... Leeuwarden. She loves the beautiful country and the wonderful people... and of course the food! And I love the images she sends home to me. I must admit the Windmills are among my favorite. You are so blessed to live in such a beautiful country. Wishing you a speedy recovery.with your knee.

    1. I had forgotten about your daughter being here in the Netherlands, Carolyn. WOW! If my posts help you to picture her here even more than what you get from her, I couldn't be happier. This is a delightful country and every province is distinct from the other. Friesland is way up north by Dutch standards but seems not that far away at all to me.

      Thanks for the well-wishes on my knee. Little by little, step by step, the rehabilitation is progressing on schedule. It'll take a full year, they say! I believe it.