We’ve now had a few days to experience different ways of doing things and thinking about things. Hoorn itself is a gorgeous small city.
Back in the 1600s, when Holland was expanding its colonial interests with Indonesia being one of the main objectives, Hoorn played a vital role for the Dutch East India Company; or VOC as they were known. The ‘Golden Age’ that followed demonstrated a massive contribution by the Dutch to world trade. There are many times within recent centuries where Dutch navigators have had contact with and contribution to the knowledge of, New Holland, as it was known for a long time.
Hoorn has a harbour and a series of inner harbours and canals. It is fascinating to just wander about, as we’ve now done by bike and on foot. Around the next corner, who knows what will be found. We’re going to have such fun here!
So far, we’ve found a number of places where the coffee is espresso and well made. It seems that serving a small coconut macaroon alongside the coffee is a thing. They taste yummy too.
After settling in to our home for the next six weeks, we dodged the rain the next day and got our bearings around Hoorn as well as stocking up on various bits and pieces from the supermarket.
Then, it’s off to see some live music. It happens that on this Thursday night, it’s a monthly Salsa night and, for the princely sum of 5 Euros each, we get access, a very tasty dish with rice and some excellent music from Edsel Juliet and his Salsa Session Band.
Being able to then wander home via the Roode Steen, the main square was excellent.
We planned on a trip into Amsterdam for Friday, so we’ll be ready to head to the station in time to get one of the trains that run every half hour between Hoorn and Amsterdam. The journey takes just over 30 minutes and the trains are clean, fast, comfortable and have free wifi onboard.
We’ve purchased chip cards for our stay here. These work the same way as the Opal card in NSW or the Oyster card in London etc.
This gives us the flexibility to know that we can use trams, buses, trains etc as needed. We are soon deposited at Amsterdam Centraal, ready to chase up a few things we were looking for in shops, before having a foot tour of some of the inner canals.
Then, onto the tram and off to De Pijp for a look at the markets and a great coffee at Little Collins; one of a number of cafes in Europe channelling a Melbourne vibe. They even have ‘Long Black’ on their list of available coffees.
The streetscapes around here reminded us of Brooklyn, in NYC and, given the Dutch part in the history of New York, or New Amsterdam, this is probably understandable.
The return tram takes us to Centraal station and a quick shuffle through a brief rainstorm before finding our train and heading home to Hoorn.
Saturday looks set for on and off drizzle, so we take the car and drive West to Alkmaar; its cheese market place buzzing next to the canal.
Then, a bit further west to encounter the North Sea.
We find Egmond aan Zee, and a beach landscape disappearing into the distance with the wind sweeping in across the sand and the beach bars manufactured down there on the beach in shipping containers. Out to sea we can see the giant arms of wind turbines converting bluster to power.
It is so wonderful, after a long day out, to be able to come home to a home and just ‘chill’ before having to do anything in particular. And then, when needed, we can wander to the end of the street and find a cafe serving great food and a welcoming attitude.
Our Sunday gives us a chance to explore more of Hoorn by bike; finding out that there is a large market on a Sunday and that there just continues to be streetscapes and views that charm and excite.
One of our new neighbours is the bass player in a band, so we’re off to Enkhuizen by train to see the gig, Sunday afternoon at 4pm. The trains run every thirty minutes and the trip take about 25 minutes. We ride our bikes to the station; 1.2km, lock then up with the hundreds of other bikes, and then get on the train to Enkhuizen. The vibe, by the harbour in Enkhuizen with a duo playing American roots music, was very relaxing and the food was excellent.
The return trip was also seamless, with the trains still running on a half hourly frequency at 9pm and clearly not stopping soon. We unchained our steeds and pedalled home without incident. A very successful outing using integrated active transport; with great prospects for the next weeks.
1 thought on “Settling In – Seeing possibilities”
Roger what a great description of a fabulous holiday. You capture the sense of unending possibilities and the fun of being away in a new and beautiful place.