Netherlands, with some Belgium & Germany

Discussion in 'Member's Travelogues' started by totallyfixed, 22 Aug 2014.

  1. My second travelogue, the first was the Netherlands at the same time last year. This one is 4 days longer, we went back because we enjoyed the first one so much and with all the experience under our belts from last year it ought to be plain sailing [cough].
    This is a great way of writing a diary for future reference and of course to recall some great memories. The plan this time was to circumnavigate the Netherlands anti-clockwise taking in some of Belgium and likewise Germany and hope that the usual prevailing westerly wind would not be too strong for the second half, that was the hope.................
    Wednesday 6th August, bikes checked panniers loaded we headed down the road to Oakham station to get the train to Cambridge then ride from there to Harwich to catch the over night ferry to Hook of Holland. It was not an auspicious start, we arrived at the station to discover the train had been cancelled eek! No explanation until dr_pink went to ask, staff shortage. We went back home for a cup of tea. Back to the station for the hour later train and just to add a bit more misery to our plans this was 15 mins late.
    Those of you who travel with your bikes by train will know that the carriage for bikes is pathetic as you can only fit 2 bikes there plus there is no way of securing them [Netherlands 1, UK 0]. We found seats not too far away where we could see the bikes when a chap opposite said hello, it was @400bhp ! He was on his way to work at Stansted, what an amazing coincidence, it certainly helped to pass the time. We said our goodbyes and leaving the train at Cambridge began our ride to Harwich,
    Leaving Six Mile Bottom, about 5 miles done.

    All photos were taken on my mobile so not the greatest quality, also many were taken on the move which was often tricky with a loaded bike.
    Luckily the weather was about perfect for cycling with a gentle tailwind so progress was good. I had planned a route via Lavenham and knew most of the roads already from leading Cambridge CC club runs
    Outside The Swan in Lavenham
    We made Harwich in really good time, a touch over 5 hours. As last year we headed for the same fish and chip shop and thence to the same park by the sea to eat.
    A 3 mile ride to the ship to discover 20 or more other cyclists and almost as many motorbikes. Many of the latter were old Royal Enfields pulling trailers. This is on the ramp that takes you over the freight area on to the ship.

    About to board

    Before boarding we had visited Morrisons conveniently situated by the docks to get a stack of food for a late night snack on board, this included 2 small [honest] bottles of red wine.
    Mileage for the day

    Day 2 to follow.
  2. Day 2 - Hook of Holland to Breda
    You get a very early wake up call on the ship, 5.30 as disembarking begins at 6.30. It's a good idea to get to the lifts early if you are lugging 2 panniers, a bar bag and a water bottle, otherwise it means negotiating a lot of flights of steps that are quite narrow.
    Panniers back on, bikes quickly checked plus tyres as I am always worried we might have picked up a puncture from the flint you tend to get in Suffolk. Once off with all the other cyclists there is just passport control to get through.
    This time last year, actually a week later we were disembarking and trying to work out how to get to the coastal path when we were rescued by 2 young Dutch women who invited us to go with them to Delft before continuing our first day's journey. I mention this because it was our intention to see them again at the end of this holiday as we were going around in the opposite direction.
    So much easier this time as we knew which path to take straight away which was the estuary cycle route we had finished on last year. After a few minutes I noticed one of our fellow travellers from the ship behind us, we slowed up a bit and got chatting [once he had taken out his headphones and switched off his mini stereo system strapped to his handlebars], turns out he hails from London and was heading to a reggae festival in Eindhoven. The first part coincided with our journey to Breda so we rode together for a nearly 40 miles.
    Last year we crossed the many stretches of water you tend to encounter either by bridge or ferry, unknown to us this first day was to be very different. We had decided to plot a route to Breda that was completely different to the way we had returned last year. About a mile before the first crossing we stopped at a village bakery to fuel up on their wonderful cheese bread and almond tarts [note plural!]. A middle aged lady who was also in the bakers had seen us in the shop and while we were eating outside came over and inquired if we were English, when we replied in the affirmative she replied that it made her heart feel good to meet us! [her words]. I knew we had a close relationship historically with the Dutch but this was unexpected, what a great welcome to the Netherlands.
    The bridge turned out to be a tunnel that had it's own cycle path and even bike lifts to take you down into the start of the tunnel. This is not a road, it is a dedicated cycle path!
    Once we had cleared the Rotterdam we said farewell to our London cyclist and we were out into the countryside we remembered so well.
    It was good to have an incident free first day with balmy temperatures and light tailwinds and we were looking forward to seeing the lady we had stayed with on our last day the previous year. This is just entering Breda.
    It was our intention this year to cut down our daily mileage a bit to around an average of 60 as last year we had very little time to explore the places we stayed in each day. Walking through Breda this single speed bike attachment caught my eye, the Dutch think of everything when it comes to bikes!

