TEXEL – up close and personal

'Brandweer ' - Texel's mini fire brigade. I noticed the key was hanging in the ignition, ready for any emergency.

‘Brandweer ‘ – Texel’s miniature fire engine. I noticed the key was hanging in the ignition, ready for any emergency. May all their fires be small fires.

Excuse me for harking back to last weekend’s cycling trip to Texel Island. There were a few little things worth mentioning that I missed in my previous post.

What makes Texel so attractive to Dutch people and to a handful of knowledgeable German visitors is its small scale and its olde worlde charm.

We followed the signs to a cheese farm, where we could see the cows being milked – always fun for us sophisticated city folk.

We went for the nettle cheese - just to be different.

We went for the nettle cheese – just to get a bit of a sting.

Texel’s most famous product is its Texel lamb, so we made sure we tried some of that. Yes, very good. But there are other local delicacies…

Wadden Islands Paardenbonen (Horse beans) from the local supermarket. I didn't know beans came from horses, but I'm just a simple city boy.

Wadden Islands Paardenbonen (Horse beans) from the local supermarket. I didn’t know beans came from horses; we city folk are so out of touch with how our food is produced!

The biggest town on Texel is den Burgh, with 7000 residents. On a sunny Saturday afternoon, there may well have been 7000 visitors there as well.

There's sun in Den Burgh, so everybody wants a place in it.

There’s sun in Den Burgh, so everybody wants a place in it.

A private courtyard in Den Burgh's main shopping street. Everybody pulls out their cameras.

A private courtyard in Den Burgh’s main shopping street. Everybody pulls out their cameras.

It’s always inspiring to find an honesty system still operating. In the main street of the village we stayed in, Den Hoorn, I came across this…

Free range eggs on the doorstep. Just put EUR1.75 in the box and take them.

Free range eggs on the doorstep. Just put EUR1.75 in the box and take them.

Texel is beautifully set up for cycling tourism, which must by now be its main industry.

The 'toadstools' ensure you can't get lost on Texel, though we managed it anyway.

The ‘toadstools’ ensure cyclists can’t get lost on Texel, though we managed it anyway.

De Koog is a less appealing village, to us at any rate. It does have a beach which pulls a lot of visitors, though we Australians have seen better ones.

Not exactly beach weather at de Koog.

Not exactly beach weather at de Koog, but beach huts always make for a decent photo.

Thanks to Wikipedia, I found a little Texel story that appealed to me.

In 1795 the mighty Dutch navy was stuck in ice off Texel. French commandant Louis Joseph Lahure and 128 men rode up on their horses and demanded that the Dutch surrender. They did so without a shot being fired – the only time in history that the cavalry has defeated the navy. I don’t expect it will ever happen again.

We spent two delightful days on Texel, then caught the ferry for the 20-minute trip back to Den Helder on the mainland. We were entertained by the gulls that follow the boat, hoping for a free feed.

I don't often get a good shot of birds in flight. These gulls were good enough to hover a bit.

I don’t often get a good shot of birds in flight. These gulls were good enough to hover a bit.

Staying there: We can recommend the hotel Loodsmans Welvaren in Den Hoorn for its friendly service, light and spacious rooms, substantial breakfast and excellent value.

(No, it wasn’t a freebie this time.)

5 Comments

Filed under Cycle touring, Cycling, Holland

5 responses to “TEXEL – up close and personal

  1. Sounds great Richard – love those seagulls!

    • I was pleased with that one too, Andrew. I switched my camera to ‘Sport’ mode to catch the fast action – that’s getting pretty technical for me. I usually just point and shoot.

  2. Amazing picture of the gulls, Richard! What a catch!
    -Mina

  3. The miniature fire engine looks *adorable* – was it *real*? I’ve never heard of horse beans before – seriously, what are they? Oh and great pic of the gulls!

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