Most of our day was devoted to birdwatching along the Utopia wetland, a large area made of sand and water that hosts lots of geese, waders and spoonbills. The path is restricted to pedestrians and bikers, therefore birding is quite relaxed, and the distance still allows some quality observations; I was happy to show some spoonbills to the whole family, especially when one started to fish right in front of us.
For our second day in Texel, I managed to find a driver for the early morning. I couldn’t drive the rental car, so my dad came with me to the south-western corner of the island, the rising sun engulfing all land in its golden rays.
We started this sunny day by a visit to the beach. It was not so warm along the shore, especially with the wind blowing hard, so we only walked in the sand, jackets and gloves on. There were people of all ages, surfers, and even a carriage pulled by two horses. Over the sea, I spotted sea birds travelling north, following the shoreline like they often do.
We had barely settled in our cottage that I was already planning an early adventure for the morning to come. No one in the house dared follow me, so I left alone, before sunrise. In a tree, a Common blackbird (Turdus merula) sung.
Texel, in the Netherlands, is the first of the Frisian Islands, a series of isles that dot the coast of the North Sea, all the way up to South-West Jutland, in Denmark.
This trip, in the end of April, was a family reunion. Kevin was studying in Delft this year, and my parents spent a week in the region. I joined them for the three-day weekend, meeting them at the airport before driving to Texel. On the way, I was astonished by the sheer number of birds along the road: swans, geese, ducks, coots or grebes were everywhere! At that time, it was still pretty much winter in Finland (chilly weather lingered very late this year), so this abundance was a shock. Oh, and you’ll notice those birds I listed are all waterfowl: that’s because the Netherlands are a wet country. It’s obvious as soon as the plane goes down a little bit: canals, lakes, rivers… there’s water everywhere.
April, this year. After a long winter, days had started to get slightly warmer (not warm yet, but warmer) and longer, and some birds had returned from the south. It had been quite a long time I hadn’t been to my favourite place in Helsinki, so I decided to visit it again.
In April, a few weeks after this Norwegian escape, I went to Paris. While the main point of this visit was to meet friends from another life, I also had time on my own to explore known and less known places. At dawn or even before, at sunset and after, or during the day, I enjoyed the city at every possible time of day.
I have finished telling the tale of our Arctic expedition. Before we move on, I wanted to share some practical tips about traveling in the region.
First, though, here are the links to all the previous posts, in case you’ve missed some 🙂
En rød dør | Hornøya, cliffside haven | Soil, Varanger edition | Vardø | Vadsø | Varangerfjord | Whatever floats your boat | Advanced course in eiderology | Båtsfjord | On the high road | Clear skies | Here are the birds | Varanger, Day White | Castles in the Air | Prince of the woods
A red door, in Danish. That’s with this expression that our teacher introduced us to both the “ø” sound (a bit like “ö” in Finnish or “eu” or “œ” in French) and the soft “d”, which is for me pretty much like a “l”, except the tongue goes to the bottom of the mouth and not the top. At first, it sounded complicated… after a few months, it still felt complicated, but I also found the whole pronounciation very funny, and I learnt to appreciate it.