Monday, March 26, 2012

Nieuwkoopse Plassen (Nieuwkoop's ponds)

Our "new old" car is sand free, the kayak carriers are brand new, the roof doesn't leak and we would love to keep things that way: bright and shiny, spic and span, smooth and aerodynamisch. Our car has become a metaphor for growing old and not being able to accept inevitabilities like wrinkles, bags under the eyes and a less than aerodynamische figure.
That's why I suggested we do some flatwater, fresh water kayakking instead of an adrenaline-packed day surfing at the beach. Theo suggested the Nieuwkoopse Plassen where he used to paddle before he got hooked on seakayakking.
The Nieuwkoopse Plassen is very close by - a mere 20 minute drive from Aalsmeer. A drive through the green heart of Holland with its grazing-meadows, cows in the early spring grass and centuries old farms took us to this nature preserve managed by the foundation Natuur Monumenten.
This area is too wet for raising crops or grazing cows, a fact that Hollanders already in the tenth century had discovered, but from the 14th century on the bogs were a lucrative source of fuel: peat!

A landscape of long straight strips of land and water was formed - Google maps! - and eventually as a result of erosion lakes and ponds.

Most of the year the bogs and woods and waterways are undisturbed, but in the weekend in the summer season they are definitely not.
Nowadays the reeds are harvested for making thatched roofs.

Today we enjoyed a unique chance under a bright blue March sky for an afternoon and early evening just the two of us, of paddling and reflecting on (wild)life in general.

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