Posted by: brendaintheboro | July 10, 2018

An Unexpected Tour 2018 – part 4

I had severe leg cramps during the night after yesterday’s exertion and I had left my salt in a bag outside the tent . Dh went and got it and a pinch under my tongue soon had me right again. I probably hadn’t drunk enough or taken any minerals  so was very careful not to repeat the mistake. I had been doing so well and got complacent. It seems that riding over 50 miles will bring it on.

I had been contacted by a Polish friend M to say that H was at home and so I called and asked if she would like us to visit. It was only about 20 miles away but she  was at her mother’s and wouldn’t be back until 3.00pm.

We couldn’t ride to a nearby church of our own denomination and so decided we would visit Oudenbosch as we had been told of a Catholic church that was a smaller version of St Peter’s Basilica in Rome. There were services going on so we didn’t like to go in but it was amazing to see another enormous church in a small village. if you want to view some of the interior,   here is a link https://www.basiliekoudenbosch.com . This part of North Brabant a southern province seems to have a large number of very large churches.

We had to retrace our route back to Staandaabuiten  and we did go a bit too far. I remember riding past a guy with a Tshirt that said the Best Polish Lorry Driver so I greeted him in Polish – one of a few Polish phrases I know   and he and his friend were so surprised that they answered me in Polish. Its the little things that you remember sometimes.

There were a variety of paths from superb to downright awful. Indeed, DH remarked that one was worse than the Planet Track at York which has become very rutted with tree roots. Still, it wasn’t far and we arrived in Steenbergen  at 2.30pm. What were we to do? Ice Cream – yummy.

So at 3.00pm we made a call and H responded immediately and cycled down to meet us. She is a remarkable woman who started going to Poland in the 1980’s when things were not good . We went kayaking there with her  in the 1990’s which is how we met. It is all due to her that I can speak German .

So we rode home with her and met M her partner and S her daughter who I haven’t seen since she was a toddler. It was a lovely afternoon and we went out to dinner nearby. H had a late night , as she was contacting another person on the other side of the world who was recently widowed and so was up skyping most of the night.

Monday 25th June 2018

Although we were up early we couldn’t leave without seeing H,  so we could chat again. Later in the morning DH helped M with a tree that had fallen but lodged on a branch and that gave us more time together bouncing ideas from each other which energised both of us.

We rode the pretty way back to Bergen Op Zoom and as H is a member of SVR she had shown me how to get the app working. So we found a campsite at Woensdrecht but we had only ridden 20 miles.

Tuesday 26th June 2018

It was a wet pack because of heavy dew  and condensation. It was foggy but soon cleared as the sun rose bt we were shielded by high trees and didn’t get any direct sunlight. We were wearing long sleeved tops but soon had to stop as it was so warm.

The route took us down to the coast and we saw lots of shipping in a canal. There are actually 2 canals parallel to each other at this point, the Rijnverbinding and Bathse Spuinkanaal.

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We rode along many bays at the coast  in superb warm sunshine with only a bit of a headwind. We could see lots of industry  with cooling towers in the distance. We stopped at a point near Hansweet but not  before missing a turning due to lack of signage and a sign for a non-existing cycle ferry.

After another short coastal ride, the route turns inland across Beverland and through fields of grain. Rustling leaves in the trees helped to drown out the noise from a  motoway. Interestingly, as we rode along we came across a young woman in a horse and cart with her dog. She was camping as she went along and apparently does this every summer. She spoke excellent English and the dog responded to both Dutch and English commands. Smart dog.

I didn’t mention but we were on and island and the route twists and turns  but the docks at Vlissingen are ever present. Eventually, we got to Middleburg and then rode across  the city to an SVR campsite that is a real working farm.

Wednesday 27th June 2018

What a tiring day. We cycled over 61 miles and most of it into strong headwinds nearly all day.

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We left Middleburg in sunshine so that was a bonus and found our way to Serooskerke where by chance we came across a camping shop in this small village. We bought a canister of camping  gas as we weren’t sure how long the one we were using would last.

