Netherlands was an amazing experience for me. The city of Amsterdam was my first European city when I went on a backpacking trip. I was traveling solo and couldn’t have picked a better city than Amsterdam.
The city was full of travelers and a lively community. Staying in hostels is the best way to explore Amsterdam, because the hostels keep on organizing various activities and events. It gives you a good change to mingle with the travel community. However, more about my Amsterdam experience later.
In this post, I want to share my experience of visiting Marken, a fishing town located at a distance of 25 KMs from Amsterdam.
Marken is all about Netherland’s countryside. The calm & peaceful set up was so different than the hustle & bustle of Amsterdam city. After having spent a couple of days amidst the lively city, spending a day in Marken was really calming.
Marken is predominantly a fishing town. The docks see boats leaving in the morning and returning by evening, with a fresh stock of fish. Marken is built on wet lands, reclaimed from the ocean. Due to this, there are many points of land in Marken town which are surrounded by the ocean water.
The best way of reaching Marken is by a Bus. The buses are very punctual in Netherlands and can definitely be trusted upon. I took the bus form Amsterdam Centraal and in half an hour, I was in Marken.
When I reached Marken, it was afternoon. So I decided to chill at this cafe/restaurant, Taverne de Visscher, located by the docks. I invited the sparrows around to hang out with me and they happily obliged. Thanks to all the bread!
After spending some time in the cafe, I left when the Sun started inching towards the Horizon.
Hike to Lighthouse
When I asked the locals and checked online forums, people recommended hiking to the lighthouse of Marken. It was a 2.5 KM hike from the central Marken town to the beach side. I walked the distance, listening to some music and enjoying the peaceful vibe.
After some time, I saw the light house in far distance, it looked decent. But, after reaching there, I was a bit disappointed. The light house was not that tall. When I went closer to the gate, I was disappointed even further. The lighthouse was marked as private property!
Apparently, the Marken lighthouse could be rented for wedding and birthday parties. But otherwise, it’s a private property. No entry for curious people like me.
In my travels, I live by one theory.
Happiness is proportional to Reality minus Expectations. The lower your expectations, the more you will appreciate the reality of travel. If you completely eradicate the expectations, whatever you see during your travels, will make you happy.
However, if you raise your expectations too high, you are bound to be disappointed by something or the other.
That’s exactly what happened to me with regards to Marken. The lighthouse was recommended by so many folks, I had allowed my expectations to rise.
Maybe that’s why I was disappointed upon reaching the lighthouse. But, had I lowered my expectations, I wouldn’t have been so disappointed because the place was indeed calm and beautiful.
After visiting the lighthouse, I decided to head back to Marken town, but via a different route. On this alternative route, I would be able to take a detour and go for a hike into the ocean.
Well, actually a hike on a very narrow piece of land, surrounded by the ocean.
Marker Landtong Hike
Marker Landtong is not the actual name of the place.
The name is just a representation of the geographic shape of the piece of land where one can hike. Landtong is the translation of Headland in Dutch language. This stands for a piece of land which protrudes in the ocean and is really narrow.
Check out how it looks in the map below. This map represents my day in Marken. Notice the long & narrow stretch of land? That’s the hike I had no expectations from, but was thrilled after seeing the Sunset during the hike.
I took this detour while returning from the Lighthouse and I had no idea what was in store for me. I had decided to hike this Landtong only by being curious about this very narrow stretch of land as shown in the map.
There was a sign before the hike began, but I couldn’t read it because it was written in dutch language.
Ignoring the dutch sign, I just started walking on the narrow piece of land, surrounded by ocean on both sides. The sound of the ocean was very soothing. This hike was definitely one of the most peaceful hikes I have ever experienced!
I saw a few folks walking the trail. They were all locals and were just walking their dogs.
After a while, I stopped and sat admiring the beautiful Sunset. The myriad evening colors took over the sky one after the other and I sat there, happy.
Moral of the Story
Yes. This experience of hiking in Marken has a moral.
At the risk of sounding preachy, I’d like to share my theory of how Happiness is proportional to Reality – Expectations.
I had no expectations from this Hike whatsoever. Why? Because nobody recommended it to me. That’s why I was so happy to discover the beauty and tranquility of this hike.
I did have many expectations from the lighthouse, but was disappointed by it.
So what’s the moral of the story?
Happiness is proportional to Reality minus Expectations. While travelling, keep your expectations low, you will be a happier traveler!
Spending a day in Marken was a lovely delight. After I saw the sunset, I headed back to the town in order to catch a return bus to Amsterdam.
I am glad I was curious about that one long & narrow piece of land showing on the map. Being curious has always paid me off during my travels. This experience of Marken is one another example of how being curious during your travels always makes you happy!
If you happen to visit Marken, do consider this Marker landtong hike. The sunset will definitely leave you happy. In case you have more time, you can consider visiting the Cheese factory and also the Wooden Shoe Factory located in the Marken Town.
I hope you enjoyed this virtual trip in Marken. I wish this covid situation to end soon. So we can head out again and be happy!
Here’s a video of visiting Marken!