We slept well and enjoyed the hotel’s breakfast buffet this morning before we packed up and left. We were debating whether or not to drive back to Alkmaar for the Cheese Market…..we’d put so much time and effort into getting here, it seemed a shame to miss it….but we knew all the hotels were full and we watched tour bus after tour bus head in that direction.
We decided we didn’t want to deal with the crowds and congestion and headed out to the countryside for a drive over the Afsluitdijk, the causeway that separates the North Sea from the IJsselmeer (the lake that was created when the North Sea was barricaded).
The drive north was enchanting…..pasturelands with cows and sheep, graceful swans gliding over the still waters of the canals, windmills lost in time, flower fields bursting with color….so beautiful, so pristine.
Before long we came to the causeway…..man’s greatest effort to control nature. As we drove along this modern roadway, I couldn’t help but think that these two bodies of water long to be reunited.
We parked and walked over a bridge to find a parking lot full of cars and tour buses. The only sights to see? The sea and two statues…..one of Cornelis Lely, the engineer who designed the Zeiderzee Works, and one of a worker laying the last brick that separated the sea from the land.
We returned to the car, crossed the causeway and headed south to Schockland….a former island that now loftily stands above the pastures and farmlands reclaimed from the sea. It’s home to a museum that memorializes the history of the island….from prehistoric times to WWII, when it was reclaimed from the sea.
We drove on, heading south…..but without a destination. After a quick discussion, we decided to spend the next two nights close to the airport…..in a hotel with elevators. We spied a McDonald’s, headed off the freeway, ordered a light lunch and turned on the computer! Woo-hoo…..I love free Wi-Fi! It took a few calls, but we found a hotel with a room available. Park Plaza, here we come!
After a few wrong turns, we were on our way to Lijnden…..where we made a few more wrong turns before finally finding the hotel…..a four star hotel in the middle of a business park. We debated on whether or not to keep the car, but the hotel had a shuttle to the airport and, from there, trains and buses could take you anywhere….so Craig returned the car two days early…..expecting to get a refund, like we did in Portugal. Same company, different country, no refund…..go figure.
When he returned, it was time for dinner but the hotel’s restaurants had all the ambiance of a bus stop and, being in a business park, there were no other options…..so, after a Mojito in the bar, we went back to our room and polished off the cheese and chocolate we had bought in Edam. I’m so hungry, I’d even eat one of those private-parts chocolates tonight.
Because I’m hungry for those good things, baby
Hungry through and through……Paul Revere and the Raiders