the beauty of a real winter

Gouderak Travel Blog

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windows still partly frozen, driving on the dike near Gouderak

Once I had found a way to drive my car up the dike, I noticed that there was a lot of ice in the river Hollandsche IJssel, along which my village is situated. I was quite surprised because the river flows fairly fast and it had only been really cold for a few days now.

A bit further after having driven on the dike, which was very slippery, I headed to the south, into the polder. The more I drove down, the more stunning the trees were. It looked like white sugar crystals had formed on each twig and leaf, like the whole trees were spinned out of cotton candy sometimes.

A bit further down the road, close to a place called Lekkerkerk, I saw some movement along a side road. There seemed to be a couple of ducks and swans, and a lot of coots (black birds somewhat similar to, but a bit smaller than ducks).

someone had skidded off the dike, allowing me to quickly get out and make a picture. Note the ice and the birds seeking the least freezing place
I figured out that this would mean that there was still an open piece in the water, not frozen yet, and actually kept open by the movement of the water by a concentration of birds.

I parked the car, and it was what I thought. It was a fairytale type of place, with willows and popplars all sugar coated, and the sun made it look like there were diamonds in the trees.

I made a lot of pictures there, which are added to this blog.

Then I continued to another river, called Lek, which however is one of the last parts of the river Rhine, before it flows into the North Sea after it passes Rotterdam and Hoek van Holland, some 50 kilometers downstream from here. To my surprise there was no ice in the Lek at all. It was clear though that the current was strong, and that there was still a lot of shipping going on, so maybe that helped keeping it open.

the road into the polder

I took the small car ferry to the other side, and ended up in a village that hosts one of the best known tourist attractions of the Netherlands, the 19 windmills of Kinderdijk. Although I would not go there in the tourist season, the choice top go there now was a good one. There were not too many people, it was cold but bearable thanks to the sun, and the canal, the windmills, the frozen water, the few skaters there, it all made a very picturesque scene. Once again plenty of pictures added, so you are kindly invited to get the atmosphere.

I had planned to eat pea soup today, but had to go pretty soon because of some family obligations, so I still owe you that. I will combine it with some other food info about traditional winter dishes in the Netherlands.

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windows still partly frozen, drivi…
windows still partly frozen, driv…
someone had skidded off the dike, …
someone had skidded off the dike,…
the road into the polder
the road into the polder
sugar coated willow trees
sugar coated willow trees
sugar coated willow trees
sugar coated willow trees
sugar coated willow trees
sugar coated willow trees
the sign in the frozen canal says:…
the sign in the frozen canal says…
the coots still seem to find somet…
the coots still seem to find some…
or not...
or not...
they join the swans into the littl…
they join the swans into the litt…
but the swans did not appreciate t…
but the swans did not appreciate …
so they were chased on land again
so they were chased on land again
swans complimenting each other, ni…
swans complimenting each other, n…
small strip of land between two ca…
small strip of land between two c…
swans keeping their open water for…
swans keeping their open water fo…
on their guards
on their guards
stay out!
stay out!
its clear who rules here
it's clear who rules here
land road
land road
poplar
poplar
swans venture on the ice
swans venture on the ice
but one of them keeps an eye on th…
but one of them keeps an eye on t…
hmmm, in the water is better
hmmm, in the water is better
awgh, really cold feet
awgh, really cold feet
yet, the other swan will try the i…
yet, the other swan will try the …
sugar coat by ice crystals
sugar coat by ice crystals
shall I?
shall I?
ok they are both on the ice now
ok they are both on the ice now
spreading wings to catch some sun
spreading wings to catch some sun
well, there we are
well, there we are
and now what?
and now what?
coots and a duck waiting for their…
coots and a duck waiting for thei…
and still waiting
and still waiting
frozen canal with swans traces in…
frozen canal with swan's traces i…
belly sliding on the ice
belly sliding on the ice
back into the water
back into the water
feels much better
feels much better
after all, its their pond
after all, it's their pond
willow trees
willow trees
line of willows along the small tr…
line of willows along the small t…
poplar and the swans pond white…
poplar and the swan's "pond" whit…
swans traces in the snow on the i…
swan's traces in the snow on the …
ice crystals
ice crystals
ice crystals on the chopped branch…
ice crystals on the chopped branc…
Gouderak
photo by: westwind57