When I plan my travels I often like to look for exotic locations. Preferably those that are far away from my own country. However recently I tried a different approach which turned out a successful experiment.
I noticed that whenever I am in my own country I feel the need to complain about it. It rains to much, it is to expensive, it is boring etc etc.. However when I am far away from home for some time I really miss my country. Its always warm here and I miss the Dutch rain. I don’t understand the locals and I miss speaking my own language etc etc.. Then often start listing up the great things about my country. Its generally safe and clean. There are not much horrific poison/danger animals who can kill or annoy you, the roads are great etc etc… Then I start thinking why don’t I enjoy those things when I am at home. I think the problem is that the country and environment are not new to me, but is this really true…
Then I came up with some idea why not buy a travel guide from my own homeland. This way I can learn how other people/tourists look at my country. They will look at it with the view from an outsider and will probably notice a lot of beautiful/fun things I had shut my eyes for long ago. This turned out to be true. I bought the Lonely Planet guide for The Netherlands and started examining it. I noticed it was really fun to read how other travellers/writers where experiencing my country and I learned a lot to about the history, exiting places to visit or beautiful things to see. Now I often walk around with my guide book in my hand and my eyes open. Often thinking ahh I never noticed that..
My travel advice to you
Do you feel bored about the place you are living in? Are you low on cash but still want to travel or have a vacation/ day trip? Try buying a guide book from your homeland and start travelling and enjoying your own country.
Are you planning to visit the Netherlands yourself? You can find The Lonely Planet guide for The Netherlands along with all the guides from other countries in book stores like Amazon. If you are Dutch and you want to buy it then my advice is to do it online as it seems to be a rare item in Dutch brick and mortar book stores.
Some time ago I walked via the beautiful path from Hoorn to Enkhuizen via the Zuiderdijk. This old dike is placed in the Dutch province of Noor-Holland and provides a pleasant walking or cycling experience. The tortuous path along the water brings you to sceneries where history, nature and culture connect in a beautiful way. Read my blog article for a full trip report.
Back to the home page
Today, nature is filling the spot in my agenda. It is time for a walk. One filled with history. My trip will bring me from the old harbour town of Hoorn, over a beautiful old dike, and into the old town of Enkhuizen. Officially the dike is named The Zuiderdijk van Drechterland and its a part of the Westfriese Omringdijk in Noord-Holland (a province of The Netherlands). Construction work on the dike (to make it stronger) has recently been finished. I am curious to see the results. Dikes are important in The Netherlands because they have been keeping us safe from the water for many years. A dike is also a great place to escape the busy city. Let the wind blow away your everyday thoughts. Having it replaced with the serenity of nature.
I wake up especially early to be able to enjoy the warm orange and yellow colours of the rising sun, scratching the cold deep blue sheets of water and sky. The dike is birth country and they are particularly active during the early stages of the day. Probably looking for water or already returning from their drink. They fly around in large groups. Hundreds of bird wings scratching the morning sky but not once do they hit each other. A great spectacle. It is no wonder this area is popular with bird watchers.
Sunlight paints the surface of the sky which results in long orange stripes slowly fading into bigger clouds. Al the time the birds keep flying over my head. Looking at their early dance in the sky I am amazed how quickly the light changes and night flows into day. The suns early light is a reflective dance on the waves. They are curling around the rough stones at the shoreline. Nature awakes from its sleep. Water, trees, animals, everything comes alive.
Beautiful old farms with carefully maintained gardens flank the dike all along its path.
Walking the +/- 15 KM path to Enkhuizen I recognize many landmarks and walk from one to the next. I pass many farms, small harbours, windmills and light towers. The road, sometimes still messy from the construction work, curls its way along the shoreline. One curve after another till it reaches the town of Enkhuizen. There it will pass over its protective role to a larger but much younger companion, the Houtribdijk, which connects Enkhuizen with Lelystad.
What is your favourite nature spot to escape from the busy city life? Have you ever visited the Zuiderdijk or are you planning to visit it in the future? Leave your interesting responses in the comment section below.