March 9th, 2004

SD Fub


Thursday evening, I collected klik from the city centre (she had a dinner with some colleagues -- including exar), and we went to Nunspeet, to spend the night at her parents house. The next day, we had to be at the ferry in Holwerd around noon, to catch the ferry to Ameland. Ameland is one of the Waddeneilanden, a set of islands to the north of the Netherlands. Between the 'main land' and the islands is the Waddenzee, a 'sea' that isn't that deep really. Lots of seabirds and seals make their home in the Waddenzee.
The odd thing is that the trip from Holwerd to Nes (a village on Ameland) takes a full 45 minutes -- that's the same as the trip from Puttgarden to Denmark! The ferry has to meander along the sandbanks -- WTF is up with that!? We're Dutch, we recreate coastlines as we see fit, we (re)claim land. Basically, water has to do whatever we want! Why don't we just dig a trench that's deep enough to let the ferry pass!?

Anyway, Ameland is a charming island. I had only been in Friesland once (in Oenkerk), and I have never been to a Wadden-island before. One tends to think of those islands as really small sandbanks, but Ameland is about 27 km long from tip to tip -- plenty of space for several villages and some big nature reserves.
klik's parents had rented a bungalow -- it was small but neat, but unfortunately the beds weren't that good (at least, not for my back). The first day, we didn't do much at all (tired from the trip, I guess), but the second day we went for a ride to the cultural museum in Hollum. It was mildly interesting, though it suffered from the "stack every old object in a series of rooms and call it a museum"-syndrome. I did learn that the people on Ameland made their fortunes in whaling, which was new to me.
When we got back, it was rather late and I wanted to walk around Nes with klik -- Nes is a really charming village with lots of old, little houses. Unfortunately, the bicycle rental place near the bungalow was closed and would only open after closing time in Nes -- so we opted for a walk on the beach instead. When we had turned around to go back, we saw my inlaws just leaving the beach. They hadn't spotted us, but we didn't call them. Instead we went into the beachclub to have a hot chocolate!

It's odd how you can spend a day in complete idleness when you're away from home. I'm not that productive when I have nothing to do at home, but then I tend to just browse the internet, read LJ or download some fansubs. Away from home, I can't spend any time on that, so I read more than I have read in the past three months! It was certainly relaxing.

On sunday, we made sure to be at the bicycle rental place at the right time. It's off-season, so it took the rental-guy some time to find out there were people willing to give him money... We rented bikes (EUR 5 per bike per day, which I thought reasonable) and we set off to the eastern tip of the island. That's the uninhabited part, with a salt-water 'kwelder' (the wetlands behind a dyke) and a large nature preserve where lots of birds hatch their eggs. It also features the highest point of the island (24 meters above NAP [NAP stands for Nieuw Amsterdam's Peil ("The New Level of Amsterdam"), the 'nominal' sealevel]) which offered a good view all around. I'll direct you to the post ingiechan wrote, which contains the picture. It was chilly but the sun was shining, so it was really pleasant. We went up the hill, went to the beach, went back along the dyke, continued to Nes, walked around in Nes a bit, and then returned to the bungalow.

On monday, we took the 10:30 ferry back to Holwerd. From there we travelled back to Nijmegen, with a short stop at the Ikea in Duiven to stock up on a few items we wanted.
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