One of the things I enjoy most about travelling is the fact that it makes me value my own country a lot more. As a nature lover I always used to consider myself to be very unfortunate to be born in the Netherlands. It’s one of the few countries people would definitely not travel to just for the nature. We don’t have the azure blue waters of the Mediterranean countries, we don’t even come close to the mountains the Alps (let alone any mountain) and our forests have nothing more to offer than any other European forest. All we have to offer is flat meadows with cute grazing cows and horses, some interesting windmills and beaches with brown water.
When my partner from Switzerland came to visit me this month, I wanted to show him a bit of what our nature had to offer since we enjoy exploring nature everytime I come to visit him. Believe me, it’s quite a job to find something in the Netherlands that might impress a Swiss (out of all countries in Europe, this is probably one of the hardest to compete with!). I decided to take my love to the beach (something they don’t have!), specifically to the Zuid-Kennemerland.
The Zuid-Kennemerland is a national park west of the city Haarlem (which is worth a visit itself). There are several hikes and we decided to do the hike leading to the restaurant Parnassia aan Zee, starting from the entrance Koevlak which is a hike of about 9 kilometers. Officially, it’s a round hike, but the signing was not always very clear which is why we ended up taking the same path for some parts of the hikes.
Apart from the confusion it was a very nice hike. In the beginning it leads through forests which gradually turn into a beautiful dune landscape and ends up at the beach. Here you can grab something to drink or eat at the restaurant or just enjoy the wide view of the Dutch beach.
Once again Mother Nature taught me one important lesson: She is beautiful where ever you go, you just need to open your eyes to it ;) My expectations of what “beautiful nature” is supposed to look like and my human tendency to always think the grass is greener on the other side prevented me from enjoying what I had all along.