We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us. The Covid havoc seemed to have ruined most of our lives, but as the vaccinations started to roll out, we can be hopeful to get some air to invigorate ourselves. Holding oneself behind the doors due to Covid restrictions in the Netherlands not only testifies endurance but indeed develops an obvious coveted desire to plan a perfect day trip. Once the lockdown is lifted, slowly and steadily we could try to fight the boredom by wandering through the unexplored suburbs of the Netherlands. Few months back, one of my friends suggested a beautiful village named Schoorl, the Netherlands. And we turned the wheels to the countryside in the Dutch province of North Holland- known as “Schorel” ages ago, now named Schoorl.
We reserved a sunny day of winters to trail chiefly through the sand dunes and embrace the turbulence on the beach. One day trip worked really well for us as we left around 9:30 and reached at 10: 20 (59 km far from our place, Amstelveen). And I would recommend it as a wonderful destination to plan a perfect day tour to get going in summers again. Before I begin my travel anywhere across the globe, I never miss carrying my face-mask, hand sanitiser and of course the snacks. Well, a long drive is in itself a boon to people working from home. For me, just the soulful music coupled with a comfort drive alongside the couple of friends add zest to the mood. Let’s find out everything we spotted enroute Schoorl, known for many enthralling campsites.
After parking, we marched straight away towards the Skatepark Burgemeester Haspelslaan. The great sand dune surely demanded quite a pack of energy to climb over to continue a short hiking segment. Seemed like real fun for kids who carry toy buckets and shovels to build mini structures by putting all the damp sand particles together. Crossing through the woods, we respited for a while on arrival to the partly frozen lake in the Schoorlse Duinen.
The vicinity was picturesque and worth recording pictures. After a great forest walk, we decided to stuff our tiny tummies with the pre-cooked lunch (eating and cooking being one of the peculiar traits of all Indians). Do not forget to take the backpack of picnic sheets, snacks and water bottles.
Following the same track forward for a few more minutes, we ended at a huge public parking near the beach. Well, boys took another reverse path to bring back the cars to beach parking. Local tourists bring their horses and mountain bikes for enjoying an enthralling ride by the sides of the north sea views.
Duration of hike- 70 min
Distance- 3.8 Km
I would call it a hidden gem since this beach is not much commercialised and kept as natural as possible. The eternal landscape cuddling the curling waves of the beach, leaving behind the clear foam at your footsteps is worth enchanting. Believe me or not, I felt like having wind beneath my wings the moment I reached Strand Camperduin.
Sunset was still a couple of hours away, so we kept hanging around. As the daylight started fading, we had a beautiful glimpse of the nightfall. The glazing golden colors shining through the beach water was spectacular. On our way, number of restaurants and cafes were opened for take away( as per the guidelines for Covid-19). There are much more activities offered around the village, but due to certain constraints, we could not avail a few of them, nevertheless it ended to be a perfect day trip.
Whenever you wish to escape the crowd, plan your itinerary to Schoorl for sure. No ways that you regret it. Summers and autumn is the best time to explore this majestic village. I wish everyone a very happy and a healthy year ahead. Hope we all get the chance to enjoy summers 2021!
Note: If going by a car, set the navigation address at Heereweg 62, Schoorl.
It was a thoughtful journey of two couples, me and my husband, and a companionable pair who were actively waiting for the signals to turn green for traveling within the European Countries during the Corona outbreak worldwide. Another important concern was to follow the Guidelines and the necessary tips before booking a summer trip. Following a few informational links, it was clear that Germany falls under code yellow and we need to strictly trail around with certain measures such as using mouth and nose masks at public places ( WC, Petrol stations, public transport), using hand sanitizers and staying 1.5-meter distance away from others.
