Netherlands
Appingedam

Here you’ll find travel reports about Appingedam. Discover travel destinations in the Netherlands of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

3 travelers at this place:

  • Day857

    Goodbye to the Netherlands

    October 31, 2018 in the Netherlands ⋅ ☀️ 9 °C

    After a summer spent with the Danes, October was dedicated to the Dutch. Out of all the countries we've visited and have yet to visit, it would be fair to say we were least looking forward to the Netherlands. As we've frequently mentioned, we attempted to stay at a coastal car park here many years ago, only to be woken by armed police, who demanded to see our papers and issued us with a fine. Although we've passed through countless times since, first impressions have a lasting impact and this was certainly not a good one. Now that we travel full time, we ensure we are a little better informed about camping regulations.

    So, did the Netherlands manage to win us over this October?

    Motorhome facilities:

    👎Overnighting is restricted to designated spots, which were in high demand. Luckily we only had to move on once due to lack of space, but we saw plenty of others arriving and departing as the camperplaats was full. Not knowing whether we'd be able to stay at our intended destination caused a certain amount of worry.
    👎Because the majority of camperplatzen are in towns, there was the inevitable urban noise and bustle around the van. We were grateful for these free spots, but coming directly from Denmark, where there are hundreds of opportunities for secluded and peaceful countryside camping, we couldn't help but compare.
    👎Many places we stayed had restrictions of 24 or 48 hours. Even the paying camperpark at Diepenham had a 5 day restriction, so we often needed to leave sooner than we would have liked.
    👎We worked our way from north to south but as we progressed there were fewer camperplatzen and a greater proportion were just a large parking spot in a car park with no facilities.

    👍Using mainly the CamperContact app, but sometimes Park4Night, Will managed to find a decent number of small camperplatzen that offered a free stay and facilities.
    👍Many had electric hookup and a few didn't even charge for it. With autumnal temperatures similar to the UK, this really came in handy, reducing the strain on our 2 leisure batteries, whose power is quickly quickly depleted by the central heating.
    👍With wildcamping off the cards we were often parked with filling and emptying facilities on site. When this was the case we didn't need to worry about the amount of water we used or how much space the toilet had left.
    👍Camperplatzen were mostly situated in small towns, giving us easy access for a mooch in the interesting independent stores and a chance to pay the community back for their hospitality.

    Accessibility:

    👎While spoken English was excellent, very few signs / information boards were written in our language. We are firm believers in trying to learn at least a little of the native tongue, but deciphering regulations was definitely more tricky than in places such as Denmark.
    👎 We've found that the approach a country takes to roadworks makes a big difference. Dutch roads are well maintained but we encountered several that were completely closed and the diversions were often unclear or non existent.

    👍 The number of people who spoke English and the level at which they conversed was flabbergasting. Denmark was good but the Netherlands was better, so we didn't need to worry about a language barrrier.
    👍 Another area the Netherlands excels in is the amazing cycle network, giving access to both town and country. More than a quarter of journeys are made by bike and this increases to over a third in big cities. The country boasts 32,000km of cycle paths, meaning noise, congestion and pollution from motorised vehicles is noticeably reduced.

    Sights and Activities:

    Compared to Denmark's quaint, thatch roofed cottages, we were left uninspired by the Netherlands' brick built buildings on the whole. Saying this, traditional Dutch barn style houses lining the canals did catch our eye and the village of Edam was chocolate box pretty.

    After learning that this was the most densely populated country in Europe (aside from the micro states) we feared tightly packed urban areas whose boundaries ran in to one another. Instead, we were pleasantly surprised to find well planned settlements surrounded by plenty of open countryside, crisscrossed by kilometres of canals, whose towpaths one could invariably walk or cycle along. Will bought himself a small fishing licence for under €20 and downloaded the app that showed him where he could cast his line. He spent hours sat happily on the canalside or riverbank and even caught a fish or two!

    Meanwhile Vicky got to indulge in her yarn based hobbies by delving into a plethora of lovely little wool shops. We frequently enjoyed strolling along the highstreets of the towns we stayed in. There seemed to be more variety than in the UK and a thriving small business scene. The Dutch are particularly keen on their markets, which of course included the obligatory cheese stalls, bowing under the weight of the huge rounds stacked high, ready to be sliced and packaged. Fish stalls were also popular and we happily discovered that the Netherlands is the only country we've visited so far (other than Gibraltar) that batters cod and serves it with frites in a style similar to the much loved British fish'n'chips. If there wasn't a market on, there was always a choice of cafés, often with a range of loose teas available. Will did very well to stick to his diet, while Vicky made it her mission to sample as many traditional sweet treats as possible. Caramely biscuity stroopwafels became a firm favourite and the much anticipated stopover at one of the country's pancake houses didn't disappoint.

    Amsterdam was undoubtedly the highlight of our Dutch tour. We parked up for the weekend at the city motorhome park in the arty and alternative NDSM district, north of the river. Free ferries transported us and our tandem to the city centre to mooch around markets, stroll the canals, visit the sex museum and, fuelled by vegan blueberry space cakes, take in the city lights at night!

