Hielke and I made a list of things that we hadn’t visited in The Netherlands yet and on the Biesbosch was on top of this list. The Biesbosch is a nature reserve full with little canals and it is the unofficial home of the beaver. It was about time that we would visit the Dutch version of a mangrove 😉 We decided to combine our trip to the Biesbosch with a visit to Kinderdijk, a Dutch heritage site. We stayed the weekend in a gypsy wagon in Alblasserdam, which is located in the middle of the Biesbosch and Kinderdijk.
The gypsy wagon
We spent two nights in a gypsy wagon (Dutch: pipowagen) in Alblasserdam, which we found on Airbnb for € 110 a night. It was located in the backyard of the Airbnb owners and offered sufficient privacy. The gypsy wagon was equipped well with a little hot plate, shower, toilet and a super comfy bed. I particularly loved how well decorated the place was, you could see that the owner put a lot of time and effort into decorating. The gypsy wagon came with several outside areas to relax, but unfortunately we picked quite a rainy weekend so we didn’t use it too much. I am still a bit hesitant to eat out, but in Alblasserdam you get access to the Uber Eats restaurants of Rotterdam. We ordered Afghan food for one night, which was absolutely delicious!
The Biesbosch is best explored by boat. Currently there are still quite some limitations to activities due to COVID-19. For example, normally beaver tours are organized, but this was not possible in June 2020 when we visited. We therefore decided to rent a kayak at Biesbosch Centrum Dordrecht. Renting a kayak costs € 8 per hour and we find it the perfect way to explore the Biesbosch in a relaxed way. When you rent the kayak, you receive a map with a route that you can do in two hours. The currents in the Biesbosch are not very strong, so Hielke paddled me around and I didn’t have to do anything 🙂 We think a beaver might have jumped in right before our boat, but that was all beaver action that we got on the Biesbosch. I was really happy that we decided to go kayaking to explore this beautiful nature reserve!
As the weather was pretty awful each time we wanted to go to Kinderdijk, we decided to go for a quick stroll in the area instead of paying extra to get closer to the windmills. Kinderdijk is a Unesco heritage site and a must see in The Netherlands! In contrary to Zaanse Schans, the windmills of Kinderdijk used to be in this location historically and had an important function. The land surrounding Kinderdijk was very rich, so farmers wanted to live here and grow crops. However the land was located below sea level and it flooded often. The windmills were built centuries ago to help drain this area. This sounds like the quintessential story of Dutch history and when you walk around Kinderdijk it feels like you are transported to a different century. We parked our car for free in the Kinderdijk city center and walked around for about 1,5 hours. When you book the official entry ticket on the website, a small boat tour is included in your ticket. Due to COVID restrictions not all seats on the boat are available.
During our walk we were able to spot a crawdad, making up for the disappointment for not (really) seeing a beaver in the morning during kayaking. Check out our pictures below!