Today was a chance of a day trip to the Island of Texol, pronounced Tessol. We had an early start to get a coach to the ferry which was a 2-hour coach ride and gave us a chance to see more of the countryside and canals that litter the country.
We then crossed the dam that separates the Markermeer and Ijsselmeer lakes. This dam is 25 km long and has a 2-way road on top. This seemed like a desolate road on top of a thin line of rocks separating the lakes. Once off the dam, it was a short drive to the ferry that makes the crossing to Texol.
Off the bus and a quick run to the terminal building to get aboard the ferry that makes the short crossing to Texol. 20 minutes on board and we pull into the port. The ferry had a small refreshment area, toilets, and a nice sun deck. The ferry takes cars, vans, and passengers across to Texol which has approx 13,000 inhabitants on.
The next leg of our journey required the hiring of bicycles for all of us. Being a beautifully sunny day again this was music to my ears. The bike hire place is right next to the ferry, so easy to pick up 30 odd bikes for students and teachers and then off. The bike hire place had a good number of bikes and also had electric bikes, tandems, bikes for kids, and bikes with child seats or trailers.
What we hadn’t been prepared for was the distance to our first stop. About 10km from the port we came to a shipwreck and beachcomber museum, which had an amazing collection of things that have been washed up on shore. I wonder how much has also been picked up from obsolete shipping equipment too. The colour displays made great photographs but I wondered if I was looking at a museum collection or just a junk pile.
From the museum was a short ride to the lovely sandy beach, with a couple of shops and restaurants with large outdoor areas perfect for the glorious sunshine that we had been lucky enough to enjoy. Also, a chance for our students to play in the sand, a paddle into the sea or pick up some souvenirs.
Journey back to the ferry was a little more interesting. Disaster struck a student’s bike as the straps used for holding things to the back got tangled in the wheel and gears. A couple of us sent the student off with a teacher’s bike so that he could keep going whilst we fixed the bike. The untangling process, unfortunately, wasn’t the only issue as in the whole process the gears had broken leaving the bike useless. So the issue was now 3 teachers, 3 bikes one of which was useless and 11km to go back to the ferry! The broken bike was juggled back to the ferry by one of the Dutch teachers and I had the other teacher on the back of mine! It was quite a journey and the back wheel of my bike was far from prepared for the work we made it too. The whole journey back was interesting for all 3 of us! We definitely earnt a beer from that!
Once we close to the port we could see our ferry pulling out of the harbour so we had an hours wait which wasn’t ideal but allowed for a rest in the sun. It was interesting to see the staff and students from the Mediterranean countries taking shade whilst those of us from the North were quite happy to soak up the sun.
The ferry took us back an hour later and then we went to a local pizzeria for dinner before the drive back to Harderwijk. The return journey was via Amsterdam but with all major cities, there was a fair amount of traffic around it which delayed our return. I didn’t get to see any of the Dutch capital on our trip as the airport was to the south of the city. I’m not sure what I missed as I don’t remember the last time I went through the city and it will have undoubtedly have changed.