Saturday, August 26, 2017

Post card from Holland - North Sea

I hope everyone has been having a happy and beautiful summer so far! Here in Southern France it's been very hot as usual at this time of year, so when it gets to holiday time, we tend to do the opposite to the rest of Europe... by the time most people are migratimg to the South to soak up the  sunshine, we've already had too much of it! This year, we combined fresh weather, a beach holiday and a city trip by going to Holland. We headed to the Dutch coast first for some relaxation, followed by a few days in Amsterdam for some city fun.

Windmills, flowers, cheese and bicycles.. you know instantly which country you are in!



For the first part of our trip we went to a little place by the sea called Noordwijk, less than an hour from Amsterdam. I found it when I was looking for somewhere that had lovely beach clubs and a cool hotel by the dunes. The idea was to unwind and do nothing much other than walk, settle down for the day on a lounger with a book, and drop by the beach restaurants for lunch or dinner.





The weather was beautiful and fresh, the beaches uncrowded and the sand cool and pristine. Feeling much recuperated after a couple of days, we decided to explore the unspoilt natural dunes and woods that surround Noordwjik. Hiking trails and cycling paths criss-cross through a vast area of lovely countryside with stunning views over the North Sea, bulb fields and rugged dunes. Following a tip from a friend (lieben Dank Ch.!), we rented battery assisted bikes and it was fantastic. It doesn't mean that you don't push into the pedals, but the days of struggling uphill or fighting against headwinds are simply in the past. You just turn the switch to turbo, and on you sail.


Turbo mode!




Dogs are very welcome in most places, although the Wiener Boys had been chauffeured off for a holiday  with their mother Loulou (it's a short form of her pedigree name, which is much too long.. it consists of six words and 28 letters!), because I didn't think they would  have enjoyed the Amsterdam part of our trip so much.







The calm and cool Vesper hotel is such a relaxing and welcoming place and in the perfect location (three lovely beach clubs are tucked away behind the dunes within a stone's throw).



The Caba bag (available here) was a great companion, blending right in with the overall blue and white color scheme.



the Vesper Hotel's fresh and modern interior



the breakfast terrace, also open for lunch and dinner


So wonderful to sit in the sun by the sea.. without the heat.





The Vesper's rooms all have a different decor, and I just loved the lightness and elegant simplicity of ours



The Branding Beach Club..  perfect for lunch, dinner or spending all day..









Watching the sun go down over the North Sea while having dinner was amazing. In the daytime the water is a deep blue or dark slate color, but when the sun sets, everything mellows and turns into soft pastel shades, until it eventually disappears in a milky haze. If it's a cloudless sky, the sun sets as a deep red fire ball, painting the ocean and sky with shades of pink, purple, gold and scarlet.


Starter for two


Another evening, another beautiful sunset


The Bries beach club next door is fabulous too. As in all the places we've been to in Holland, the staff are incredibly warm, friendly and welcoming,  and the food fresh, delicious and beautifully presented in stylish surroundings.






Goodbye Noordwijk, it's been a wonderful time!



Amsterdam next (coming soon)


Vesper Hotel:
Kon. Astrid Boulevard 46, 2202 BE Noordwijk, Netherlands.
+31 71 800 9988
www.vesperhotel.com

Bike hire Noordwjik: Mooijekind, Schoolstraat 45 , 2202 HD Noordwijk.
Tel: +31 71 361 2826

Nederzandt Beach Club:
Langevelderslag 44-46, 2204 AH Noordwijk, Netherlands,
+31 252 372 430 www.etenbijnederzandt.nl

Bries Beach Club:
Kon. Astrid Boulevard 102, 2202 BD Noordwijk, Netherlands. +31 71 361 7891
www.briesnoordwijk.nl


Branding Beach Club:
Kon. Astrid Boulevard 105, 2202 BD Noordwijk, Netherlands,
+31 71 511 9494
www.brandingbeach.nl


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37 comments:

  1. How nice to discover a lovely hotel in my own country because of your blog! I look forward to reading about your days in Amsterdam. If you haven't visited The Hague that is a good reason to return! And then ofcourse there are many other lovely parts in the Lowlands to discover, Gelderland, Overijssel and even Groningen. Hamamelis

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    1. We had such a wonderful time in your country, Hamamelis! We are sure to come back and I hope to be exploring the places you mentioned on day. Thanks so much and have a lovely remaining weekend!

