Thursday, 10 June 2010

Our own Elfstedentocht: Stop # 2

harbour town by the shores of the Wadden Sea

The harbour town of Harlingen, in the province of Friesland.

Last year I started a series I called Our own Elfstedentocht to show you the province of Friesland in the northern part of The Netherlands. The idea was to post pictures of the circuit we did during the summers of 2008 and 2009, visiting the eleven cities that take part in the Elfstedentocht, a speed ice-skating race held during the winter in the northern province.

The Town Hall in the city centre of Harlingen.

Our first stop was Leeuwarden, the capital of the province and I covered our visit to this city here. Our secound stop in the Elfstedentocht brought us to the city of Harlingen, the most important harbour in the province of Friesland, situated on the shores of the Wadden Sea.

The busy harbour by the Wadden Sea.

Now that summer has arrived and that we can finally enjoy longer and hopefully nicer,warmer days out in the open, Harlingen is an excellent option to either take a daytrip or to stay for the weekend.

A lighhouse in the harbour area of Harlingen.

Taking the time to walk around the town can really be a pleasant surprise, for Harlingen has not lost the atmosphere of the olden days. Manyof the still beautiful old buildings in the historic city centre are reminders of the times when the town had very close commercial links with Great Britain, Norhern Germany and Scandinavia. Many of the warehouses you see around the city still bear names such as "England", "Poland", "Russia".

A street of Harlingen lined with old warehouses now restored and remodelled.

a pretty bridge crossing over one of the canals that traverse the city.

Maritime activities flourish here: the harbour is the home port of a huge fleet of charter vessels and hundreds of sailing and motor yatchts. Sitting on a terrace by the marina, you will be witness to the intense traffic of boats, big and small coming and going along the canals and sailing away into the Wadden Sea.

A boat entering the harbour in Harlingen.

A sailing boat in the Wadden Sea.

One of the canals that traverse the city.

From the ferry terminal in the harbour you can take one of the many boats that connect Harlingen with Vlieland and Terschelling, two of the islands on the Wadden Sea. On the website of the shipping company Doeksen you will find all the information you need to plan your boat trip to the islands, including day arrangements that include boat tickets, a rental bike or bus tickets to get around the island. You can choose the slow (2 hrs. to Terschelling) or the fast (45 min. to Terschelling) service, depending on your preferences or the time at your disposal and you can even take your bike or car on board!

The ferry just leaving the harbour, heading towards one of the islands on the Wadden Sea.

Another fun thing to do in Harlingen is to take a boat trip on the Regina Andrea, which will take you seal watching on the sandbanks of the Wadden Sea. The round trip takes about 2 hours and on board the guide will tell you all about the Wadden Sea and the seals, of course.

We spotted first a solitary seal basking in the sun.

Then we sighted dozens of groups of seals resting on the sandbanks in the Wadden Sea.

We have been now three times to this beautiful harbour city and I have to say, that I am looking forward to going back there again this summer. A good opportunity to visit Harlingen again will be during the main event of the year: Visserijdagen or Fishery Days, a festival that has been named the Carnival of the North. This year this event will be held between 25 and 28 August and will offer more than 70 different activities, like live music, handcrafts, dance, folklore, sports and of course, food. More information about the event can be found here (in Dutch).


Sonya said...

Oh my goodness..I love love LOVE your photos! I never get tired of the canals,water and the homes..they are so beautiful.

Just a Plane Ride Away said...

Oh so charming and beautiful! And the seals...

I'm glad to know there are still lots of places to explore in the Netherlands. I'll be back for sure!

Aledys Ver said...

Wow, thanks!! I can't have enough of them either. And all of Friesland offers you that!
Thanks for your comments!

Defintely, there's so much to see, so many more places to visit despite it being a small country, right?
Thanks for stopping by!

~ Lopa said...

Mooi pictures !
The place looks absolutely charming !
I have to put it on my list to make a visit some day !

buday said...

What keeps impressing me the most about the places you feature is the way the Dutch seem to take the extra effort to not only keep their surroundings clean but also to make it as pretty as possible. Case in point: that little bridge is actually festooned with flowers! Do you have a Department of Flora & Fauna over there? :)

Aledys Ver said...

Yes, you have to go, you'll like it! Promise!

You are right. My friends back in Argentina are always amazed by the same. THe first thing they comment when they look at the photos is a)how clean everything is; b) how neat and pretty everyhing looks! :o)
Yes, there is of course a dept. of fauna and flora, and protection of this and that, and what not! ;)
Thanks for your comments!

Anita said...

