Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Exploring Veere (Again), PLUS Terra Maris, Oranjezon, Vrowenpolder, and Kamperland

The incredibly historic and well-preserved Zeeuwse maritime town of Veere has lured us in once again - this time with Tobi. We went this past Sunday, and were surprised to find that, not only were shops open, but the sun somehow managed to find a way to break through the thick, semi-permanent, clouds for a good part of our afternoon. We brought the dog, which was super easy, considering the Dutch are the dog-friendliest folk on this continent, and perhaps planet. (Our frisky canine companion is allowed in most shops, in just about every restaurant imaginable, and on most public beaches.)

What I discovered on this trip to Veere is that a walk along the dike provides some incredible photo opportunities of the charming old town (from across the water).

Today I had an even more serious case of travel bug. Impulsive and longing for adventure, I packed my unsuspecting and easy-going toddler into the car and headed Northwards, to the town of Oostkapelle. Our destination? Terra Maris museum in the massive "Manteling van Walcheren" nature preserve. It was spectacular. To get to the museum you have to park at the back side of the Westhove castle, then walk through an alley of tall trees and past the castle, along a dirt path leading to the museum. The museum itself currently has an exhibit of local marine life along with a gorgeous garden, and with the huge castle as a backdrop, it really does make for some fantastic photos.

From Terra Maris we began our quest for an attractive area beach. Having heard that Vrowenpolder and Kamperland have nice beaches, I headed towards those towns, taking the scenic country route. We first passed the beach-area of Oranjezon, but without any change to pay for the parking meters, we weren't able to get out to take a look. What we did see is a really cute little café and garden adjacent to the parking lot, called "Café & Restaurant Uitspanning Oranjezon". (Oranjezon is now most definitely on my mental list of places to visit!)

Our next stop was Vrowenpolder, where we found a vast and hugely popular beach with a nice (albeit distant) view of the "Eastern Scheldt Storm Surge Barrier". Of the Zeeland beaches I've visited, I'd have to say that so far this is one of my favorites.

Even further North, on the Island-Peninsula of North-Beveland, is the region (and city) of Kamperland - also known for its beaches. Strangely, I didn't actually find any real (sand) "beaches" though... but what Kamperland seemed to lack in sand, it made up for in tranquil water, the absence of crowds, and it's fantastic panoramic view of Veere.

The nature reserve just south of Kamperland has forests and beautiful wetlands, something we don't see often in neighboring Zuid-Beveland, which only makes it that much more special (which is silly, coming from a Florida girl, I know).

I suppose our afternoon's adventures were just sort of a teaser for what we have yet to explore. A taste-test, so to say. Even though we have a baby on the way, I am determined not to get so very comfortable in our (Zeelandic) surroundings that we begin to take this beautiful corner of the world for granted. Afterall, our time here is limited, and there is so much yet to see and experience!

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