After our kayaking adventure in Giethoorn, we drove to Zwolle to walk around the city. It is a beautiful city! We explored the centrum, shaped like a star fort. There were old city walls that we spent a lot of time walking along, taking pictures and admiring the ruins and the reuse of such historical spaces.
The next day, we were heading home back to Amsterdam, and, along the way, we stopped in Sneek – a very picturesque town. Sneek (pronounced similar to “snake” in English) is most famous for its Waterpoort towers that guard entry into the city. However, we (and by “we” I mean Stéphane) found a number of other stunning buildings in the city.
A number of times, walking through these Dutch cities, you had a feeling of the “Dutch colonial” architecture of New York City mixed with the jampacked houses of San Francisco. In Sneek, we picked up some Frisian sweets (zo lekker!) and also got a coffee at Proeflokaal, a restaurant (it means “taste local” in Dutch).
Our city “tour” wasn’t over for the day, but first we drove over the Afsluitdijk, which is the causeway and dam that created the IJsselmeer out of the Zuiderzee. We kind of came full circle, from Schokland to Afsluitdijk. It was immense! A very long highway with a museum, where we learned more about the construction and future renovations. Our final stop was Hoorn, where we got lunch, before arriving back in Amsterdam.
Overall, driving in the Netherlands was actually quite easy. I probably drove a little slower than the Dutch wanted, but I also drive slower than many Americans want me to =) … This trip was a welcome and safe reprieve from Amsterdam. It was only a matter of four weeks before we would be back in a partial lockdown and then, finally, a full lockdown, until, as of this writing, mid-January 2021.