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  2. Holland so such an amazing country. We've spent the last three summer's sailing and exploring this beautiful place. Texel is well worth a visit next time you're this way and so dog friendly with the most amazing beaches and wildlife... looking forward to hearing about the most amazing city in the world... Amsterdam... x

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    1. Aww, so great to hear about your past fun summers, dearest Jayne! Your enthusiasm for Holland matches ours.. will hopefully take the Teckels to Texel one day soon. Hope you'll enjoy the Amsterdam post! x

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  3. Dearest MT,
    Northern countries are always a good idea for summer holidays, thanks for the tips, it brings some fresh air.
    I am ready for drinks all night long at The Branding Beach Club :-) Waiting for the Amsterdam part and looking forward to know what your eyes caught there!
    Big Hugs
    Catherine

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    1. See you at the Beach Bar, dearest chère Catherine, the champagne is on ice! I'm sold on Holland, it's so friendly, easy and laid back, and everyone speaks perfect English. Nature is amazing too and everyone rides on bicycles. Hugs xx

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    2. Count me in, dears. I'm just not sure about "all night long," though. You two will drink me under the table, and I will crash my turbo bike the next day, miserably hung over.

      Big hug (to Newton, too, of course),
      Jerrine

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  4. Your evocative post took me there...I see the glorious sunset..travel dreaming!

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    1. Thank you very much for the lovely comment, so very happy you enjoyed the post!

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  5. Such a lovely post my dearest Mai Tai. So happy you spent some lovely days in the Netherlands with nicer temperatures than in France. Have a lovely week ahead my dear. Big kiss, Manuela

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    1. Wish we could have stayed a little bit longer, dearest Manuela, it was such a lovely trip. Hope you have a wonderful week too! Much love x

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  6. we are already looking for something 'simple and coastal' for next year, this looks perfect and only a skip across the channel for us as we live on the Kent coast....

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    1. Noordwijk will be perfect, and it would be a fun change to see the sun setting over the channel instead of watching it rise! Plus Amsterdam is only 45 min away..

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  7. I just sent you a postcard via EMAIL!
    SO, happy you got away......the DUTCH DO IT RIGHT!
    XX

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    1. The Dutch definitely do it right! Alas, no postcard in my mail folder (and not in spam either). It is astonishing just how many messages disappear without a trace in cyberspace xx

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  8. Dear MT, what a super blog post this morning, I greatly enjoyed it! Although I adore the Mediterranean warmth, in August it is not so relaxing for me at least, and thus I am always seeking out new fun, and inspiring places to visit. This Dutch holiday looks perfect, and I particularly love the idea of the motorised cycles (which I have not tried), and which a Parisiam friend of mine swears by. I am a regular reader of your blog, but I rarely have time to comment, although I really should do so more often, as I enjoy it so very much. Anyway, this hotel is being added to my list. I look forward to the Amsterdam chapter - a city I greatly enjoyed visiting with my daughter almost two years ago in October, leaving the boys at home, when we were so fortunate to have wonderful autumn sunshine. We vowed to go back taking whole family, and I think its a great place for teenagers too. I await your beautiful and inspiring blog as always. I must also make some more purchases from your shop, the scarves I bought from you are so useful and look great with a range of outfits! With best wishes from elegant Edinburgh - a rather cooler Northern climate! Sheena x