Since we were free from any flu symptoms, it was time to scroll the bucket list and plan a thorough itinerary crossing across the district of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, in Southern Bavaria and the radiant romantic road, Germany. It was end of July when we fastened the seat belts to navigate through the fascinating lakes, mountains, castles and fanciful towns while exploring the countryside bordering Austria – Germany. Ultimately the most awaited road trip to 350 km long romantic route in southern Germany began in the early morning for a 10 hour’s drive from Amsterdam to the first place of our stay in Gästehaus Heiss Sonnbichl 3, 6633 Biberwier, Austria completing the enthralling journey of about 850km.
Day 1 – Fussen town, Neuschwanstein, Eibsee lake
With an exciting smile on our faces, we turned on the car wheels towards the medieval city center of the Fussen town that embraced the southern end of the romantic road. We could feel a leisurely and captivating ambiance around the shops, open restaurants, cafes, museums, and unique frescoes. The Neuschwanstein, the fairy tale castle was in the vicinity(5 min drive), so we booked a horse cart service(€4 per person) in the downtown that seemed to be packed with souvenirs, resorts, parking, bus station, a huge crowd of tourists and a far-sighted view of the castle. You can also book a guided tour to get inside the castle to appreciate the typical historic creation but to avoid hassle standing in an unending queue for tickets, we chose to take an exterior view of the castle which was spectacular and quite a primitive simulation of a castle from Disney classic. The spare time was dedicated to the upcoming natural wonder, the gorgeous Eibsee lake, Grainau. The simple hike along the turquoise-colored, translucent natural waters washing through the foot of Zugspitze mountain was literally mesmerizing. It was simply soothing to have a fascinating landscape view while strolling around the enticing alpine lake of South Bavaria.
Day 2 – Hiking trail to Alpspitze
Keeping in mind the weather forecast (sunny, 27-31°C), we checked out for an interesting hike(level- moderate) to Northern limestone Alps, Alpspitze, 2,628 m. It was just a 45 min drive to the base Hammerbasch village and a 10 min walk to the Alpspitzbahn cable car up the mountain( ticket cost – €17.50 per person). We were welcomed by the AlpspiX viewing metal mesh- platform, restaurants, and seating deck after an enthralled ascent through the lush green valley. Few hours of sightseeing, photography, and refreshments, it was time to march downhill 8.5 km along the Höllentalangerhütte to continue towards Höllentalklamm Gorge and back to Hammersbach. The trek began in the scorching sun and ended up walking through the river streams, waterfalls, tunnels and caverns. The melting glaciers dropping and roaring of the boulders was a phenomenal epitome of pristine nature, adventure, and romance in cold tumbling showers in a hot humid summer.
Timings for the hike- 3.5 hours descent
Day 3 – Konigssee Lake, Obersee lake, Ramsau bei Berchtesgaden
Just an hour’s drive and a quick walk-through attractive shops displaying vintage clothing, antique crystals, and sparkling stones on each side of the road, we reached the Boat dock for purchasing tickets. The quiet electric ferry rides you gently through the serene beauty of the majestic lake and emerald fjords cuddled in the arms of gigantic alpine alps. It was a feeling of lying peacefully in the lap of mother nature when we encountered Christlieger Island, numerous boathouses, and the Falcon Stone memorial across the poised lake. Another impressive part that drew our attention was when the boat’s captain told about the world’s famous echo chamber and demonstrated it by playing trumpet. We could actually hear the reverberating sounds played by the man. We got off the boat at the first stop, the Church of Saint Bartholomä, spent some time traversing the grounds and hopped back again into the final ferry boat that landed us to Salet where you can take nature’s call in restrooms and relax under restaurant huts. It took a 10-minute walk from the ferry dock to reach the secluded crystal- clear lake, the Obersee. What an awestruck moment for each one of us to witness such an incredible and heavenly piece of earth, the drizzling raindrops, and fog draped mountains added to the theatrical scenery. We dedicated 5 hours completely to the place taking pictures and swimming in the lukewarm waters(15°) in Obersee. We headed back and eventually decided to visit St. Sebastian church in Ramsau village. Again a picturesque place with a riverside church and a spellbound bridge in front of the ReiterAlpe Mountain range.
