Netherlands – A three day bike/car trip

Courtesy of the American Spouses of Brunssum Travel Information Guide

For a wonderful three-day trip–bring your bikes:

Day 1: Volendam–a touristy, though still highly enjoyable, harbor community where residents are rumored to go about their daily business in traditional dress. (We saw only one man in such a costume, however.) There are lots of shops, boutiques, restaurants; several “old tyme” photo places with beautiful, traditional outfits (this would make a great Christmas picture); a wonderful museum (next to the VVV) depicting life a century or so ago; a small, but informative cheese farm/museum; and pretty neighborhoods to walk or bike through. Spend the night (and the next) at the Hotel Spaander (tel: 029-936-3595) on the harbor and soak up the hundreds of fabulous paintings gracing the lobby, restaurant, and hallways. The hotel has a heated indoor pool and offers a filling breakfast.

Day 2: Get an early start and drive up to Den Helder to take the 30-minute ferry to Texel Island for the day. Texel is another popular tourist destination, but doesn’t feel all that touristy. It has beautiful, shell-packed beaches; nature reserves; sand dunes; loads of sheep and sheep-related products (woollens, soaps/creams, linens, etc.); windmills; great areas for biking; and plenty of restaurants, shops, and places to stay.

Day 3: Ride your bike three miles to the neighboring town of Edam, home of that famous cheese, and meander through the canal-lined neighborhoods. Don’t miss the Edam Museum (across from the town square) and its floating cellar. You can see the essentials in a couple of hours and then spend the rest of the afternoon at nearby Zaanse Schans, an open-air museum with working windmills, houses, and shops including the original Albert Heijn grocery store–moved to the site to recreate/preserve life as it once was.

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