Biking Through the Dunes

Bridge in Haagsche Bos.

One of my friends recently told me that she likes to bike when the weather is good, so I decided I wanted to do it too. I looked around online and I found a route that seemed nice. It would go through the Haagsche Bos and Meijendel, an old park and dunes respectively, while also passing some of our monarchy’s houses. I’m not a big fan of monarchies, but their homes usually do look good.

Sadly, I got lost somewhere in the woods and when I reached Meijendel it was somewhere completely different than I was supposed to end up. It was still a lot of fun and I took some nice pictures. My eventual route was through Haagse Bos, Meijendel and eventually Scheveningen, before going back home.

Bridge in Haagsche Bos.

Bridge in Haagsche Bos.

A break of light through the trees, lighting my path.

A break of light through the trees, lighting my path.

Panorama of lake and road in Haagsche Bos.

Panorama of lake and road in Haagsche Bos.

A tower of Dunea, the organisation taking care of Meijendel.

A tower of Dunea, the organisation taking care of Meijendel.

I wasn't the only biker on the road in Meijendel

I wasn’t the only biker on the road in Meijendel

Going of the bike path to see more of the dunes.

Going of the bike path to see more of the dunes.

Meijendel is a protected area, so stay on the path.

Meijendel is a protected area, so stay on the path.

A view on the dunes.

A view on the dunes.

Panorama of the beach.

Panorama of the beach.

I could see Scheveningen in the distance.

I could see Scheveningen in the distance.

Kurhaus is a pretty old and famous hotel in Scheveningen.

Kurhaus is a pretty old and famous hotel in Scheveningen.

 

There's a museum in Scheveningen that has a lot of interesting statues.

There’s a museum in Scheveningen that has a lot of interesting statues.

The lighthouse near the pier.

The lighthouse near the pier.

Visiting Krakow

Saint Mary's Cathedral, Main Square, Old Town, Krakow, Poland, Travel

After my adventure in Slovenia it was time to visit my friend in Krakow.

I arrived Tuesday afternoon and took my time to pre-explore the city, before meeting up with my friend. Then we went into the Old City where she told me some of the history of Krakow and recommended some places for me to go on days when she was studying. Nearing the end of the day we went to where I would stay and we went by Zakrzówek, a former quarry that filled with water to form a lake.

Grunwald, Krakow, Poland, Travel

Memorial to the battle of Grunwald.

Barbican, Old City, Krakow, Poland, Travel

Barbican guarding the entrance to the Old City.

Lake Zakrzówek, Krakow, Poland, Travel

Lake Zakrzówek.

 

The next day we visited Wawel Castle, the home of the former monarchs of Poland. It had been looted during the second World War, but it has been restored quite a lot and the royal chambers exhibit was very interesting. After that my friend had to study, so I went to Podziemia Rynku on my own. It’s under the Cloth Hall in the Main Square and was an archeological dig, turned into a museum. It has many interesting things and you can learn a lot about Krakow’s history, especially from the films near the end.

Wawel Castle, Krakow, Poland, Travel

Wawel Castle.

Courtyard, Wawel Castle, Krakow, Poland, Travel

Wawel Castle courtyard.

Wawel Castle, Krakow, Poland, Travel

View from Wawel Castle.

Cloth Hall, Main Square, Old City, Krakow, Poland, Travel

Cloth Hall on the Main Square of Krakow.

 

On Thursday I went on the Free Walking Tour twice. The first tour was in the Old City where we walked around many well-known and some less known places while the tour guide told about the history and legends of those places. The second tour was about the Jewish history in Krakow, which also included their history during the second World War, but was not limited to just that. I wish I had more time in Krakow, so I could go on all of their tours. I definitely will go on the rest of their tours.

Saint Mary's Cathedral, Main Square, Old Town, Krakow, Poland, Travel

Saint Mary’s Cathedral by night.

Statue, Main Square, Old Town, Krakow, Poland, Travel

Statue of a student near Main Square

Dragon, Bones, Wawel Cathedral, Krakow, Poland, Travel

“Dragon” bones hanging at the entrance to Wawel Cathedral

Old Synagogue, Krakow, Poland, Travel

Old Synagogue, the oldest one in Krakow.

