Holland, I’m in love.
Friday, we met up with our friend Laurie, hopped on our bikes and pedaled across Amsterdam, onto the (free!) ferry to Amsterdam-Noord, and then on out to the Dutch countryside of Waterland.
Jaw-dropping, simple beauty. Suddenly, you’re pedaling through farmland, big fields of cows, sheep and crops on either side, and then there’s a little village, plucked from a fairy tale. And of course, there are canals like tiny capillaries throughout.
The whole thing is unconscionably heartwarming. They’re Hans Christan Andersen stories, quaint without an ounce of contrived. There are no hawkers selling Made In China canal snow globes or t-shirts, just simple houses and lovingly tended gardens, set right against the streets and water. The streets are too small to support anything but local traffic, of which we saw virtually none, so you really have the feeling of being thrown back in time.
The photos don’t do it justice. The playground is actually from just before Waterland, in Amsterdam-Noord, and the larger town pictures are from the biggest town in that area, Monnickendam. The smaller towns and little houses nestled in curves of the water were hard to capture, the 3×2 rectangular framed photo just doesn’t give you the context of just how peaceful and quiet and cozy and tucked away the towns were.
And yes, that is a horse pulling a skateboard next to a canal.
The day was a high point of our whole trip.