As of January 1, 2020, “Holland” — the storied land of wooden shoes, windmills, bicycles, and tulips — is no more.
Did it finally succumb to flooding, with little Dutch children no longer able to stick their fingers in the dykes to hold back the rushing waters?
No, the country isn’t disappearing, just its commonly used monniker.
It seems that the name “Holland” has fallen victim to a government rebranding effort designed to ease overtourism in Amsterdam and its nearby tourist magnets such as The Hague, Delft, and Haarlem, all part of historical Holland.
The official name of the country — the Netherlands — encompasses more than historical Holland, and the Dutch government is spending €200,000 on the rebranding so that tourists will expand their horizons and visit its… Continue reading
You may have experienced it yourself when battling humongous lines to enter San Marco in Venice, the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, or the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican, or when you found yourself in a wave of fellow travelers struggling to get a peek at the changing of the guard at palaces in London, Athens, or Prague.
You may have been put off by hordes of drunken revelers in Amsterdam, Mallorca, or Berlin (of which, we trust, you were not one yourself).
You may have found small Alaskan ports or Croatian islands too overrun by your fellow cruise ship passengers to appreciate the beauty that attracted you to such cruise itineraries in the first place.
You may have sought out privacy in Iceland’s hot springs, only to find them packed with Game of Thrones fans drawn… Continue reading
I see a lot of Top Ten travel lists of this and that, often filed away and forgettable. But a friend just sent me a particularly interesting compilation of Top Ten travel lists — ranging from the world’s best nightlife destinations to best culture and history to cheapest and most expensive places to visit — as voted on by 7,000 travelers who took part in a recent survey by hostelworld.com.
Now it’s true that most people using hostelworld.com, a site where you can book hostels and inexpensive hotels/inns/guesthouses around the world, are probably much younger than the typical baby boomer demographic. But I was struck by, well, how much I agreed with the findings of the survey – though perhaps for different reasons in some cases.
Whether that means I’m still a 20-year-old backpacker at heart, or… Continue reading
Is there a better place in the world for baby boomers to take to bicycles than The Netherlands?
The country is mostly flat. It’s also incredibly scenic. Distances are short. There are bike paths everywhere. And just about everyone else is on a bike, too.
Here are some amazing stats:
* Holland has 18 million bicycles — 1.5 million more than inhabitants. And 84 percent of the Dutch population owns at least one bike.
*Holland has some 18,000 miles (29,000 kilometers) of cycling paths and nearly 3,000 miles (4,700 kilometers) of roads have special lanes for cyclists.
* There are at least a dozen different types of bicycles in Holland, according to the Netherlands Board of Tourism. You’ve heard of mountain bikes,… Continue reading