Thu 24 Oct - Noordwijk aan Zee, Netherlands

A sunny, salty seaside day in the Netherlands.

We woke up late at the Dutch seaside resort to absolutely stunning weather, more like a fantastic spring day than late autum. This is how it looks from the top floor bathroom if you hang out a bit and turn towards the sea. Water views...

So, what to do? Stroll, of course. Not that we were in a hurry as we didn't get out until after 10am.

We also booked return flight for Hans to London next Tuesday. Hopefully that will temporarily sort out his passport dilemmas through a 3 months EU visitors visa in his Australian passport once he is reentering the Netherlands. The renewal of the Swedish passport will have to wait until he returns to Sydney.

The fresh sea air and the relaxed atmosphere is already having a positive impact on us. In the end, we criss-crossed a bit so will let Runkeeper show our path.

We started off strolling towards the beach, of course, with no particular goal in mind.

Signs in the local language are always interesting and Noordwijk is no exception. This sign has in a mix of Dutch and English and thankfully there are no fines if you "do" what they tell you to do. Why they felt that they needed to spell out a £0 fine escaped us and what fell into this category was also a mystery as all under "do" and "don't" was in Dutch.

These signs could be found all along the beach, with only the "you are here" point in a different place. Very busy signs, with a lot that is verboten. Not much in English but we could get the general idea.

Hmmm... The Dutch can be quite explicit in their signage. If you have a dog on the beach, bring your shovel, although we didn't see anybody with that.

Back to our flaneur, here we are looking away from the beach back to where we stay (to the left) and the start of the pedestrian mall on Hoofdestrat to the right of centre.

Koningin Wilhelmina Boulevard runs along the beach in the northern part of Noordwijk.

There were a few of these viewing and resting platforms along the beach and they seemed very popular. People had brought books and even papers to read and perhaps just lapping up the sun on a day like today.

The beach along Noordzee looking south. If you look closely, you can see taller buildings and a few skyscrapers to the far right on the horizon. We reckon that must be Den Haag, the capital, aka The Hague, and a destination for a day trip another day.

Hans in hiking gear on the beach while the majority of the people we saw seem to wear blue jeans.

Di enjoying the fresh and salty sea air (in jeans, getting into the local spirit).

This seagull had just caught a fish which of course attracted fellow gulls to have a go for it. Yep, it got a bit noisy there for a while.

There were these concrete sheets laid on the beach in various places, which appeared to be some sort of ramp, which of course had moved and cracked over time. It seemed ambitious to us, but perhaps they were the best solution for the Dutch environment.

Our best guess was that these were either summer or year round cabins. The front porch seemed to have been winched up and to provide shelter from the sea in the off season. There were only these 5 identical looking cabins from what we could see.

What the Noordwijk beach did have was a handful of restaurants and bars, some of them still open while others seemed to have closed for the season. This "beach swing" was outside one of the closed bars and we bet that it would be popular at the height of summer.

After strolling north along the beach, we turned around and walked on the promenade south, at which point Di was chatted to by a Dutch big bloke on a bike in a combination of Dutch, German and English. She does seem to encourage strangers... Again...

We soon saw this place and recalled that Brian and Doro had listed "de Zeemeuw" as a place for coffee and apple cake. So that's what we decided to have.

"de Zeemeuw" had very good karma on a brilliant day like today and we felt that we had made the right choice. You could sit outside in a more "formal" setting like what we did or outside of this more or less on the sand, but with proper chairs and tables. The glass walls meant you were protected from any breeze and it felt quite warm.

So, we ordered black coffee (Hans), cappuccino (Di) and an apple cake to share and yes, it was very relaxing to sit there lapping in the sun and feeling very European.

Another benefit was that the whole lot cost us £7.80, about half of what we paid for an almost identical order at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam 2 days ago. Here is Hans outside the restaurant / cafe. Nice setting, hey? If the weather holds, we are likely to be back.

After about 2 hours into our stroll, Di decided to wander back to Binnenweg to relax and prepare some lunch, while Hans continued strolling for another hour. This is Hoofdstraat, the pedestrian mall that starts almost at the beach, but here we are looking at it from its eastern end...

...where there also is this good Karma looking "beer cafe". Yep, that made Hans think of the Bavarian Beer Cafe in Sydney and on Manly Wharf. We will need to road test it one night.

Sorry, two more signs but that's it. We have seen signs with "andere richingen" elsewhere, but they just seem kind of funny meaning "other directions".

And a multi lingual message for the unknown passers by. They really want to keep the unwanted off their property, don't they?

Hans was back at the farm around 2pm, having some mushroom soup that Di had already made up when he was away. A lazy relaxed afternoon followed in line with our downtime objective. Snooze, and read, and blog and... yep, eat too. Very nice indeed.

Dinner was leftovers from last night with a glass of wine each and then a beer for Hans. We then watched more "Big Bang Theory" on TV and then the Batman movie "The Dark Knight". All very chilled and relaxed. Good night.

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