    We headed across Breda to meet up with our host from last year. After much catching up and tea drinking, something the Dutch do even more than the English. Walking back into town to find somewhere to eat we hadn't realised it was late night shopping and finding a table was turning out to be a difficult task, it was absolutely packed with people. After much walking up and down we grabbed a table, after ordering we began to relax and look around, we had only ended up sitting only 2 tables away from the same one we had sat at a year ago! Pure chance as there were dozens of places to eat.
    The square and church where we ate.

    I think this picture is a true reflection of what you can expect in most places we stayed in the Netherlands. We could easily have stayed there for several days but ours is a holiday where moving on each day is a necessity, new places and people to meet but nearly always a sadness with each goodbye.
    Back to our host and more tea and coffee with talk into the small hours.
    Cumulative mileage from home, 62.09 for the day.

    Tomorrow was to be a very different sort of day.
  3. Day 3, Breda to Valkenswaard
    We always try to find out what the weather prospects are for the day, and it is good to know that the UK is not alone in having a special talent for getting it spectacularly wrong, except today was not good in that sense. Sitting 10 floors up eating breakfast and looking out towards Belgium [our intended route] with good visibility and no sign of rain, it was easy to believe the forecast our friend Miek had just read out to us - no rain until 1600.
    Miek said she would ride out with us for a little way to put us on the right road, which can often be tricky when leaving a city. We had just taken a few photos before setting off when I felt a few drops of rain, not much but it didn't auger well.
    We parted company with Miek at a supermarket where dr_pink raided the pastry section as is our wont most days. By now there was a steady gentle rain falling [as opposed to rising] and I took the opportunity to watch the Dutch population going about their daily lives. A mum leaving the shop, shopping in her front bike basket and her son, maybe 6 or 7 nonchalantly jumping sideways on to the rear pannier rack while the bike was moving; an elegant well dressed young woman cycling past while holding an umbrella and 3 people who recognised each other on their bikes stopping to chat. Can't do that in a car I thought. The rain did not appear to stop anyone cycling, many just cycled with an umbrella. No doubt about it, we could live in this kind of society where no one appeared to be rushing anywhere and folk actually talked to each other.
    Time to move on. After reaching the outskirts of Breda we stopped to don overshoes as the rain didn't appear to be stopping anytime soon, it was one of those days where you could not see any clouds, just grey. As last year we often came across Storks in the fields within a few miles of city / town boundaries, and as last year they were always just too far away for the mobile camera to get a good picture.

