Our week in Amsterdam has not only given us lots of time to explore and discover the mysteries and charms of the city, it has also meant we had time to get out of town and enjoy some more country scenery.
The north-east of Amsterdam boasts some of the prettiest water villages in Holland. The dykes have created lots of waterways and rich farmlands and for €10 you can hop on and off the local bus service all day to enjoy it all. Throw in a trip on the Volendam-Markem ferry and you can stretch the trip all the way to Edam (yep, the cheese place) and beyond!
A slightly more expensive option by train and intercity bus leads north-west to the amazing dyke built in the 1930s to divide the sea, join North Holland and Friesland, form a new lake and protect the lowlands from the seas more tempestuous (and Global Warming) threats. Standing in the middle with sea on one side of the road, and the below sea-level lake on the other, really brings home the amazing engineering feat they accomplished.
One of the best parts of these two journeys was seeing how the light changes so quickly and how the colours and forms of the countryside changed with it. Just beautiful!