My New Year’s resolution is more frequent use of Shanks’s Pony (Brit. idiom for walking) and I can’t think of a more picturesque and bracing place to do it than the North Holland coastline. New Year’s Day in Holland was dismal and wet, so I took my traditional New Year’s walk on January 4 along the beach from Wijk aan Zee to the North Pier in Ijmuiden. The North Pier is a favourite spot for birdwatchers, I saw plovers and seagulls but a huge variety of sea birds can be seen here if you have the patience to stand and wait. The pier is only suitable to walk when the sea is behaving and it’s shut when the waves get above a certain height.
The world and his wife were out with their children and dogs so the two eateries that were open on the beach were heaving with people. Can you tell me why children turn public spaces into a playground? When I went to restaurants as a child I remember being told to shush for slurping through the straw of my milkshake too noisily. I wouldn’t have dreamed of getting up from my chair running riot and ambushing waitresses with lego like today’s offspring do. We headed into Wijk aan Zee and had a bite to eat at the lovely and civilized Gewoon in Wijk aan Zee They serve high tea or the traditional Dutch winter fare of erwten soep and chocolade melk. (Not usually consumed together!)
The Ijmuiden to Newcastle DFDS ferry shuttles mainly Geordies to and from the Netherlands for day trips or longer. Watch the ferry depart from De Kop van de Haven in Ijmuiden. This fish bowl restaurant is famous for its fish and chips, or kibbeling and patat as they call it here. Connexion Bus 82 from the Elandsgracht takes you all the way from Amsterdam to IJmuiden, or as I mentioned in this post, it’s FREE to park in Wijk aan Zee I guess I am a true Amsterdammer now, the way I luxuriate in any place that offers free parking! Although that’s the beauty of Shanks’s Pony (sometimes Shanks’s mare), you never have to park her anywhere 🙂