Sunday, January 30, 2011

July 25 to July 28 Texel Island

These were laid back days on Texel. The Dutch are generally laid back anyway, but Texel goes above and beyond. There are several small villages around the island. Tourism seems to be the biggest industry, but
there are also dairy cows, lots of sheep, a brewery, and some fishing.

Hotel Rebecca.

Texel bike path.

A local denizen checks out the passers-by.

We used these bicycles to get to Oudeschild.

De Waal has a village museum with an extensive collection of vintage
farm implements, dairy churns and separators, and especially horse-drawn
wagons and sleds. One was a hearse. Most of the wagons dated from the
nineteenth century, and I could see but little difference between the one built
in 1820 and the one built in 1920. Also, there was a big display of the
uniforms and papers of Cornelius Witte. Along with several other Texel
men, Witte served in the military of the Papal State and fought against
Garibaldi’s forces. It certainly implies that Texel may at one time have been
a very Catholic island.

Penny and I walked on the foot and bike paths around De Waal where
we looked at sheep, which in turn looked back at us. We did some more of
that on another day when we rode bikes (rented from the hotel) five
kilometers to Oudeschild, which is a fishing port situated on Texel Roads
just inside the Frisian barrier to the North Sea. Back in the days of the VOC
(Dutch East India Company) before about 1800, Texel harbor was very busy
when the Indies fleets came in. It appears that the Dutch meant both to
unload the ships quickly and to protect the cargoes from the English.
We visited the Maritime and Beach Museum at Oudeschild. It has a
traditional-looking windmill that is connected by linkages and belts to a 100
kilowatt generator, but the machine was not then in operation. There was a
barn-sized diorama of Texel harbor servicing a VOC fleet. Many activities
were portrayed, including: arrival with a pilot, discharging cargo, careening
ship for bottom cleaning, mast-changing, just to name a few. There were
replicas of an early twentieth century blacksmith’s forge, a couple of
fishermen’s cottages, and a carpenter’s cottage. The hull of fishing boat
TX11 which sank in the early twentieth century had been recovered and was
on display. It was surprising how much wood was actually left! Another
barn contained items collected off the beach. Thousands of them. Shoes,
hard hats, life rings. Three television sets. A B-17 propeller and another
one from a Lancaster bomber. There was a V-12 aircraft engine with the
remains of a wooden propeller, but I could not find any label information. It
had what looked like a turbocharger in the back, so I assume it came from a

Traditional windmill operates a modern generator.

It includes an open air museum of various cottages.

Amazing what stuff drifts ashore!

This is one fascinating museum!

We had a nice lunch. Penny had mussels and I had a white fish called
haar (sp?). We rode back to De Waal, making it a six-mile ride for two
people who had not been on bicycles in nearly thirty years. (Not counting
the exercise kind, where you can’t make a wrong turn.)

We visited most of the towns on Texel at one time or another. We
had lunch in Den Hoorn, which was adequate. The waiter uncannily
resembled George W. Bush. Poor guy! After walking around Den Hoorn
looking for the Rommelmarkt (flea market?), we learned it was just outside
of town. We finally located the entrance. It didn’t look very inviting, so we
just continued on to the beach. I got my feet wet in the North Sea, and then
we sat down to read for a bit. After fifteen minutes of heating up in the sun,
we came to our senses and went back to the car. We returned to the Hotel

Penny had earlier wetted her feet in the North Sea on the beach at De
Koog. That is a beachy, boardwalk village that is basically tacky. That is
probably why I like it. It has quite a few reasonably priced restaurants (for
the Netherlands) and we ate there twice. Both times, we ate in “Argentine”
restaurants where nobody spoke a word of Spanish. However, the meat was

We did all our laundry at a campground on Texel for seven euros, so
we left there with very little left to do. We may try to wait until Warsaw and
do everything just before we head to St. Petersburg.
As Americans, we ourselves were quite a curiosity on Texel. A few
Brits get there, but even fewer Americans do. The tourists were almost all
Dutch or Germans. I did see one Belgium license plate, which belonged to a
couple that also stayed at the Hotel Rebecca.

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