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    1. So happy you enjoyed the post dear Sheena, and lovely to see you occasionally dropping by! Re Amsterdam.. you are right, it's one of those places which are perfect for a family holiday, weather the children are still young or full grown teenagers. Hope you like the upcoming post! The electro assisted bikes are amazing. You don't hear, see of feel an engine, it's more as if you developed sudden cyling super powers. Such fun! Wonderful to know that you love your sequined stoles, thanks so much. I've added a few new colors and a cashmere/silk blend since, hope you like them. All the best and have a beautiful remaining summer! xx

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  9. :-) Dear MaiTai,
    it's been way to long since I've spent wonderful days by the Dutch beaches.
    So your post brings back most wonderful memories. I'd love to pack my bags now and take off…
    Have a very HAPPY week
    Claudia :-)

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    1. Thank you dearest Claudia, I am always very touched if parts of my posts trigger special memories. Hope you can pack your bags very soon and have another wonderful time in Holland! Wishing you a happy week too x

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  10. Oh my goodness, I just love traveling with you! As a child, I used to dream of Holland, with its windmills, fields of tulips and wooden shoes! It's someplace I'd love to visit, but I had forgotten that dream until your beautiful photos reminded me. It looks like your holiday was a wonderful respite from real life. Thank you for sharing it with us!

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    1. I'm so very sorry dearest Greta that real life has been shaken so violently by the devastation wreaking storm Harvey. One can not begin to imagine the scale of destruction. Hope you and yours are ok. Sending big hugs xx

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  11. What a delightful little spot you picked for your summer sojourn. Everything looks so fresh and crisp and, well . . . clean! Even the sand looks like it's tidied up every evening by some secret staff with more staff coming along behind them and painting those glorious technicolor sunsets.

    I love those battery-assisted bicycles. That's my idea of a good time. I think I'd just switch it to turbo the whole time, take my feet off the pedals and sail into the sunset with a cool fresh breeze behind me.

    Lovely to see that you got away for some much needed R&R and a break from the unrelenting heat. I can't say that I will be sorry to say goodbye to summer, especially after what she brought us this past week (strength and courage to Trudye and Greta, too. Stay safe.)

    Love to you and the Swans,
    Jerrine

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    1. Somebody turn off the darn faucet--the Gulf Coast has had enough! My feet are going to web soon. However inconvenient it is for us, my heart goes out to our friends in Texas and Louisiana. Their lives are changing by the moment. Help where you can, pray for them all.

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    2. Your writing dearest Jerrine is as beautiful and evocative as ever, it makes me want to go straight back to Nordwjik! The Dutch tourist board should hire you, in fact every tourist board in the world, and whoever needs good writing should.

      I am so very sorry Greta and Jerrine about the devastation your country and people have to endure. It is difficult to believe the scale and magnitude of destruction, my heart goes out to everyone affected. Stay safe, dearest Swans xx

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    3. We Texans are tough and resilient...we'll be fine...

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  12. You are too sweet, dear MT. Maybe in my retirement? That's a nice thought to entertain - will write for free room and board at Maitai-approved resorts.

    Thanks, too, for your heartfelt compassion. The devastation in Houston and east Texas is almost unimaginable. You have to watch the news with a box of Kleenex! But, Texans are a rare breed of Americans, and if anyone can come back, they can and will.

    Unfortunately, we now have another hurricane brewing in the Atlantic - Irma. At this point, they're not sure where she's going to come in, but she may have Florida, Georgia and the Carolina's in her sights, and she's a mean old big monster like her cousin, Harvey.

    Cross those wing feathers for us, Swans and continue to keep Houston in your hearts.

    Love to all and here's hoping for a calmer "pond" in the future,
    Jerrine

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    1. Holy cow, y'all...Irma might be headed in my direction! Let's all flap our wings and head her out to open waters where she can spin herself out!

