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Texel

The island of Texel (pronounce: Tessel) is the largest of the Dutch West Frisian (Wadden) Islands. The average length of the island is 20 km and its average width is 8 km. Texel has nearly 14.000 inhabitants.

The present island of Texel actually exists of two islands: the southerly called Texel and a northern part called Eierland (Eggland).  In 1630 the Zanddijk (Sanddike) was completed that connected both parts.

 
 

Texel: Haven Oudeschild

 

The crossing from Den Oever to the village of Oudeschild on Texel (pic above) lasts between 1.30 hrs  (favourable current) and 3 hrs (countercurrent). The Oudeschild harbour has recently been complete renovated and redivided. The result is an ultramodern marina (jachthaven) in the north and a bandnew landing stage for the classical sailing ships (Bruine Vloot).
The bycicle rental is located near the marina at a 10 mts walking distance from the ship.

 

Faith and superstition

Oudeschild's main tourist attractions on Sunday nights is the Texel fishing fleet setting sail for another working week at sea. After saying good-bye on the quay the partners that stay behind hurry to the head of the harbour for a final salute. An absolutely necessary  act to guarantee the safe return of the sailors according to an old Texel superstition.

Than there's the matter of faith. Roughly speaking the island of Texel is divided in two religious communities: Catholic and Protestant. The differences between the two are also visible on these Sunday nights when the Catholic trawlers set sail at about 10 pm, whereas the Protestants leave at 11.30 pm. Question: why 11.30 as the Day of the Lord ends at midnight? Answer: At midnight they're still on Texel territory, so they're not actually at work yet!

 
Texel: Trawlers set sail (click to enlarge)
 

Tour of Texel

 

Not only known for the world famous yearly catamaran race but also under tour cyclists: cycling around the island in a little over 60 km. For instance by starting in Oudeschild,  following the Wadden dike north to the village of De Cocksdorp and the lighthouse, head south passing (and stopping at) the nature reserves De Slufter and De Muy, through the dunes to the villages De Koog and Den Hoorn before finally turning east again along Het Horntje (the ferry port) back to Oudeschild.

If this all sounds a bit too far, too long, there's always the possibility of making shortcuts along scenic cycling trails like Skillepaadje from Oudeschild to island capital Den Burg or the Waal en Burgdijk from De Koog to Den Burg.

Examples of smaller Tours of Texel (20-25km): from Oudeschild westbound via de Hoge Berg or ferry port 't Horntje to Den Hoorn, up to De Koog and back to Oudeschild via Waal en Burgdijk and Skillepaadje.
Or: go north along the Wadden dike to the village of Oosterend, turn left to the pittoresque village of De Waal, on to Den Burg and back via Skillepaadje to Oudeschild.

 
Texel: Lighthouse and  De Cocksdorp (click to enlarge)
 
Texel: Church Den Hoorn (click to enlarge)
   

Where the action is...

 

Since the (nineteen) sixties all tourist activities on the island have been concentrated in and around the village of De Koog. Everything the good Lord and most of the Texelaars have forbidden, takes place in that area. Every summer evening discobusses from every corner of the island drive to and from De Koog.
And though there are lots of hotels, bars and restaurants in the capital Den Burg, most evenings and weekends there are still plunged in peaceful silence. Same goes for the rest of the island.

 
Texel: Village of De Koog (click to enlarge)
 

Albeit that a small revolution took place recently in Den Burg: a major supermarket has opened its doors on Sundays. And now and again there might even be some shops open on that day.


 
Texel: Capital Den Burg with supermarket Albert Heijn (click to enlarge)
   
 

...with bad weather

 

There's an ongoing struggle between the island of Texel and Holland's most southern provence of Zeeland about who has the most hours of sunshine annually. Strangely enough each year they both claim victory. Probably a matter of lies, severe lies and statistics.
Nevertheless, Texel has its rainy days from time to time. Not much of a problem for the average visitor who spends a week or more on the island, but pretty annoying for us cycling daytrippers.

 
Texel: Feeding time in EcoMare (click to enlarge)
 

Of course there are plenty of possible alternative activities like shopping and/or having a few drinks at the covered and heated outdoor cafés, but in these circumstances we recommend EcoMare, located in the dunes just south of De Koog, and the Maritiem & Jutters Museum in Oudeschild. Both instructive and fun at the same time.

 
Texel: Oudeschild Maritiem en Jutters Museum (click to enlarge)

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