 

Friday was my last full day in Krakow. I went with my friend to Schindler’s factory. It’s a museum about what happened during WW2. It was emotionally very draining. The following morning I took the bus back to the Netherlands.

 

Visiting Slovenia

mountain valley, Kriški Podi, Slovenia

I had a short vacation from school, so I decided to visit some friends I met in Xiamen. My first stop was Kranj in Slovenia.

I left from Amsterdam on Thursday by train, needing to switch trains in Düsseldorf and then again in Münich. When I arrived early on Friday morning in Ljubljana I took the time waiting on my friend to wander around the train station for a bit and have breakfast. It was after I got back to the train station and before my friend picked me up that I noticed that Ljubljana offers free wifi to all. They said it was only for an hour, but my friend assured me later that you can just get a new login code everytime the old one expires.

Trainstation, Ljubljna, Slovenia

Ljubljana trainstation

Slovenia - Statue of France Preseren with his muse in Ljubljana

Statue of Slovenian poet France Preseren with his muse

 

 

After she picked me up we first went to her home in Kranj, where I dropped off my backpack and freshened up a bit. Then we went sightseeing in Bled, a town that was close by. We first went up the hill to the castle which gave a great view on the lake, after which we went down to walk around the lake. When we were done seeing Bled we went to the city centre of Kranj to walk around there, before going back to her home to retire for the night.

Lake, Bled, Slovenia

Lake Bled seen from the castle.

Castle, Lake, Church, Bled, Slovenia

Lake Bled, with the castle in the background.

Kranj, Slovenia

City centre of Kranj.

Slovenia - Statue of France Preseren in Kranj

Statue of Slovenian poet France Preseren in Kranj

 

On Saturday she was busy with homework, so she dropped me off at the bus station of Ljubljana from where I took the bus to Koper, a town at the coast of Slovenia. I rented a bike and went from there to the salt flats of Sečovlje. I saw many things, but didn’t have enough time to see all I had planned, partly due to the fact that I got lost somewhere in Izola. I got to the salt flats, but I didn’t see Piran and Portorož on the way there, although my friend had recommended it to me before dropping me off.

Koper, Slovenia

Begging my bike ride from the beach in Koper

Bike ride, Lucan tunnel, Slovenia

Biking through Lucan Tunnel

 

Sunday morning we left early to go mountain hiking. We met up with some of her friends and after a short drive we got to the mountain range where we set off towards Kriški Podi. A mountain with a cabin at it’s top.  Nearing our goal I realised that as someone from the Netherlands, a practically completely flat land, I had nowhere near enough stamina to go up a 2000+ metre high mountain and back. Luckily everyone was very patient with me and if any of you are reading this, thank you so much for putting up with my whining as we were going down. On the plus side, I did manage to take some pretty amazing pictures of a pretty amazing environment.

Mountain Hike, Slovenia

We just got above the tree line in this picture.

mountain valley, Kriški Podi, Slovenia

Mountain valley at Kriški Podi

Mountains, Kriški Podi, Slovenia

Kriški Podi, the destination of the hike.

 

Monday was my last day in Slovenia and I spent most of its morning recuperating in bed from the previous day’s mountain adventure. Luckily my muscles weren’t too sore, thanks to my friend making me do stretches after we got down from the mountain, so I could happily go to Postojna caves. They’re the biggest caves in Slovenia and the most popular ones. We started by going on a 2 kilometre train ride to get deep into the cave, where our tour started. It’s a beautiful cave, but a bit too dark for good pictures.

Cave curtain, Postojna, Slovenia

Cave curtains in Postojna cave.

Stalagmite, Postojna, Cave, Slovenia

One of the stalagmites that you can find on the postcards for Postojna caves

 

After the cave I needed to take the bus back to Ljubljana, so I waited. And waited. And waited. But the bus didn’t come. I went to the train station, but there was something wrong with the trains and they weren’t riding at all. I was worried I wouldn’t make it to the bus to Kraków, but luckily I had met some Singaporean tourists that had also taken the tour in the cave and they agreed to share a taxi with me. If it weren’t for them I would have missed the bus, but now I even had time to see a bit of Ljubljana by night and have dinner before I left