Eating Out,Holland Habitation,Netherlands,Sights,Travel

Cannons and Ice-Cream

It was a long weekend here in the Netherlands last weekend and the weather has been absolutely gorgeous lately. It’s definitely summer, the days are hot and sunny and the sun doesn’t set until after 10pm! Dennis and I had three different outings over the three days; on Saturday we went to his parents for a barbecue, on Sunday we went to one of the “hides” and had a walk in the Oostvaardersplassen (I wrote about it previously here), and on Monday we visited the old fort town of Naarden and then Laren for ice-cream!

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Our walk in the Oostvaardersplassen wasn’t too long. The only unfortunate thing about this gorgeous weather is that our only mode of transportation at the moment is on the motorbike. If you’re riding a motorbike you need to wear protective clothing such as jeans, boots and leather jacket; all of which make you sweat even when it isn’t nearly 30 degrees! And then when you get where you’re going you have to lug around your jacket, gloves and helmet so we weren’t really dressed for a big hike.  We did get some fresh air and an occasional cool breeze though, which was lovely.

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Didn’t see as much wildlife as the other times we’ve been, only some birds, a dragonfly and these huge fish!

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Monday was just as hot, but we had a plan to visit one of the best ice-cream parlours in the country afterwards to cool down! But first we visited Naarden, a town that has been built within a Spanish star fort, complete with fortified walls and a moat!

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You can’t really see the star shape when you’re standing in it, but have a look here to see an aerial photo of it. The town within the walls is very pretty, full of trees and greenery, cobbled streets and historical buildings such as the gothic St. Vitus Church which was built in the 14th and 15th centuries.

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The weather had people out on the water in droves, some in little boats and some on barges actually built from some scaffolding with a motor attached!

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There’s also a museum, the Fortress Museum. We didn’t go in but we did see them re-enacting the traditional firing of the cannons outside. I was surprised by how long it takes to fire one of those things!

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We rode through the town and stopped to take some photos of the Fortress Gate before our next destination.

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As you can see, it’s a very pretty, historic little town. We then rode to the town of Laren, which is very close by and also a very affluent area. I swear we were riding down Millionaire’s Row at one point, there were so many huge, beautiful mansions set within gated grounds! Apparently Laren is one of the most affluent areas of the Netherlands (duh) and is well known for being an art colony in the late 20th century. I was also surprised by how many of these HUGE houses had thatched roofs. Obviously some thatchers are still getting enough trade to live very comfortably!

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Laren is also home to IJssalon de Hoop, an ice-cream parlour that has been there since 1898, makes all their own ice-cream and is regularly in the top-ten ice-cream parlours in the country! You can tell how popular it is by the line out the door and to the road. Dennis said that wasn’t even very busy and often the line extends to the other side of the road!
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They have over 40 handmade flavours including dairy/lactose-free and sugar-free varieties for people with dietary requirements. They also have a special flavour of the day that changes regularly and their prices are very reasonable compared to some ice-cream parlours I’ve visited.
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Dennis and I both got a BIG container, with five different flavours packed in! I had Grandma’s Cake (was kind of weird, but did taste a bit like a lemon-butter cake), coconut, strawberry, raspberry and stracciatella. It was delicious. Although next time I might get a smaller serving, my eyes may have been a little bit bigger than my belly (which is saying something)!

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As we left I saw an older man and lady sitting outside with an old dog, each with an ice-cream in a cone. And by that I mean they had bought three ice-cream cones and the dog had a whole one to himself that she was holding for him to eat! It was rather cute.

All in all it was a very enjoyable day! If you’d like to have a look at the IJssalon de Hoop’s website (in case you’re ever in the area, you should definitely visit!) then click here.  Until next week!

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    […] previously written about visiting this ice cream parlour before, but it wasn’t as busy this time as usually, so […]

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