Round trip ferry cost- Adults- 16.90€ per person, the boat is every 15-30 min on the stops till 6:00 pm.
Useful Tips: Double-check the time for the last boat to depart from the Salet.
Day 4 – Romantische strasse, Dinkelsbuhl
After checking out from Airbnb in the morning, our new day began with the rocking music beats in the car that was rushing through the green and golden terrains, vineyards and sunflower fields towards the theme route, the Romantic towns of Germany. The first destination was Augsburg, which is famous for the history of Fuggers, a rich family of bankers or merchants who built Fuggerei, the world’s oldest social settlement. Keeping a close look at the maps, the next stop probably was romantic Strasse and medieval towns of Dinkelsbuhl, a free monarchical city with unusual yet magnificent street plans that were never actually planned but grown organically. Spending our day around the magnificently colored structures, cathedrals, lofty gates, and endless green fields along the romantic road of Germany, we then headed to the next place to stay in Marktbergel, Germany. After an amazing dinner, we chose to go out for a pleasant night walk around the homestay.
Tip: You can appreciate the colors of the street houses more during the dusky twilight.
Day 5 – Plonlein, Rothenburg ob de tauber
With a nostalgic feeling, we packed our bags again and followed the route towards our home in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Luckily, our desire to hold another trace of memories from Rothenburg ob de Tauber decelerated the car in Plonlein which was known for the yellow, tilted timber-frame house at the entrance with a fountain. The place was so rich and charming, that wherever we stood for pictures, it seemed like a photography spot. This place itself led to a historic double road bridge, the tauber bridge with two rows of arches and apple trees on its way. And with this, it was time to bid adieu to Romantic road at Wurzburg. We were carrying bundles of ever cherishing memories of magical landscapes and tons of fun we had during our stay.
You must have noticed that most of our stay was booked in Austria while the main trip destinations were mostly in Germany so that we could experience and cherish Austria’s countryside way of living as well.Here, I have some helpful tips for curious travelers.
Essential backpack items:
Identity card: Passport/ Residence permit
10-12 face and nose masks or scarf
Trekking poles/ sticks
Sun protection lotion
Medicines- Paracetamol, pain relief gel or spray, band-aids
Do not forget to carry your valid driver’s license, fuel card, vehicle RC card. Also make sure you have easy access to GPS or navigation apps (Google Maps, Waze).
Before entering the Austria motorways border, buy and display a toll vignette(sticker) at any major border crossings into Austria or at larger petrol stations (cost is € 9,40 for 10 days) or get digital vignette online to avoid a toll fine of €120.
You can also rent a car at genuine rates from Goldcar.
Wear Lightweight hiking shoes and don’t miss grabbing trekking poles/ sticks, water bottles, sun protection lotion, energy bars or drinks.
Use of ‘Splitwise app’ to keep the record and distribute the expenses amongst the group of friends. Save your planned itinerary and a list of important stuff on ‘keep notes’ mobile app.
What we missed?
Swimming in a natural bathing city of Salzburg in river Taugl, near Kuchl town due to heavy rainfall.
Mittenwald village amidst the alpine peaks and painted cottages.
If you have Corona symptoms, Government of Netherlands offers two ways to register and get you tested.
Website dedicated to Corona https://coronatest.nl/ – You need “Digid”, Phone number, email address to book a test and check the results. You will receive confirmation email once you registered successfully. Take this along to the test location. Important: You can not use Public transport to travel test location. Discuss this when you are making an appointment.
Dedicated telephone line 0800-1202-In case you are booking a test for child aging 0-6 years or you do not have Digid or you are a foreign tourist you can 0800-1202 is the contact number available all day between 08:00 and 20:00. Have your Social security number(BSN) handy which must be required.
If you are outside Netherlands +31 850 659 063 is the number you can contact at.
If you have any corona symptoms you can get tested for free of charge. In case of serious complaints you can call your GP and for danger of life call emergency number 112.
