Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Hoorn - 7 April 2007

Unique HoornIn 1642 Abel Tasman set sail from Hoorn and, by chance, discovered New Zealand. In 2001 two New Zealanders returned the compliment when they set off from Auckland and ultimately, and quite by chance, discovered Hoorn.

As our fourth fabulous town for the day we were now drowning in a surfeit of cute and quaint views. Hoorn squareIt was once one of the six cities where the Dutch East India Company was based as well as a base for the Dutch West India Company so was full of prestigious and important looking buildings. It boasts a fine square surrounded with civic buildings, as well as a picturesque harbour and waterfront.
Harbourside towerA young sailor learns the ropes

We resisted the touristy looking caf├ęs in the square, and had a Our dinner viewmemorable meal in a humbler looking restaurant, where we shared a most delicious pot of a least a dozen different types of fish, fresh from the local harbour. They don't get many tourists making day trips from Amsterdam so made us feel very welcome. The meal was excellent, as was the view from our table in the window: if you are passing, dine at the So Da.

A quirk of old Dutch architecture is that buildings lean in towards the street, There is a vertical here somewherebut not all at the same angle. It must be most off-putting if you are slightly tipsy and trying to maintain an upright stance by referencing the buildings! The reasons given were a) to make the buildings appear bigger and b) to keep goods being hauled up to the top floors from damaging the frontage lower down. With a corner building, sloping out on both faces the brickwork up the corner became quite interesting!

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