Sunday, September 4, 2011

A beach day?!?

Wow, how can I even begin to describe how the weather is here! Its typically dutch to always complain about the weather, and now I can see why! So yesterday, we had a day that was 30 degrees Celsius which is 86 degrees Fahrenheit!! And then today its warm but kind of cloudy. The weather changes every single day, and you can have a day where it is nice, and then the next day it will be cold and rainy! It is very strange how the weather acts here.

So on Saturday, it was going to be so nice that we planned to go to the beach, and man was it a nice day!! Like I said, it was 86 degrees, and there were quite a few people at the beach! This is a picture of the beach. Hans said that this beach is the nicest sand in Europe. It sounds strange to say that, but it would be one of the nicest beaches if only the water was warmer, but the sand is the nicest in Europe, that's pretty cool!!

So this is a picture of where we were in the Netherlands. Its called Zeeland, and is about a 50 minute drive away from our house. While I was looking up how to spell Zeeland, I learned that this is what New Zealand is named after, because when the Dutch explorers found the area, they named it Nieuw Zeeland, or New Zealand in English. Zeeland literally means sea country (or land or state, dutch words have multiple meanings too) in dutch if you break it up into two words. It takes a while to get here because you have to drive really out west to get to this beach, since it is on the water. From this beach if you swim, you end up in England! That's a pretty long swim though...
So since most of the Netherlands is reclaimed land, there are a few things that they do to protect their land. The first of which you can see in the first picture. Those are wooden pillars stuck into the ground to break the waves and that is one method of protecting the land. The second method protecting the land is these giant dunes!!! We have to walk over them to get down to the beach, and as you can see by this picture (if you click on it, it gets a bit bigger) these are quite a hike to get up!! There's little people farther up the dunes, so that gives some perspective. And of course there are bike racks, for the people staying in the town. This place is a huge vacation spot, so a lot of the houses that are in this area are rental houses, or summer homes.
So after you hike up the dunes to get to the beach, you have to walk down stairs! This is me right before we went down the stairs. Off to the left you can see what looks like little cabanas, and they are very pretty and colorful. People can rent these for the entire summer so they can keep all of their chairs or umbrellas at the beach so they don't have to drag them to the beach every time. You can't see it in this picture, but there's a little restaurant to my right. You can see the boardwalk leading over to it though. It looked like a nice little place, but it was truly the only commercial thing on this beach, which is ALOT different from any beach in America. As you can also see, even though this was a very hot day, there is still space on the beach to sit! Everyone has lots of room to spread out, and of course if you walk further, there is no one there. But while we were there, we even saw people that Hans and Andrea knew from Hoogerheide! So it's not a very well kept secret, and everyone goes there when it is nice out, and you don't feel like people are breathing down your neck.
I thought the water was really cold though! But apparently a lot of people did not think it was cold at all, so I guess I'm just spoiled with nice temperature water. Anne-Claire also thought it was really cold, but this was because she was just in Rome, so she also had nice water to swim in. But there was a lot of people swimming in the water, including many dogs.
I thought it was so nice that dogs are allowed on this beach, because in America, there are a lot beaches that do not allow dogs to be on them. But little children, dogs and many adults thought the water was wonderful, including my host mom!! She was like, I'm going to go swimming, and I said, are you really? because if you do I have to take a picture!! And she just jumped right into the water. She got back in a few times actually.
The tide was out while we were at the beach, and it left such a long ways that was just sand. I thought the sand looked really pretty so I took a picture of it. But since there is this giant stretch of land, you can walk in the water a really long way without having to be swimming completely. So this is nice for everyone because you can walk alot. The only thing is there are little crabs in the sand, and jellyfish sometimes. We only saw a few jellyfish, but they were stuck in the sand and dead. And Anne-Claire and I also saw a lady walking with a little crab in her hand.
This beach was really cool to see, because there was also a lot of activity in the water. There were a few sailboats, and even some motorboats with people trying to water ski. There was one guy who kept falling alot, but there was another one who was very good. There were also a couple of container boats that went by, and I thought it was a little strange that they came so close to the land. But it was a little bit foggy in the distance, so I couldn't see how big this channel was. I can't imagine its too big, since England is pretty close to the Netherlands, but I don't know if you could see it on a clear day.
The little town was also really cool to see, because again, its not commercial at all. All of the buildings have the pretty "Dutch Orange" color, which I really like. You can also see the town's windmill off in the distance. Now I'm going to post a few pictures of the town, and then continue writing.

The Germans occupied the Netherlands during World War 2, so there's alot of bunkers in this area. Here's one that we got to go look at. We couldn't go inside of it though, because it's only open on certain days.

Here is also a map of the inside of the bunker. I thought it was really cool how it's built into the dunes, and there are two bunkers in this area. There was also a lot of bunkers on the way to the beach. Below is a picture of another bunker we passed on the way to the beach, and the top of the bunker we saw. I had alot of fun at the beach, but I never thought it would be so hot here! I wish I had more shorts, but soon I won't want them so it doesn't matter.
This weekend I have to go to an AFS orientation thing. I'm really not excited for it because a lot is going on here that weekend! Anne-Claire has a gymnastics show that I can't go to. And I'm really upset that I can't see it because its more like a show with stunts and flips and cool things. So I can't see that. Then also, there is this really cool play thing called Diedrick. It's an outdoor play in Bergen Op Zoom that they have every year. Every three years the play changes, and the actors are in it for three years. It's supposed to be a beautiful production, but it's also historical so everyone is dressed up in old costumes. Even though I wouldn't understand the words, I wanted to see the music and performance.
It's supposed to be a really famous production all throughout the Netherlands, and I'm so mad that this stupid orientation is making me miss that! There is also a monument day this weekend, and you can go see all of the different monuments all throughout the Netherlands (I think for free). So I'm missing that too!! It's also this festival thing this weekend too, but I'm not as disappointed to miss that. So I wish I could see Diedrick because Anne-Claire was in the play when she was 11, 12 and 13, and it was a different one but I've seen a few pictures. One day she said we can watch the DVD of it. But it's still different than being there. Soo, anyways, hope this weekend is at least kind of fun, but at least everything else I've been doing has been really fun! Don't have class till 12:05 tomorrow, so happy!


  1. It's so great that you get to record and share your memories so easily! I syndicated your blog to our class blog so your classmates can keep track of you too! Mrs. Clark Evans

  2. Oh that's so nice of you! I update it quite a bit. it's soo fun! My host sister even reads it too because she likes my writing so much