Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Alkmaar Trip: From Callantsoog Down the North Sea Coast

As you recall, this was a seize-the-weather over-nighter to see Alkmaar (last post) and then spend the night in Callantsoog, before heading back south along the coast towards home the next day. 

Once again, here's the map of North Holland province to get your bearings.
As you see, Callantsoog is right on the North Sea, a tourist town.

After settling into our hotel, we went off to the beach before it got too dark.
It was very cold and windy, just like you'd expect Dutch weather to be on the coast in March.

Eline (PT) had told me to not walk in the sand because it'd wreak havoc on my knee.
So I was a good girl and watched Astrid do her shenanigans.

The next morning we drove to see the iconic Reformed church in the center of town...

...before heading out on our way south along the coast.

Lucky for us to see these Scottish Highlander beauties basking in the morning sun.

Ten miles later we arrived in Camperduin, where Astrid spent many camping days as a child.
It was almost 50 years ago when she was last there with her family, so a lot had changed.
The Kies Voor Water (Choose for Water) was a voting prop for recent Dutch elections.

Nearby the campground, we drove into the town of Schoorl to see the sand dune
where Astrid and her brother spent hours climbing up and rolling down.
Anything idyllic along the way, like this wee church, got captured.

 Did I mention that North Holland is tulip-bulb country?
At this time all the bulbs are still underground, getting ready to be harvested for sale.
Tulip bulbs are sold all over the world from these fields.  Maybe you have some in your own yard?!
Some of the fields will grow the bulbs to full bloom within a month from now.
Maybe we'll go back to see them.....

Our last destination of the trip was Egmond aan Zee to see the lighthouse.
As we walked through town, we had fun seeing all the boats...on dry land.
The housewife of the two windows said every time they travel,
they collect another boat for their window displays.

At the end of her street, there it was:  the J.C.J. van Speijk Lighthouse
We don't see many lighthouses in the Netherlands, so this was a treat not to be missed.

And then, just outside of Alkmaar, before we hit the fast track home...
we happened upon this system of WWII bunkers built by Hitler's men
to combat any British planes flying in from the North Sea during the war.
Don't get me started on these bunkers all over Europe, reminders of a grim time in history.

Instead, let's think about how when Life hands us some lemons,
we can choose to make lemonade!

And that sounds like a good note to end such a splendid trip, don't you think?
Carpe Diem!


  1. Carpe Diem indeed! You were such a smart girl NOT to walk on the sand. I have ligament laxity in my hips and all my docs have said the same thing. Walking on sand is a bear. Those highlander "beauties" are amazing! They almost look like Yaks on the plains of Tibet. Wonderful pictures to give me a feeling for a place I've never been. Cheers to Astrid and you for your journeys!

    1. It's so fun when we can see things through the eyes of our friends, Susie, isn't it. One day I hope you'll be able to see some of this with your own eyes! :)

  2. It doesn't look very warm, but spring is coming, I can see it. Wonderful structures, land and animals.

    Love the Scottish highlander cows! I have pics of some in Scotland. :)

    1. It was not warm at all, Ruth, but the sun was shining brilliantly most of the time, which made it "feel" warm. And yes, gotta love the Highlanders. For some reason, there are many of them in the Netherlands! :)

  3. Those are beautiful cattle. They look so content that's prolly why their milk and cheese are world renowned. Oh please return for some tulip sighting. If I can't see them myself, seeing them thru your lens is hte next best thing.

    Astrid is so brave to walk up those boards, or whatchamacallit. Take care Astrid.

    1. I don't know anything about the milk and cheese of the Highlander cows, Maria. Hmm. It wouldn't surprise me. They're so cute!

      And yes, Astrid is always brave AND careful. But she's not stupid, which I love about her! :)

  4. I love that you girls just go, go, go! Fabulous summary of your overnighter! You both can really pack it in which I LOVE!

    1. I didn't think anyone went, went, went more than you, Robin, but maybe we do rival you. Our trips just aren't all that far away, which is probably the main difference! :) Thanks, always, for stopping by to check out our trips.

  5. This trip was 'going back to the roots of childhood' Many many happy years we spent in Camperduin and surrounding. In the dunes there were a lot of bunkers in which we could take shelter, while flying our kites.
    The sanddune was a joy, sand in my ears for 'weeks' after rolling down and climbing back up/down/ trouble sleeping as a kid :)
    Showing you is a great pleasure.
    Still I like to be outside, maybe that was because I spend here so much time outside..... good memories... a treasure to keep. Thank you for these great pictures. A lot has changed, but not enough to have a smile in remembering it all.
    Those highlanders are so beautiful, love the colours, but always keep my distance, you never know......

    1. Little by little I am seeing all those places of your childhood. I pinch myself, of course. Everything is really very nearby, compared to the places of my childhood. We'd have to first get to Michigan and then do a lot of driving. Maybe one day?!

      In the meantime, it's a never-ending story of finding new places to explore. You know I love it for me, for you and for US. Thank you.

  6. Wow! I was blown away by the shot of the windmill over the field rows, but the shots of the bunker were outstanding. Lemonade, indeed. This was lemon chiffon.

    I’ve photographed WWII bunkers in CA, but there were no horses grazing near.

    Glad to read you behaved regarding sand!

    1. Those field rows will be abloom soon, Ted, so Astrid says we will go back to see them...since they're not all that far away from us. It'll be fun to see the before and after! Stay tuned! :)

      I love the irony of the horses grazing amongst the war bunkers. It makes me want to give a Barbra thumb-flick of my nose to Hitler and Company!!!

      Anyway, yes, I'm trying to be sensible when it comes to my knee, though I'm afraid I DID go too far the other day, walking amongst the windmills at Kinderdijk for almost 2 hours and nearly dropping dead at the end! (sigh) But that will be my next post.....

  7. Except for the windmills, your pictures remind me of Cape Cod especially the beaches and wild areas.

    1. Isn't that amazing, Donna. I'm not sure I would have ever thought of that!