travelling

alkmaar & cheese & 22 bridges

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Last month when in Egmond aan Zee last we made a trip to Alkmaar, about 10 km from the coast. We took an express bus to city center of Alkmaar i. e. next to the Old Town with its many narrow alleyways and also narrow channels. (However, there are channels of any size all over Alkmaar – and Old Town has got its modern touches here and there!)

Let’s start with the cheese market … the famous cheese market of Alkmaar.

We were really eager for experiencing the cheese market, but … we learnt that the cheese market during early season is open only on Friday. We made our Alkmaar trip on Monday … and next Friday we were on our way home. Bad luck!

At least we got some impression about the masses of cheese wheels in a shop in Old Town.

Back in Egmond aan Zee we strolled through the farmer’s market before returning home. There was a big market stall filled with cheese, lots of cheese, lots of different types of cheese – typical for North Holland and the rest of the Netherlands. Be sure that we stocked up on cheese … (Along to this cheese market stall there were also boots with gorgeous displays of fresh fish and fresh seafood, artisan breads and cakes …)

Coming back to Alkmaar …

We started walking around Old Town Alkmaar … some impressions … there is the De Grote Sint Laurenskerk which is desecrated and transformed into a venue for theatre, concerts and arts. There is a broad modern shopping area and lots of alleyways ending often at a channel … small and high houses with interesting gable ornaments … and lots of small shops …

When strolling the alleyways along the channels we found by chance the mooring area of a channel boat cruise. It was plenty of time for having some light, but late lunch before the next tour started. There are restaurants, cafés, bistros, fast food outlets – the whole range of food service. We found a table along one of the channels and relaxed with toasted sandwiches and beer.

Then finally we started in a flat boat with seats for about 20-30 people. (Early season means that most of the seats remained free!)

Coming to the bridges … The photo above shows one of the bridges – I mean this dark patch at the end of the water … The changes are narrow, the bridges are low, the range under a bridge is even lower … So every time we came across a bridge we had to bend down to the bottom of the flat boat in order to stay unharmed when under the bridge. At the end of the tour the skipper told us that there are 22 bridges to be master during each trip.

Altogether it was a nice experience to watch Old Town Alkmaar (and more) from a channel in a slowly gliding boat under this brilliant blue sky.

… and somewhere in the afternoon we climbed into our express bus back to Egmond aan Zee!

Let’s finish this post with a last display of cheese …