The we travelled along tree lined roads, the leaves constantly rustling , to Vrouwenpolder and Breezand where we crossed our first dam of the day and across to North Beverland and then across another dame to Schouwen. We had a brief stop for 2nd breakfast and then we followed LF1b through forest and duneland. If anyone says that the Netherlands are flat, they have never ridden the dunes. The paths went up and down into the wind,  Trying to get off the island wasn’t easy as another music festival had shut the cycle path across the bridge.

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Fortunately, we saw an Australian couple emerging from some bushes  with their bikes. They had come the other way and  then couldn’t get off the bridge unless they went through a large hedge.  They told us that we would be able to get across a bit further ahead and we did. We bought some food in Ouddorp  before slogging into the wind across the next dam.

We were headed for Brielle but the signs were not good and we cycled 2 miles with the wind on our backs – the wrong way so had to slog back. Duh!  So we eventually made it but not to the campsite we have stayed on in previous years . However , we were just glad to get into the first campsite we saw.

Thursday 28th June 2018

We had a much more restful day but again that pesky NE wind kept on blowing making the cycling hard work.  We had to wait  until 9.00am to pay reception but it was actually 9.20am when we left because of computer glitches.

I asked about the passenger ferry across to the Hook of Holland but the receptionist said to use the Rozenburb to Maasluis ferry as it was a much nicer route.   She was correct. The other route is in the petrol  harbour but doesn’t run too often.

We followed signs to Rozenburg, well almost but there had been a car accident so we had to find another way. We got to the ferry landing just to see the ferry leave but there are 3 every hour so it gave us time to work out the ticket machine use.

There was a couple on mountain bikes from Switzerland but they were touring in a motorhome and doing day rides. So once in Maasluis, we set off downriver and  passed a very interesting set of white gates. They are part of the tidal protection barrier. In 1953, the North Sea had exceptionally high tides resulting in sever flooding in both the Netherlands and the UK resulting in many deaths. The Netherlands have done a great job to protect their citizens.

We stopped in the Hook of Holland and bought food before continuing on LF1 northwards now on the west coast. The change in direction was soon felt as we rode through the dunes . The Dutch go to the seaside on bicycles and there are huge cycle parks along the dunes. The path keeps you away from major urban conurbations but its simple to find your way into cities like the Hague.

When we reached  the outskirts Scheveningen, we could see a large number of yachts and wind surfers. It turns out that the Volvo Ocean Racing event was on causing traffic chaos  without any diversion signs.

This made me very stressed as the signage just wasn’t visible.  Eventually ,w e saw signs to Katwijk and we made for the campsite there. We came across a water pump for cyclists which had welcome cold water.

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There were a number of cycle campers and one chap who was back packing and we had an enjoyable chatting to each other.

Friday 29th June 2018

We had picked out a campsite up near Haarlem as it wasn’t too far from the port  and it we could also get to church. It wasn’t going to be a long day  but as we rode through the dunes to Nordwijk aan Zee, we realised how difficult it was going to be. That awful headwind once again. Anyway, we decided to turn inland for a bit and this afforded much more protection from the headwind.

We stopped near Noordwijkerhout for 2nd breakfast and there was another water pump and an electric charging point for bicycles – all free of charge.

We continued north and parallel to a railway line through Bennebroek and Heenstede  into Haarlem.

Its a very nice city but too crowded for my liking. We had an ice cream and then started to find to try to find our way out.  Eventually, we used a good old compass to find a way until we came to signs for Spaanwoude where another road angel cycled with us to the road to the campsite. By chance, it belonged to the parents of his daughters football team mate. Even though it was only 27 miles , I was shattered and fell asleep making my notes for the blog. Normally, because we hadn’t booked, they would only allow us to stay 1 night but I explained we need to stay in the area  and so they agreed we could have 4 nights.

217.4 miles

 


Responses

  1. Wish we had water pumps for cyclists over here!

    • so do I Lizzie but we are so far behind the times.

  2. What adventures.

    • getting them in before I get too old heehee

  3. My goodness, Brenda, what a trip! I loved the girl with her horse and cart and lovely dog. Lovely way to spend a summer.


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