Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Touring again: Amsterdam-Den Haag-Etc

Marieke joined us for coffee at Bagels and Beans near their house in Zeeburg before we hit the road again.

Stay a few more days? Tempting. But so is riding. Our first destination was Den Haag and Andrew and Freidel of Traveling Two (we highly recommend their site for info about bicycle touring).

Navigating out of the city was a snap; wending our way to the LF1 was a little more difficult because of some construction detours. About 10k outside of the city, we saw some small, isolated houses on a tiny canal and we both said, 'hey, we could live there.'

Cyclists trash receptacle, toss in as you pass.

This day was a gift from the Netherlands to us. It was sunny. It was just warm enough to be enlivening and not hot enough to be oppressive. And we had a tail wind that was blowing us to a wonderful reception in den Haag. We had an afternoon break at a surf spot. And yes, there's a surf scene in Netherlands. Kind of a big scene, too. Dunes, surfboards, bicycles.

Freidel and Andrew are a repository of touring information for all over the world. For example, Slovenia came up - nice for bike touring, apparently. They also gave us some great tips about camping here, in Belgium, and in Denmark (for next time).

They also cooked us a delicious feast: salmon, roasted peppers, tabouleh, and chickpeas over bok choi. And dessert, and a shower, and a comfortable bed, and breakfast. And every moment a great conversation. Thanks guys!

In the morning, we checked the forecast. No rain. But a head wind. Oh well.

See the flags? No, we were not heading in the same direction.

I (Joshua) spent all day pulling hard against the wind, but loving every minute; that is not my butt that hurts, that's my saddle conforming to my ass - the saddle is in pain. The good vibrations (tailwind) from the day before were still with me in spirit. Even the rain squall that we encountered when we reached the Rhine could not dampen my spirits.

We could not put on our rain gear fast enough.

We were soaked in a matter of moments in one squall. Then we had a few minutes in a bus shelter, waiting for the ferry across, and some more rain.

But in true Netherlands fashion, it cleared again quickly and we had to stop again to take off all the rain gear.

Netherlands: where every direction you want to travel includes space for bikes and pedestrians.

Even freeway intersections with bridges.

And things dry quickly when the sun comes out.

In the afternoon we spent some time at a cafe in Brielle. Again it rained, so we stayed longer (at the cafe with red chairs below). They raised the huge umbrellas when it started to rain, and they actually work. They are ready for this kind of quick weather change.

A group of what we called 'midday ridazz' came into the square:

And the rest of the day was windmills, huge dykes, green trees, and more dunes. Always with the wind in our smiling faces.

- rolling post

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