“There is a hidden message in every waterfall. It says, if you are flexible, falling will not hurt you!” - Mehmet Murat ildan
Is there anything more picturesque than a waterfall? The contrasting masterpiece of elegance and power gets me every time. Labelled the largest waterfall in Europe (it seems like this competition was based on water flow), the Rheinfalls (Rhine Falls) should be somewhere on top of your waterfall list. Located in Northern Switzerland, next to Schaffhausen and easily reached by public transportation.
There are boat rides available if you want to get close and personal with the splashes and feel the power. Or you could, like us, take a lengthy walk along the river. Either way, this area is striking from every angle. Great day trip not too far from Zurich for some family fun in the sun.
Living in the Netherlands for a year, I explored this beautiful country quite a bit. One of my favourite places would have to be The Vesting in Naarden. The Vesting might be small in size but it’s big in character. It has a nostalgic nuance without the touristic traffic of Amsterdam. Just walking around and admiring the overall beauty is an activity. Every house personifies a photo-worthy character. From colourful pot plants to rusty benches, small details distinguish each house from its neighbour. It took a bit of self-control and focus to keep walking without taking a photo of every brick and pebble. Some walls were decorated with messages of Dutch Wisdom- easily missed on the first glance, creating the fear of possibly losing out when skipping a street. The Grote Kerk (Church) is placed right in the middle of the Vesting and when you see the details on the inside and the painted ceiling- it makes sense that this artwork gets to be the centre of attention.
The character of the Vesting didn’t fade throughout the seasons, it has the remarkable ability to showcase itself and the finest shades of all the seasons. Leaves coloured with Autumn’s palette decorate the old buildings and antique pathways. Winter snow covers all in white and playfulness with old and young joining in snowball fights and ice skating. Christmas lights compensate for the sparse sunlight during cold winter nights. Spring shows promise and has a lively atmosphere of light-heartedness, while summer flowers colour the historic-looking lamps and magical tree reflections on the still waters matches the smell of cut grass.
In terms of things to do, the Vesting museum was remarkably interesting. You can explore the site from the underground tunnels and admire the view from the wings but also read about the long history behind the Vesting’s purpose and the thought process behind its design. Guided tours are available, but be sure it is going to be in Dutch. If you’re lucky, every now and then they have a canon shooting demonstration, which is not something you see every day. Beautiful day activities can include a walk on the Vesting wings or a cycle around the whole Vesting. Alone or in a group, it has a sense of fulfilment. Beautiful things come in small packages. I hope the photos reflect the big character of this charming place and that you have a small journey scrolling down.
A visit to The Netherlands is not quite complete without seeing at least one windmill during your stay. They have been a synonym for Holland for many centuries. One of the best places to go for this is Kinderdijk. There are 19 windmills from the 18th century for you to explore and appreciate. It can be a long walk if just seeing one is not enough, so I suggest you wear your sneakers.
It was a beautiful scene to see the ‘Desktop’ or ‘Calendar type’ photo of windmills under the blue Dutch sky in real life, magnificent and interesting. I am not sure what I thought a windmill does, but I had a slight clue that it milled something. Turns out, I was far off. The windmills pump water to manage Dutch water levels. This is the place to see 19 windmills in action.
Tip: Good news, there is no entrance fee. You can walk around, take pictures and admire all you like. However, you will be charged if you are interested in taking a boat trip or exploring the interior of a windmill. I found the experience wonderful without the need for extras. Don’t be fooled in buying discount tickets on websites beforehand. In my opinion: rather buy some real Dutch pea soup at the restaurant/ souvenir store- which was delicious.
The Netherlands is an enchanting country with lots to eat, do and experience. If you appreciate old building and architecture, then you might enjoy a visit to this lovely Castle in Utrecht. Kasteel de Haar is a 19th century, medieval style palace surrounded with gardens (which I imagine being captivating in the summer). The air smell of history and you imagine living in a different time. I would walk the grounds for days if I could. Beautiful beyond my vocabulary’s reach.
Address: Kasteellaan 1, 3455 RR Netherlands
Contact:+31 30 677 8515