Saturday, 29 August 2015

Houten and Spakenburg

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A day of rest in Houten, but not lonely.  In the morning Tom brings Julia.  She stays with Wim an Gerrie for their turn of 'daycare'.  We take Julia with us in the car to pick up Gerrie's mother in 's-Hertogenbosch.  By the time we're back it's late morning and we have lunch together.

Heidi arrives later as well with Guido to tell her oma the news that there is going to be another great-grandchild for her in the near future!

Guido playing

Later Tom arrives again to pick up Julia, but then they stay for dinner, because of oma, and Su joins us as well.

After dinner Wim and I have some time to ourselves while Gerrie drops her mother off at home again. Wim shows me his Lego creations.  This set consists of two trucks, one with trailer, with all the parts to create a small country fair:

truck with trailer

second truck

carousel type of construction

dunk tank

ticket booth

Kop van Jut

truck front

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

On Wednesday Wim and I are having a 'brother-and-sister' day.  We try (with the emphasis on try) to catch the train to Utrecht, but after the very first stop, still in Houten, we're told the train is not going any further, because of a fault, accident, or whatever the problem was.  So, Wim rings Gerrie who arrives by car and brings us to Utrecht Central station.  From there we catch a train to Amersfoort.  Not without delay either, but at least we get there.

Railway station Amersfoort

In Amersfoort we rent bikes and set off on our bike ride to Bunschoten-Spakenburg.

There we have a well-deserved lunch at a lovely cafe-restaurant. After lunch and a great cup of coffee we have some time left before we have to be at the jetty for the 'fietsboot' (bike-boat) which will take us and the bikes back to Amersfoort.  Enough time to try and find, preferably one, but hopefully two, geocaches.  It's a lovely ride along the dike to the west of Bunschoten-Spakenburg.  We do find an earth cache and a traditional one and a tourist spot: a Palendijk.  This is a recreated reinforcement of dikes built of earth/soil, consisting of thin long poles assembled along the dikes to protect them from being washed away by the ever-pounding water of the former Zuiderzee (Southern Sea), which back then was tidal and open to the North Sea.

Yep, that's where we are going to see the Palendijk

The result of the picture I took... :-)
The Palendijk (The Pole dike)
In the olden days one looked upon the Zuiderzee from here. There was no Flevopolder and no Afsluitdijk (Zuiderzee dam). In front of us was the 'open water'. To hold that water at bay my forebears built dikes in the 14th century. Those dikes didn't provide a lot of protection back then.  A few big waves and they were gone. In the 16th century they found a solution: on the seaside they covered the side of the dikes with a thick layer of seagrass.  In front of that they placed a row of poles: the pole dike. It was a beautiful construction, but still fragile. Heavy waves sometimes pounded the poles and broke some of them. This would create a terrible noise. Afterwards, as a carpenter, I quickly had to set to work to repair those poles.

And of course the pictures of the two caches we found:

Grondwatermeter Eempolder

15 cm below NAP

That's high!

De Palendijk 


As usual, a muggle, in this case my brother Wim, finds the cache while I am still concentrating on my compass to find GZ.... :-)

Under the seat

We ride back to the jetty after our finds to catch the fietsboot (bike boat) back to Amersfoort.  A 4 hour, very relaxing, trip although when the sun finally disappeared behind the clouds it got a bit too cool to my liking...

Love these beautiful boats!

A windfarm. Litterally hundreds of those wind generators. The old type (two blades) in the front.  The newer models (three blades) in the distance.


Another one of the many bridges in this country

In this is how the other half lives...

And also one of the many houseboats (for permanent living)

A floating restaurant

back in Amersfoort

receiving the bikes at the jetty
When we are in possession of our bikes again we make our way back to the centre of Amersfoort.  It's about dinner time, so we find a restaurant at the market and sit down for dinner and a night of talk between brother and sister.  It's a great feeling to be out with your only sibling once in a while.

just a beautiful old building

the restaurants at the market

appetizers and a cool drink

main meal

The restaurant is called The two brothers and on the toilet doors, very appropriately for us, the words:


This great night out also has to come to an end and finally we pack up, find our bikes and return to the train station where we catch the train back to Houten, after we have returned our bikes.

The end!
(for today...)

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