Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Day trip to Het Gooi: Laren, Naarden and Muiden

Last Sunday we woke up early so we decided to play the tourist. There are a lot of nice places for a day trip in The Netherlands, the country is not so big so if you are more or less in the center of it, almost everything is close enough for an excursion. 

We decided to go to a little area called Het Gooi in the province of North Holland. In this area there are some very beautiful medieval villages. We visited three of them, Laren, Naarden and Muiden (I have just read that Muiden is not in Het Gooi but in another region called Vechtstreek, but anyway).

Our first stop was Laren, a small very rich village just some kilometers north of Hilversum. This town is full of small farms reconverted in houses, expensive shops and small mansions. The center of the town is nice for a walk, there are a couple of churches and a park. You can see that people that live there are no beggars, the wealthiness  is all over the place, it can be seen in the quality of the houses, in the cars and in the shops. Here there are some pictures:

Overview of Hervormde Kerk and a little house, in the center of Laren

St. John's Basilica in Laren

Sculputure of farmers dancing in Laren

After Laren we went to Naarden, a medieval fortified town. The fortification is quite impressive, it has two water moats with a defensive wall in between, I can imagine that storming it must have been very very difficult. The center of the city is very beautiful, it still keeps the medieval looking, with the church in the center of the town and the streets leading to the protective walls:

Overview of the inner defensive moat in Naarden

Main street in Naaren

Nice medieval building in Naaren

And the last city we visited was Muiden. I am a bit disappointed about the city, maybe because I had to pay for parking my car and I really don't like to pay for parking in minuscule villages, it's just something I don't understand... well, and also because after paying I saw ten meters away parking lots with free parking, but anyway, the village itself is pretty beautiful, it has a very nice castle settled in the Vecht river's mouth. When we arrived the castle was closed so we couldn't visit it, we also couldn't enter the garden in front of it to take a couple of pictures because "the castle is closed and the [shitty] garden in front of it is part of the ticket, if you don't pay the ticket you cannot go in, and at this moment you cannot buy the ticket". In words of the ticket box girl, the shitty I added myself. Yeah, ok, whatever. I have a friend that always says "In this country you have to pay for everything... maybe that's why they are rich...". Anyway I as able to take a picture or two of it, here you are:

Castle of Muiden. Yep, the blue worker's house destroys the picture, but it was already there when I arrived...

River Vecht's locks

Detail of a pub in Muiden representing a Farmer from Het Gooi, even if the village is not in Het Gooi...

Was a nice day in general, I am extremely lazy to go out, luckily my girlfriend insists on doing nice things... Once I am out there I enjoy quite a lot but when I am at home I really don't feel like moving my ass from the couch to do anything, I am too lazy. 

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