I have first visited Harlingen when taking the boat to Terschelling. Then surpirnsingly I have recognized it while watching the film "De Hel van 63". I need to pay a serious visit to it.

Leti said...

Really nice pics!! I fell in love with that bridge!

Presépio no Canal said...

Lugar encantador e as fotografias estao divinais! Excelente post, Aledys!
Eu ja gosto da Frisia, e agora fiquei com muita vontade de visitar esta localidade e ir ate Tersch.
Um sonho! Eu adoro o mar e barcos! Duas grandes paixoes!
Beijinhos, linda!


Ya estoy deseando ir, que fotografías más lindas, y que descripción tan detallada y poética, has conseguido que me transporte y recorra esos lugares al leerte.

Te pediré mucha info cuando vaya, que espero sea prontito.

Besitos y buena semana.

A Salto De Mata

Aledys Ver said...

Para cuando empieces a salir a conocer el resto del país! :o) El sur también existe, como decimos nosotros... acá sería, el este, el norte y el sur también existe. Beso.

Gracias! You have to go, it's very nice indeed!

Gracias por tu visita. Y sí, pregunta lo que quieras, que si no lo sé, te lo averiguo! Beso grande.

Anonymous said...

Oh how charming and beautiful!!! I've been wanting to plan a trip to the Northern Sea area..this looks perfect..thanks for sharing :-)

Aledys Ver said...

Do go, and now in the summer you will certainly enjoy it!
Thanks for your comment!

VallyP said...

Hi Aledys, what beautiful photos you have published. I don't have time to read your post at the moment but I'll be back, that's for sure. I'm looking forward to it already ;-)

Dylan said...

Lovely and gorgeous!

Aledys Ver said...

Thanks for stopping by!!

Thanks for visiting my blog!!

Anonymous said...

Such a beautiful area and your photos are stunning. We've had this area recommended to us by friends and now I'm truly inspired to go!

Aventurer@ said...

Gracias Aledys por acercarnos a estas ciudades secundarias de Holanda, para mi desconocidas pero no por ello son menos interesantes. Me ha encantado ver las fotos de las focas. Me ha recordado a la Patagonia, cuando la visité el año pasado.Un saludo.Tot ziens.

Aledys Ver said...

Thanks a lot! I totally recommend a visit to Friesland - it's very beautiful with its waterways, lakes and old charm. Definitely deserves a visit!

Esta parte de Holanda no es muy popular con los turistas españoles, franceses o italianos - pero sí con el turismo local y el alemán - para la gente que le gusta navegar y todo lo relacionado con las actividades al aire libre. Desde mi punto de vista, mucho más lindo que muchos lugares harto conocidos como Volendam, etc., que está saturado ya.

Paula said...

Thank you for your beautiful pictures!
It remaidns me to my trip to Argentina.
I was staying whith some friends in an Apartments in Buenos Aires near La Boca.
Caminito or La Boca looks very familiar to your pics.
It was the best trip of my life, so thank you again for making me remember.

Diego Ezequiel Bianchi said...

Que maravillosas imágenes Eber!!!. Nunca termino de sorprenderme de la bella forma en que mostrás Holanda.

BLOGitse said...

Hola! Hello! Bonjour! Moi! Marhaba! Hej!....
I guess life is good over there - your pics are beautiful!
Como estas? Estoy muy bien, en Casablanca.
huh, I can't remember how to write anymore! Spanish is much more easier to speak (my S. is very poor but I like the language a lot!)
El aire libre - that's what we like too but the air should be clean! like in Netherlands or Finland...
In Casa air is not sad.

Have a great week!


Anonymous said...

Qué fotos que tiene este post!!!! Pura luz!! Bellísimas, me lo había perdido.
Claudia G

Aledys Ver said...

GLad you had such a good time in Buenos Aires!
Thanks for stopping by!

Muchas gracias por tu comentario!!! Beso!

Lol! I didn't know you spoke Spanish!
Yes, the air is pretty clean here in NL.
THanks for your comments!

Muchas gracias!!! Beso!

Vanda said...

Hello, congratulations on your blog!! I am a Brazilian professor, and I am writing a book about world heritage sites, to be published in English by Springer, in The Netherlands. I am coming to ask you if it would be possible to have two high resolution photos of Wadden Sea to illustrate my book. All credits would be given. I thank you very much for the kindness of an answer in the e-mail Best, Vanda Claudino

Aledys Ver said...

Hi Vanda!
Are any of the photos in this post useful? I'd be happy to send it to you. Otherwise I could take a look in my albums to see if I have anything suitable. Let me know!