After visiting Hamburg we took the train to the town of Alkmaar in northern Netherlands.  Luckily our three transfers went relatively smoothly and after leaving Hamburg just before 8AM we got into Alkmaar just before 2PM.  Our host Tim was there to meet us and show us around town.  Tim works in Amsterdam but is also working towards his PhD wokring with CBF (where Catherine works) and has spent a lot of time in Gävle. 

Alkmaar is a relatively small city known for it’s large cheese market.  Unfortunately we weren’t there for the big cheese market which takes place on Fridays, but it was great to have a local guide in a ‘real’ Netherlands city.  Amsterdam, while a great city and tourist draw is considered to be more of an international city whereas Alkmaar gave us more of a sense of what it is like to live in the rest of the Netherlands. 

'Big cheese' market building. It's right next to a nice public square.


The town's windmill. Yes, there really are lots of these all over The Netherlands. And yes the country really is as flat as its reputation.


Like most European cities of any size there are several big churches. I think Tim said this one is no longer actually used for church services but for other community events and concerts.


The main pedestrian street filled with shops and shoppers.


Lots of houses like this overlook the city's cannals.


This one was pretty unique though.


We took a cannal tour that goes under a number of small bridges.


Tim is really tall so he had to really duck down under some of the bridges to avoid decapitation.


We only saw one of these banners, but apparently they were everywhere during the recent World Cup. Maybe if the final had turned out differently they wouldn't have been taken down...


After the cannal tour and a drink on the patio we met up with Anja and were treated to a great sea side dinner at Bergen aan Zee.


Sunset over the North Sea looking toward Britain from the great sandy beach. Apparently most of Holland's beaches are of this type. The water is a little cold but a great place to relax nonetheless.


After dinner we went back to Tim and Anja’s super nice newly-renovated home.  Tim and I chatted while Catherine tried to feed and pet Anja’s rabbits.  After a good night’s rest Tim graciously dropped us off in Amsterdam on his way to work.  We really enjoyed our brief stay in Alkmaar and hope to be able to reciprocate Tim and Anja’s amazing hospitality in Canada some day.

1 Comment

  1. I thought Elizabeth and Bridget especially would like that first building… far nicer than any of dozen churches in town, it is preserved for the REALLY important things: the Chruch of cheese!

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