    Although overall we enjoyed our time in the Netherlands, we found ourselves feeling rather uninspired as we travelled over its flat landscape. A collection of factors unrelated to the country worked against it; the season had changed and the temperatures were dropping as the nights drew in,
    Vicky was in poor health the majority of the time and we came straight from Denmark, that we both agree is our new favourite country. We were also preparing to head back to the UK for a long visit in November - December. Our minds were partly reliving the highs of the Danish summer and partly planning the visit home, so we didn't invest much mental energy in the present opportunities for travel and exploration. However, the tight regulations on motorhomes meant we focussed more on where we could stay, than where we wanted to visit. Unfortunately we found that overall the attractions in the Netherlands just didn't have enough 'va va voom' to overcome our apathy and inject a feeling of excitement into the tour. Amsterdam has earned its place on the list of cities we want to revisit, but other than this we left the Netherlands with a feeling of indifference towards it. We certainly wouldn't be adverse to staying over while travelling to somewhere else, but we wouldn't go out of our way to return.
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  • Day829

    Appingedam bus station

    October 3, 2018 in the Netherlands ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C

    Appingedam bus station is our home for the moment. Its grey brick paving isn't pretty but it has 10 dedicated motorhome spots, free filling and emptying and we've shelled out a euro for half a day's electric hookup. Running alongside one edge of the station compound is a wall of metal sheet piles topped with concrete, that form the bank of the small Damsterdiep Canal.

    Since the middle of August we feel as if we've been on a mission; dash from Denmark to the UK for Will's hospital appointment, dash back to Denmark, explore 8 of its islands, travel to the Netherlands. We've rarely spent more than a night in the same place and so after staying two nights at our first Dutch stop, we only drove 5km to today's camperplaats.

    Will made use of his newly purchased licence by partaking in a spot of fishing soon after we arrived, then following lunch we walked just more than half a kilometre and over the canal into the centre of Appingedam. Initially the dull brick buildings and brick paving didn't make for most visually appealing environment but the more we explored the more we liked the place. We enjoyed poking around the proper hardware store and the second hand shop. Out of all the countries we've visited, Britain remains the charity shop capital. There are varying amounts of interest in preloved goods in different countries and usually a Red Cross shop, but if a place is selling anything other than new items, they are likely to run it as a business rather than for charity.

    At the far end of town stood the large St Nicholas church. We noticed as we skirted round it that its red brick walls seemed to be sinking and bulging slightly. As building began in 1200AD we just put it down to age and natural subsidence. Carrying on we were drawn to the canal and were photographing a pretty pedestrian bridge when someone stopped and spoke to us in Dutch. They quickly switched to English and asked if we were taking photos of the damage caused by the earthquakes. Apparently gas extraction in nearby Groningen has caused tremors which have led to cracks and buckling in building walls. Twenty new cracks had appeared this year in the church crypt. The Dutch government capped extraction in the Groningen field after an earthquake measuring 3.4 on the Richter scale and a torchlit protest attended by 10,000 in January. They are looking to stop it within 4 years. However we fear this is unlikely to be the end and the resident told us authorities were denying responsibility and refusing to contribute to the estimated repair work. There are hundreds of small gas fields in the north and more are applying for planning permission that looks set to be granted.

    Mulling this over we continued exploring. We came across a yoga and meditation shop that was celebrating its first day of business. It had a lot of tempting things to buy but we didn't need anything so enjoyed the free tea and cake and moved on to the fish shop. One of the Netherlands' favourite dishes is battered fish and chips so we bought a couple of fillets for Will to cook as well as two Hollandse Niuewe; pickled herrings with onion, expected to be held by the tail and lowered into the mouth. We tried to pay by card but the machine refused both the debit and credit cards so we used cash. There is no problem with our balance but it was the same situation in the supermarket so we decided on a visit to an atm to top up. We are going to have to be careful not to get caught out as we've read some places don't accept cash.

    It is the little things that often set countries apart and when looking to buy bread at the bakery we found all loaves save for one were already sliced. The baker said that this would be the case everywhere in the country and they only kept a few whole loaves on the off chance people like us would ask for them.

    Towards the end of our trip to Appingedam we treated ourselves to tea and a slice of apple tart at Aan Tafel café. Instead of teabags they had a tray of loose teas in little jars that they brought to the table for you to choose and spoon into the basket sieve within the glass cup. We have loose tea in the van and absolutely loved this system that we'd not seen anywhere else. We mentioned this to the server and they recommended we visit the tea shop in Delfzijl that we'd shopped at just yesterday! It's a small world!
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  • Day21

    Weer thuis!

    August 6, 2018 in the Netherlands ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

    Hoe dichter we bij huis kwamen hoe 'groener" het gras werd. Het heeft niet over, maar zuidwaarts is het erger. Maar als je omringd wordt door je dierbaren, zie je alles ook positiever.😘😻

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Appingedam

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