As de mooie zomer wore on in the Netherlands, our fall trips home got cancelled. After our trip to Norway, we laid low for a couple weeks, only seeing a few select friends in outdoor areas. We did want to travel a little more, so we rented an Airbnb in the southern part of Friesland, a northern province of the Netherlands. I had just gotten my Dutch driver’s license, so we also rented a car, and off we were, with me at the wheel!
We drove through most of Flevoland, stopping at a UNESCO World Heritage Site: Schokland. Schokland is pretty amazing. The small area used to be an island in the Zuiderzee which was a southern saltwater inlet of the North Sea. Fishermen and traders would stop off on Schokland Island, and there were long-term settlements and important trading facilities. Amazingly, in the 1900s, the Dutch shut off the entire Zuiderzee turning it into the freshwater IJsselmeer and an entirely new province: Flevoland. Today, Schokland is only a slightly raised area surrounded by a “sea” of farmland, highways, and little towns.
We spent the afternoon here. I got a ticket to go into the museum to see some of the historical exhibits. There is a walking tour that skirts around a small area with art exhibits and artifacts, such as the ship, facing a field.
We reached our Airbnb in Wolvega in Friesland around dinner time, and Stéphane made one of our Hello Fresh meals that we had brought in our car. Yum!
The next day was a big day! We started off relatively early by driving to Drents-Friese Wold National Park, which straddles both the Freisland and Drenthe provinces of the Netherlands. The main reason we came here was to see the sand dunes, but, amazingly, we timed our visit with a magnificent heather bloom! Pink and purple flowers were everywhere, and completely stunning (it reminded me of the last time we were amid sand and flowers).
As we crossed through meadows, woods, and through a small herd of schapen (sheep), we came onto the sand dunes. Almost eerie in the morning light, with the storm clouds rolling in and out all day, we trudged through them, stopping to take pictures and admire the view. We found our path through the sandy expanse, back into the fields of heather and, eventually, back to the entry way of the park. Along the way we found a tall viewing tower that gave me a look at the entire park.