Traveling the Netherlands (Part 1)

In this blog we are on a journey in a wintry Netherlands. We leave mid-February for the Veluwe and travel to Drenthe and Friesland. A nice journey in our own country.

Winter in the Netherlands

We were originally going to go to Norway from February 1st, after our house was sold. Unfortunately we have to be sensible and follow the Covid19 rules, Norway is closed to foreigners, especially tourists and we would also encounter the necessary restrictions on the way to Scandinavia.

Fortunately, the Netherlands offers every now and then (once every 5-10 years) the opportunity to really camp in winter. In the night of 6 to 7 February 2021 it snowed a lot throughout the Netherlands. In Breda, where we stay, even about 10-15 cm.

This is followed by a period of frost with temperatures of -8 C during the day and down to -15 C at night, which is already starting to look like Norway. So we decide to try out this Dutch winter period with our Milady.

But first we want to test ourselves and the fresh snow. We take a nice walk in the Pannenhoef in Etten-Leur,

… and a ride through the Zwartenberg Polder to take some beautiful images of the Zwartenberg windmill. See this blog with a nice YouTube video.

On February 13, we leave from Breda to taste a little more of the winter conditions in the Netherlands. The Renderklippen, a beautiful part of the Veluwe, is our first stop.

At night we sleep at the De Stuurmanskolk campsite, on the IJssel, a great campsite with good sanitary facilities. The outside tap is closed because of the frost, but fortunately the sanitary building is heated and we can go to the toilet and take a nice shower in the morning.
That night we test the winter hardiness of our car, the heating works fine, it is pleasantly warm when we sit inside at night. Unfortunately the water filter is frozen and probably the pump too, so we cannot use it. We bought bottled water from Lidl (and heating wire – from www.warmtekabel.nl – to wrap the pump and filter).
At night, it gets -10 C, we keep our socks and T-shirts on under our pajamas and we put an extra woolen blanket on our duvet. The heating is turned off and we snuggle under the wool. I get up again at night to put on an extra sweater, but otherwise we have a great night. It is wonderful to sleep in our own bed in Milady again.

The IJssel offers a beautiful morning, here the river has not frozen over yet, further on enthusiasts are skating on the floodplains.

When we spend the next night in Beekbergen, it starts to thaw, the woods are still covered with a carpet of snow, but that is slowly disappearing.

We take a number of brisk walks in the Veluwe. At the wildlife spot we see three deer, unfortunately no camera to hand …

We do see various wildlife tracks and enjoy the budding nature.

A few days in Drenthe

The northern provinces of the Netherlands are distinguished by an abundance of nature, nature parks, forests, extensive water features and beautiful views.

Drenthe is also a rural province par excellence, the sloping landscape is a remnant of the last ice age. The many hunebeds are composed of erratic stones from the glaciers that deposited their sediment from Scandinavia in the Drenthe country.

We hike and cycle long distances and camp at beautiful places in the wild, found at Park4Night. The land of the nature reserves is grazed by long-haired sheep, a beautiful sight.

Friesland

My uncle Dim often said: “Friesland is a beautiful country, … for cows ;-)”.
It is still winter, the weather is beautiful and there is still some snow here and there, but we don’t see a cow …
We drive to Stavoren because Ben van de Veer advised us to look at the drifting ice. A beautiful sight.

We spend the night in marina De Vrijheid in Warns and visit the beautiful town of Stavoren the next day.

We continue to Sneek where we visit Naomi and Henk Paul with their daughters Renske and Jeldau. They bought the old Milady two years ago and we kept in touch. We have a pleasant afternoon, evening and morning with delicious food and board games. Henk Paul talks about the progress and setbacks in the renewed restoration. Nice to see that the car has a good destination.

With Naomi we visit Bolsward and Sneek, beautiful cities that are definitely worth a visit outside of Corona time.

We travel further through Friesland and camp in the forest near Oudemirnum. The Oudemirnummer cliffs are also a remnant of the last ice age and protrude high from the IJsselmeer.

Eventually we see a cow in the forest, it may not be Frisian Studbook cattle, but still …

As a last stop in Friesland we visit the capital of this province, Leeuwarden.

There are still many signs that Leeuwarden was the cultural capital of Europe in 2018, a beautiful fountain, many murals and poems on the windows. We make a NS city walk where we see many highlights of the city. Even the artist Rembrandt van Rijn left his mark here, his Saskia came from this city. The weather is beautiful, you would almost think that it is already spring, but it is only February 25th. At a fish shop we buy a fish for our lunch, which we eat on a bench in the sun, opposite the beautiful art deco building of the Central Pharmacy.

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