During the summer, a group of explorers and I travelled across the Frisian islands to complete our explorer belt. The islands we visited were Texel (technically not part of the Frisian islands), Vlieland, Terschelling and Ameland. Our first challenge was trying to pronounce these islands’ names properly. We left Luxembourg on the 19th of August by taking four trains to the north of the Netherlands. Sometimes we only had a few minutes to change trains, so it was important to be quick. Once we reached ‘’Den Helder’’, we took a ferry to Texel, which is larger and more populous than the other Wadden islands. Our campsite was an old farm, where we stayed for three days. As we were in Netherlands, our main method of transportation was naturally the bicycle. After setting up camp and visiting the nearby ‘’ Den Burg’’, we went to bed. On the 20th, the plan was to visit the Ecomare; Here you can learn about and view the sea creatures that lurk around the area, notably seals. After our trip to the Ecomare, we cycled to the beach to enjoy the nice weather.
On the next day, we cycled to the coast to get ready for our trip on a shrimping boat. The shrimping boat tour took several hours. The crew members were informing all the guests about their tasks on such a boat. After the shrimp were caught, everyone had the opportunity to try some fresh shrimp.
The morning of the 22nd started with a surfing course. Our instructor taught us some of the basic moves after we got into our wetsuits. Everyone managed to get a hold of surfing. Most people managed to stand up on the board when we got into the water. In the afternoon, our mission was to get to the next island, Vlieland. We took a boat to the island but it didn’t dock at a port. Instead, we had to climb over the front rail and load our equipment and get ourselves onto the ‘’Vliehors Express’’. It was a large vehicle similar to a bus, but with huge wheels for the sandy terrain. During the ride, the passengers were all singing songs and enjoying themselves. We even found another Luxembourger! After setting up camp, we walked to the local town to get some dinner.
On the 23rd, we went to the beach to take part in a ‘’break in room’’. The group had to complete a set of challenges to obtain a sequence of numbers. These numbers were then used to open a vault which contained a souvenir to remember Vlieland. As we were at the beach on a sunny day, we naturally went swimming as well. A fellow group member had an American Football, so we played with that quite a bit.
It was already time to leave Vlieland on the 24th. This time we took a high-speed boat to get to Terschelling. On the way there, we stopped to go seal watching. In Terschelling, mudflat walking was the main activity. Some of the explorers had trouble getting through deep mud, so a lot of clothes had to be washed. During the walk, a local guide told us about the history and geography of the area. The next day we cycled around the island on tandem bikes, which was quite hard work, and so we rewarded ourselves with a trip to the beach.
On the 27th we went sea kayaking in the morning then packed up our camp and made our way to the port. An old Dutch sailing boat called a Clipper picked us up to bring us to Ameland. We stayed overnight on the boat. The captain and his crew were very friendly, and they taught us the basics of sailing and navigating on the sea. Most of us had to tie the correct knots when the captain changed direction. During that night, the leaders and explorers had a dance session listening to Richard’s playlist. In the middle of the night, the boat was not able to reach Ameland due to the very low tides. We could have practically walked around the boat (which we didn’t). The captain then brought us to Ameland later that morning. One of the explorers’ family was waiting at the port to see us. On Ameland, we didn’t stay at a campsite like before, but we got to stay in a hostel. It was a nice change to finally sleep in a comfortable bed. This was our last day before heading back to Luxembourg.
The trip back to Luxembourg on the 28th started with a ferry to the mainland Netherlands. After that, it was a bus and four trains. It took us twelve hours to finally reach the Gare in Luxembourg.