my visit toHolland, I could not possibly leave out Alphen a/d
Rijn, the place where I had lived many years ago and received
most of my formal education.I was very curious how this place
had changed in the 19 years that I was away. When I was there
in 1979 I found that is had not changed all that much since I
last saw it, but this time there were a lot of changes. An entire
area, where once cows grazed and farms stood and where we went
biking after school, was transformed into a nature park with an
artificial lake for recreation, hiking tracks and forest even
! No more polders where you could see forever and ever with great
skies above. I was trying to find an old farm where my friend
used to live . The farm where she lived was a historical place
where once Jacoba van Beieren lived, hundreds of years ago. It
had secret passages and rooms and as children we had a great time
also found my old primary school. It had not much changed at all,
only the trees got taller and it had a new name, a number actually.
used to be called Da Costa School. Here (right) is a picture of
stayed at the Van der Valk Hotel in Alphen a/d Rijn which is situated
at the Avifauna Bird Park. This park, with an outside restaurant,
which we used to go to in the olden days, has been there even before
I came to live in Alphen a/d Rijn , 44 years ago. The Van der Valk
Hotels are a chain of Hotels all over The Netherlands and Europe and
now also have opened branches in some of the Dutch Caribbean islands.
I found them to be very good and very economical too. We had dinner
at the restaurant and it looked as if nothing had changed there, even
the furniture ! We overnighted at the Hotel and took a tour through
the Bird Park the next morning. I must say that they did a wonderful
job in those years that I have not been there.
Double Nose Horn
Bird from Indonesia
endangered bird species live there and an attempt was made to make
their habitats as close as possible to those in the wild. Small
buildings in their enclosures had nests on top of their roofs for
There are a petting farm and a horse menagerie where one can get
riding lessons; a new swimming pool with waterslides and a playground
for children and several more restaurants inside the Park.
the most spectacular displays are the well-kept birds. This park
is considered to be one of the largest Bird Parks in the world.
You can see there birds you may never have encountered before, I
certainly saw many there which were strange to me. There are flamingos,
owls, birds of prey, pelicans, storks, penguins ,swans , parrots
birds which cannot survive in a cold climate, have a small house
inside their living areas. What struck me is, that many birds
were free to fly away, but did not. They did, however fly from
one side of a lake to another or to the small island in the middle
of the lake (the pelicans).