Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Walks with Johan part 2: Noordwijk aan Zee.

I have been home since Friday afternoon. An uneventful trip with the help of the same good people who got me out, in reverse. It is starting to feel more normal. Funny, usually I feel as if I have barely been away the moment I get back. This time it took a few days. I would emerge from dreams disoriented and wondering in which house in Holland I was. 

I am starting to feel pretty normal, though disoriented in time. I am suffering from season lag, not jet lag. 

Normally I work my butt off in summer. By November I am happy to retreat indoors for a while, read and play internet. This year of course it was all different. This week is for resting up, but next week I look forward to taking up some volunteer work and to let reflexology clients know that I am back. 

Anyway, time to record some Dutch pictures. To start with; Noordwijk aan Zee.

In our childhood vacation time meant one thing: BEACH.  Starting in 1953 we rented a place in Noordwijk for the whole month of August. One of my mother's sisters lived there. Her daughter Anneke still does, as do her grown son and daughter. Anneke is six years my senior, and was a glamorous entity whose doings I followed from afar. But Margreet kept going to Noordwijk long after the rest of us, and developed a close relationship with our cousin in spite of the 14 year age difference. We always had planned to go visit together but never got around to it. This time I did. Anneke and her partner Leo were the kindest hosts. 

We yacked our heads off catching up on the doings of a lifetime, and Anneke  drove me around old haunts. The lighthouse is one of the few things that have not changed. 
The waterfront hotels used to be right above the beach. The sea was visible from the street in front, known as the Boulevard. Now a strip of dunes separates the walk from the view. It is all part of the ongoing  struggle to keep the North Sea from flooding the Low Countries. They actually built a dike in front of the narrow existing dune, then covered the dike with dune stuff.
The illustration below comes from here: http://www.kustvisie.nl/noordwijk.php

A viewing platform was built at the Southern end of the Boulevard.. 
There is also a path through the new dune with a view of the sea.
The day was sunny but very cold with a stiff breeze, perfect for a walk on the beach. At first the plan was to just walk the sea path, but once I saw the sea there was no way I was going to let a wonky knee keep me off the beach. It was glorious. 
We walked over the beach from the Southern end to the lighthouse. One of the beach pavillions was still up. We enjoyed a coffee in a sheltered sunny spot out of the freezing wind but still with a view of the sparkling waves. 
By the way, I never post pictures of other people unless I have their express permission, which is why my inspiring 75 year old cousin is not celebrated here. Both she and her 84 year  old partner are prime examples of aging well. They play tennis 3 times a week, bridge to sharpen the mind, and do lots of walking and cycling. Way to go Anneke and Leo, thanks for the good role model!
We walked back over the Boulevard and the sea path, then I insisted on a tour of the Hoofd Straat, below.
In our childhood, when the weather was too foul for even a trip to the dunes we would make a Boulevard/Hoofd Straat round.  We'd either get a treat of ice cream or French fries at the lighthouse end of the Boulevard, OR Jaap and I were given a quarter for a tiny toy at the general store in the middle of the street. It has been replaced by Blokker, a ubiquitous chain of household goods. Ah, the joy and agony of decision making!  The toys in question would reliably fall apart after half a day, but that did not matter. Most of the pleasure was in making a selection. Noordwijk will always bring fond memories.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely blog. Thanks for taking us on a trip down memory lane while making new memories.


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