Role of Municipal Public Health Services (GGD)
The Municipal Public Health Services (GGDs) and hospitals administer the test. GGDs are the Medical and Health services in Netherlands. If you have Corona symptoms, you can register online or via phone for the test.
On registering a test, GGD will send you an email.
Nearest Test location will be possibly allocated and test procedure will be informed through an email.
Take an email Print out, Proof of identity: your passport, identity card or driver’s license and carry it with you to the designated location.
The GGD employee conduct the swab test by inserting a cotton swab in your nose and throat. This only takes a few seconds.
The cotton swab will be sent to the lab and test for Covid-19 will be verified.
Test is free of cost. You need not to pay.
You should immediately go home and stay inside till you get the result.
Do not use Public transport. Come on foot, by bike or by car. Use a mouth mask if you are in a car with someone else.
If you have any questions about test locations, Inform GGD while making an appointment.
GGD will trace the contact history if your test report is positive and you share room, house or have been in close contact with someone throughout that period.Your contacts will be called by GGD and advised to quarantine for 10 days.
Types of tests
Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test – detects the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) and Indicates if you are infected presently or not. Smear Test is the most common way of testing and is used by the Municipal Public Health Services (GGDs). Result is given within 24 – 48 hours.
Serological test – Checks for antibodies against Corona virus. This test tells whether you were already infected. GGD does not test for antibodies and hence perform no serological test.
We know World is affected by Corona crisis so does our lives . Unforeseen travel situation made this even more difficult. This post is sum up of all such questions that may arise while travelling to and from Netherlands.
Is Health Declaration needed to travel?
Yes, If you are travelling from Netherlands, Schipol Airport has a form available on their website-https://www.schiphol.nl/en/page/coronavirus/ .You must have two hard copies of this form which can be asked to show while coming in- or going out of the Netherlands. Ministry of health, welfare and sport uses this data to prevent and decide corona measures. You may asked for Health declaration anywhere throughout the journey. Always keep it handy.
DoesTesting for Corona is needed ?
If you are travelling from Netherlands, it is important to have PCR test done. PCR Test detects presence of novel corona virus in the body. Many countries asked for proof of Corona testing and only allows travelers with Negative test report to enter. **Check the destination country/airport for their travel advisory during corona.
Where to do PCR test?
A) Airlines like KLM provides PCR Testing by appointment only. KLM only test travelers either with no corona symptoms or those who does not covered under Dutch testing policy. Book a test atleast two to three days before the flight and Result will be given within 24-32 hrs. Testing costs Eur 145. https://klmhealthservices.com/en/journey-preparation/coronatest/book-now/. KLM has Travel Clinics in Hague, Schipol Oost (East) and Schipol Airport. Timings and availability may vary.
B) You can visit various websites for private testing irrespective of Corona symptoms. Below are two of them :
https://www.hethuisartslab.com/veelgestelde-vragen. The U-diagnostics test technology has been validated by RIVM / RKI. They Charge Eur 100 per person. Test result will be delivered very next day to the registration.You can either get a referral from GP or register for a test without that.
https://coronalab.eu/.This is Dutch CDC (RIVM) valid laboratory, opens 6 days a week and provides the result on the same day. Testing for an adult costs Eur 149.95 ( Payment accepted only through Card).
C) Schipol Airport: You can get tested at the airport between hall 3 and 4 if you are coming from Covid-hit areas. GGD will select the flight and inform passengers accordingly at the arrival gate. As of 12th September 2020 testing center is closed temporarily.
D) Municipal Public Health Services (GGDs): If you have mild to severe symptoms, you can book an appointment with GGD. Test is free of cost. You can register and book a test at Website: https://coronatest.nl/. In case of much severe symptoms, call your GP or hospital. And for life and death situation call emergency number 112.
On reaching Netherlands, you have to self quarantine for 10 days at your accommodation and should avoid to go outside. If you have Corona test report already done and it is negative even then the same quarantine rules apply.
** Travel advice may change during the travel. Check the destination country for their travel advisory during corona as well.