Recently we decided to do a tour around the IJsselmeer. In this blog we report on the third and last part of our experiences, namely: North Holland. Flevoland and Friesland were discussed in part 1 and part 2 respectively.
Part 3 Tour around the IJsselmeer: Noord-Holland
Day 7 Afsluitdijk, Alkmaar and beach (continuation)
Since the weather gave no reason to leave the car, we decided to drive to the hotel in Alkmaar. The arrival at the hotel was a special one. There was no signage and no clear entrance was found. It was a new hotel in an old building. Check-in did not go smoothly and the Corona Rules were followed significantly less carefully than the previous nights. The room (still?) showed many imperfections.
Meanwhile, the sun had started to shine and we went on a city exploration on foot. Everyone knows Alkmaar from the pictures of the typical Dutch cheese market, but even now that is not being held for a while, it is a beautiful city to visit. The old city center with pleasant shopping streets and beautiful buildings is connected by means of a pedestrian bridge to a newly redeveloped district. The larger stores are located there.
After an excellent dinner at the hotel, where we unfortunately had no choice of dishes, we wanted to see the sea. The days in June are so wonderfully long, so it is a shame not to take advantage of that. We drove to Bergen aan Zee and later to Egmond aan Zee with the beautiful lighthouse of J.J. van Speijk. We also enjoyed the sunset there. It is striking that roads lead sparingly to the North Sea coast. So it is not surprising that there is almost no getting through here on summer days. Everyone needs a so-called dune card for dune visits.
Dag 8 Sightseeing Schagen and Medemblik
Schagen is a pleasant town with an imposing church in the heart of the center with the necessary terraces and shops around it. We parked the car close to the rebuilt Schagen Castle that borders the center.
After that, Medemblik was on our schedule. A city on the IJsselmeer with beautiful old houses, whether or not along the harbor quay and a real castle.
An evening round was not included. It was raining cats and dogs together with thunder and lightning.
The hotel menu was exactly identical to yesterday’s. We had to ask for something else. The alternative was fish and since one of us does not eat fish, we found it wrong. What comes out of the kitchen is of real good quality, but no choice in dishes is just wrong.
Day 9 Beemster and a touch of Volendam
We envisioned a tour of the area. We drove to a piece of nature for a walk and to find some geocaches. Our fun was quickly spoiled. The many stray dogs that came at us like a magnet every time were very annoying. Once you are grabbed by your ankles by a little cute dog, you no longer trust any strange dog. Besides that, according to the signs, dogs should also be kept on a leash. So thanks to all those dog owners who ignored that!
This part of Noord-Holland seemed very busy to us. The narrow roads along the ditches and waters are cute to look at, but uncomfortable to drive over. Parking the car somewhere in a picturesque small village can also be quite tricky. It gave us a kind of “trapped” feeling that we don’t know when we are on the road.
After a stop in Midden-Beemster we went to Volendam. Here it was very busy and unfortunately we left the famous dike for what it was. Just outside Volendam we had a very tasty dinner. We opted not to eat at our hotel this evening, because we did not want exactly the same meals for three nights in a row.
Day 10 Zaanse Schans
The last day of our tour of the IJsselmeer we concluded with a visit to the Zaanse Schans.
The Zaanse Schans is a historic Zaan neighborhood founded in 1963 in the municipality of Zaanstad with relocated listed monumental wooden buildings and industrial mills from the Zaan region. Over time, it has been supplemented by various cultural-historical museums, craft shops and catering establishments. It is located in the Kalverpolder, a protected peat meadow landscape on the Zaan, opposite the village of Zaandijk.
I used to enjoy the beautiful windmills and the Zaan houses from the water, but now we walked along on foot. We followed the route of the app, which we could download for free on one of the information boards by means of a QR code. Very informative! The only downside was that the route ran opposite to the Corona route arrows. Another oddity was that when we approached Albert Hein’s house we were suddenly turned away from the route, because we were told in gibberish that it was now private property. Fortunately, we were early enough to be through the closed section just before it was closed of.
Slowly we went back to the familiar south, but not before enjoying a delicious late lunch in Aalsmeer, known from the flower auction and the television studios. Towards evening mother was waiting for us with pancakes yo hear all our stories. This ended our around the IJsselmeer. We enjoyed it!