Greetings from the Waddenzee!

Rachael and I are—at this very moment—sailing north across the Wadden Sea to the Frisian Island of Vlieland. It’s an hour and a half trip, our longest ‘assist’ of the jouney so far (even our longest train ride was only an hour) and it’s a strange, if welcome, sensation to have absolutely nothing to do for a little while. Our bikes are lashed securely down below in the car bay, while outside the salt streaked windows, white-capped waves reflect the summer sun.

The Wadden Sea presents an odd seascape to one used to deep water and granite harbors. “Wad” is Dutch for Mudflat, and just a few hundred yards off the port side of this massive ferry, waves are breaking over the black mud of one such shallow sandbar. Our channel is well marked—green and red buoys lean against the tidal current every hundred yards or so—but it’s still strange to see dry (or dryish) land so close to such a large boat. In this country of canals, locks and dikes, it’s just one more of the technical marvels we’ve seen to keep nature at bay.

Of course, the Dutch have found other ways besides dredging to deal with this shallow sea. Much of the Dutch coast along the Waddenzee and Islemeer has been created from these mudflats, making farmland out of ‘zeeland.’ The Polders, as they’re called, were created by creating a new coastline out of dikes, and then pumping out the seawater. The man-made outlines of the Polders are clear even from space: with their plumb edges, straight roads and perfectly arranged ratios of towns and villages, they’re easy to pick out on Google maps.

Tomorrow we ride down Vlieland, take another ferry to the Island of Texel, ride down it, and then take a final ferry to the mainland and the last leg of our journey to Haarlem. It’s a short spin from there back to the streets of Amsterdam. By bike, by rail, by sea; all in a days work on the Dutch Commute!

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3 Responses to “Greetings from the Waddenzee!”

  1. Hey Alex, You’ve got a great travel log here. Its fun to follow you along. Leslie and I did a little bike riding around Amsterdam and it really made me want to get out into the Netherlands Countryside.

    You may be interested in reading this guys travel log. He and his girlfriend are spending 2 and a half years cycling from the top of Alaska to the bottom of Argentina. He’s a great photographer and a decent travel writer as well. http://harry.biketravellers.com/

    Izaac

  2. good to see you are enjoying your NL cycling vacation so much. Texel is one of my favorite islands, can’t go wrong there. 🙂

  3. of course I meant: ‘…you enjoyed your NL cycling vacation…’ 🙂

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