While in the Netherlands I stayed outside of Amsterdam in a small town called Alkmaar. My original motivation was to avoid the high prices and bad reviews of the hostels in the city but I quickly got excited about exploring more of the Dutch countryside.
My last full day I woke up free of a headache (yay!) and to a morning full of sunshine. I stopped by the grocery store on my way out of town for some snacks and hit the road with a bicycle map. (Side note: visiting the grocery store is one of my favorite things to do in any new place. So many interesting things and gives you a small glimpse of how other people live.)
Holland is beautiful. I biked through green meadows full of horses and cows. I biked past windmills still in operation. I biked down shaded side streets with alliums in the front yard. And everyone bikes. Parents with two kids strapped to the bike. Older couples enjoying the scenery together. Two middle school aged boys biking side by side joshing each other.
I took a different route home. Instead of biking through the trees, I biked back through several kilometers of dunes. When I first heard about the dunes I imagined the big, rolling piles of sand I just to play on along the Washington coast. These are, instead, covered in heather and have a wild and unworldly quality to them. The bike path also rolls gently so for a good portion of the time you can just coast along and admire the landscape. It was biking through these dunes that I saw two cows wandering around and chomping down on their dinner. Truly free range!