I figured out how to wild camp in the Netherlands! It's quite easy, and even better, it's free. In The Netherlands and some parts of Belgium, Paalkamperen, which literally means "pole camping," is how some people enjoy the outdoors. You navigate to the GPS coordinates...
The day started off with sleet, then hail, then sunshine, then hail, then rain, then sunshine. The past two days have been the most "wintery" of the season here in the Netherlands, and yet today spring is already a twinkle in a Dutchman's eye. The third Saturday of the new year is National Tulip Day.
The dunes are peaceful and serene from Monday to Friday with a few elderly dog walkers or occasional bicycle tourists passing through these parts, and the sound of grasses blowing in the wind. Saturdays and Sundays you feel like you could be in a bicycle race, with hundreds of recreational cyclists on their "sport-fiets" riding as fast as possible, winding around each other, and the hum of rubber on pavement.
Imagine, for a moment, a national park boasting vistas reminiscent of Canadian boreal forests, the African plains and lonely marshland. At the heart of this little slice of wilderness is a major art museum housing the second largest Van Gogh collection in the world and a 25 hectare sculpure garden. And best of all, the first thing you see upon entering the park are racks of complimentary bicycles.
Bloemencorso only takes place here, but makes the news throughout the country, so we feel really special to have been able to witness it. We were, of course, tardy to the parade (has a Shuchuk ever been on time?) but we were amazed by the second half, and the hour's bike ride was well worth it. This year's theme was "200 Years Kingdom" and the parade included twenty floats decorated completely with flowers and bulbs, luxury cars, marching bands and other entertainment.