      Best wishes to our swans in Houston and surrounding areas as you recover.

      xo--Greta

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    2. I'm flapping as hard as I can, Greta. One of the possible paths has the mean old bitch coming in on Miami and then straight up through Florida and Georgia. Another has her swinging into the Gulf. She seems very capricious at this point, but her winds were clocked at 185 this morning, so she's already a category 5, and her wind cone is already wider than the State of Florida.

      Let's fly to MT's house and shelter from old Irma's wrath, shall we? (MT, I promise to get up early and "jog" the boys. Greta will make grits!)

      And believe it or not, there's a third hurricane now brewing out there in the Atlantic.

      Stay safe,
      Jerrine

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  13. A little off topic, but what is the name of the beauty product superstore in Paris that was discussed a couple of months ago...I'm headed to Paris this month...Merci d'avance!

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  14. Nancy, the beauty Mecca is CityPharma, 26 Rue du Four, right off Rue Bonaparte in Saint-Germain. Go early Monday - Saturday (closed on Sunday and take cash or Visa, as they don't accept Amex.) And, of course . . . have fun. Wonderful bargains to be had!

    Bon voyage,
    Jerrine

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  15. There goes Jerrine--able to dispense hurricane advise and travel recommendations in the same breath. What a swan!

    Yes, let's all escape to MT's to hang out with the Weiner Boys and eat cheese grits--it sounds much better than the preparations we're toying with here. If only Irma would make up her mind! Gas is already in short supply and I hear there's not much bottled water left either. And yet, the weather gurus can't decide on a track! Wings crossed we all survive to visit CityPharma!

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    1. This is one crazy B-E-A-T-C-H of a hurricane, Greta. The latest predictions say you're in the clear, and that she's going to barrel up the Florida coast and possibly make landfall in either Georgia or the Carolina's. That does not bode well for us at all!

      But, there will be another round of tracking in after 5 p.m. tonight, so stay tuned. I think they do the best they can, but these monster storms are highly unpredictable even with all the scientific equipment they have, etc. (can you imagine flying a plane through the eye of the hurricane? Wonder what those guys pay in life insurance premiums.)

      I just want her to go away and stop harassing and destroying us. If we're going to MT's, we'd better get out tonight before they start shutting down all the flights and moving the planes out of her path.

      Hold on,
      Jerrine

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    2. Batten down the hatches, Jerrine! I think Irma has you in her plans!

      Seriously--be safe. Leave if you need to. Pack up the car with your scarves and jewels and silver and photos and get the heck out of dodge. I have heard (on FB, such a reliable source) that the dishwasher is a good, watertight storage spaces you might keep that in mind. But this storm is nothing to mess around with, so make a plan!

      Take good care--Greta

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    3. Yep, Greta, I think Irma wants to party in Atlanta, and her little cousin, Jose, is following her right on in to join the "festivities." She is, indeed, a monster.

      I'm fortunate in that I live in a high part of Atlanta, so I'm not too worried about being flooded. What I am most afraid of are the winds and the huge old trees coming down on top of one's car while one is in the car. We have more green space than we know what to do with, and I used to think that was a good thing - not so sure now!

      It seems that half of Florida is already in Atlanta, as evacuees don't seem to want to go any further, but we will be as hospitable as we can be.

      I'll certainly be careful and am stockpiling batteries, water and . . . chocolate! And I will get the necessities together to assure a quick getaway if need be. Somehow, I think that I'll be safer at home than out on the streets, though.

      Don't worry about a couple of typos, dear Greta. I'm not sure I can even count to ten at this point.

      Love to all,
      Jerrine (good, I can still spell my name!)



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  16. Hell. I spelled advice incorrectly.

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    1. And then I said spaces when I meant space. This hurricane is messing with my brain.

      Dear sister swans, I am not an uneducated idiot, I promise!

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  17. Beautiful photos and very informative post - thank you! Would you consider posting an entry on how to pack for a trip such as this? I'm curious how you pack your outfits, accessories, and handbags to make such great combinations at your destination. Best wishes.

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