Bridget spontaneously decided to come visit for 2 weeks after her work cruise in Romania was cancelled. The Netherlands is close to Romania, right? She arrived a day after me and we've been exploring the city of Delft together. Of course, our first inclination was to get out of the city, so we made plans to visit Texel Island, which is one in a string of barrier islands (the Frisian Islands) along the Netherlands, Germany, and Denmark. The map below shows the West Frisian Islands, along the Dutch coast. Texel island is the furthest west, and connects to the mainland (city of Den Helder) by ferry.
From the Delft train station (~1 mile from my apartment), we took two trains to reach Den Helder. From there, we wandered along the levee in Den Helder until we found the ferry terminal (vaarhaven).
|The levee/seawall along the coast in Den Helder. No beach left here...|
|Almost at the ferry terminal|
Texel Island is best seen by bike, so we rented bikes next to the ferry terminal when we arrived. We rented the cheap bikes (no gears) for 12 euros/person for 2 days. It took some finagling to attach my backpack to the back of the bike. This was my first overnight bike trip, so it was all new to me. Bridget informed me that this was NOT how bike gear is normally organized. We rode 12 km to Den Koog, which is on the northern coast of the island. On either side we were greeted with picturesque fields of sheep, cows, and horses.
|Happy Bridget, moments before her backpack fell off the bike.|
|Massive backpack strapped to bike.|
|One example of a massive Dutch-style encampment|
|Hiding in our mini tent during one of many afternoon thunderstorms|
|Sunset walk at the Dunes of Texel National Park|
The next morning we woke to a reasonably dry tent and a glint of sunlight. However, by the time we had packed up our bags, the rain was pummeling the tent once again. We conducted the worlds fastest tent take-down and ate our last bread and cheese in the campground bathrooms (less gross than you're imagining). We returned to our bikes and unlocked the super fancy Dutch locks (which lock across the spokes of the back wheel, simply preventing it from rotating. This allows you to leave the bike standing anywhere). On the trip back to the ferry terminal we encountered a massive deluge of rain and hail. After a few minutes of the intensity, we took shelter behind a small shed, huddling next to a French couple. We saw some of our biking acquaintances (other bikers who passed/we passed intermittently) battling the storm and waved from our happy dry spot. Back at the ferry terminal we shared grins of mutual understanding: we survived the storm together.
|Huddling behind a shed, hiding from the hail and torrential downpour.|