The multifaceted attractions of NLDelta National Park
Goeree Overflakkee island, South Holland – it always seemed so very, very far away to me, but I was unloading my bicycle in a car park within one hour of leaving Utrecht. Ready to explore this fantastic piece of Dutch Delta.
In Utrecht, I hadn’t noticed the chill of the wind and I had not prepared for it. I jumped on my bike, wishing I had more layers of clothing on. A few kilometers later I felt warm, however, and was able to focus on what I came for: tulips, birds, and amazing views. Spring is the best season to explore this island. Where the Keukenhof boasts more people than tulips these days, the Goeree’s large tulip fields are still a well-kept secret. The colors cheered me up and it was wonderful to see the pride and joy of Holland to my left and right.
I soon arrived at the furthest point of my itinerary, the town of Stellendam. I’d heard about Tij, the new bird observatory that was built here, and really wanted to see it! Arrived in the harbor, I followed the temporary signs. After riding along a twisting, unpaved path and some plank bridges, Tij emerged in front of me. Wow, that is quite the architectural feat! A truly amazingly cool building deserving of the name ‘bird observatory’. The artful timberwork, thatching and light fall made me super enthusiastic. There is a fantastic birding telescope and a crowd had gathered outside. Terns, geese, grebes, cormorants, widgeons, avocets, plovers, and… even spoonbills! I could also see the Haringvliet dam from the hut.
After this highlight, I continued on my route along the Grevelingen side of the island. My bicycle tires rustled over the shell paths along the coast and reed fields. While the sun slowly set behind me, I spotted deer on a big open field in front of me.I drove back to Utrecht, tired but satisfied and full of wonderful impressions. Goeree is closer by than I thought and I’ll definitely be back there!
Diana de Rooij