    This was a day for just getting the job done, unfortunately the rain got harder with no shelter in sight as we were well and truly out in the sticks with only 11 miles done, the Dutch don't do shelters or public toilets [NL 0, UK 1] so we positioned ourselves under a couple of adjacent trees and ate our pastries. 45 minutes later we are still there flattened against slightly overhanging tree trunks, the rain however was really coming down hard now with no real sign of letting up so with a resigned shrug we pedalled off again.
    Not often, but occasionally a bike route will take you off road, but even those are hard packed and smooth. This time however we found ourselves riding through an extensive wooded area on a mixture of a light coloured sandy kind of mud, though still firm. Often on these scenic routes you don't see many people, this time I spotted a fellow traveller a few hundred metres ahead of us, probably touring because of the colour of his / her panniers, usually a good clue. We passed him later where the forest track divided, I think he turned the wrong way.
    A few miles further we reached the small town of Hilvarenbeek where we found a cafe [this the Dutch do very well], sitting a few seats away was the guy we had seen earlier in the woods, we got chatting and it turned out he was heading for Maastricht the following day, as were we. First we had to get through the rest of this day so we said goodbye to Henk [another new friend made] and said maybe see you on the road to Maastricht, very unlikely of course but you tend to say these things.
    The only significant thing I can recall about the rest of the afternoon aside from a buzzard taking off virtually under our feet and being wet was when we passed through the village of Casteren followed by Hoogeloon [I called it Hooligan]. Ten minutes later I saw the village sign of Casteren, now, although feeling wet, bedraggled and a bit disinterested at this point in my surroundings, I thought the village name looked familiar, yup, we had gone round in a circle! Well there is a first time for everything, personally it was probably my fault for secretly calling a village Hooligan, which of course we visited a second time.
    On the way in to Valkenswaard [thumb makes a first appearance]
    Somewhere between 5 and 6 we got to our destination and would you believe the rain stopped just as we arrived! Our host family Wiep [not sure if this is the correct spelling] and is wife [forgotten her name] were very welcoming and after a shower and a Trappist white beer [delicious] we went out with a borrowed umbrella to a restaurant a few hundred metres away to eat. What a great place it was, the food was excellent and reasonably priced together with very friendly waitresses. All the staff were called into action during our meal when the outer area which had a canvas roof collapsed in one part due to the weight of water, very entertaining!
    My meal with small knife.
    Just shy of 56 miles today, running total
    Tomorrow, into Belgium.
  4. Day 4, Valkenswaard to Maastricht
    We reckoned this ought to be one of our shorter days as the plan was to pick up a canal in Belgium and follow that all the way to Maastricht. To make things even easier our host Wieb, after stuffing us with a very nice breakfast, offered to ride out with us and show us the best route out of Valkenswaard. Another farewell, but I am sure we will return one day.
    Our route took us due south and for the first time we had a headwind, not too strong so progress was steady and the sun was shining again. Before the holiday I had given some thought to the problem of wet clothes that hadn't dried by the next morning. The solution was to carry a string bag which one of us tied to the top of our panniers and this worked very well when it wasn't raining. It was only about 5 miles to the border and still not quite 10am, things were looking good.
    The quality of the cycle paths deteriorated very slightly in Belgium, though this is relative to the NL where they are about perfect, so good in fact that in many places we were riding on paths that had been constructed using 2 or 3 metre square concrete slabs and when you rode on them you could not detect the join, incredible! So Belgium paths were only about 90% better than those in the UK, terrible then.
    Did I mention that there are a few canals in this neck of the woods? This was one of the larger ones with barges 100 metres in length usually carrying at least one private car, it certainly helps to keep HGV's off the roads.
    A couple of hours later we stopped to eat lunch and give the bikes a clean and lube as there was a lot of sandy gunk on them from yesterdays rain.
    We had just set off again and had stopped briefly to watch a water skier on the canal, when I was conscious of 2 cyclists going past in the same direction as us. We set off again following the 2 cyclists, one of which had panniers similar to Henk who we had met yesterday, they were really blatting along and it took a while before we hauled them in by which time the guy in front who was on a road bike and unencumbered by panniers had dropped the one we caught up with, it was Henk! [even more recognisable by the cucumber strapped to the top of his pannier rack - don't ask].
    Of course we cycled with him for the rest of the way to Maastricht. It would seem that Garmin on the continent is just as unreliable as in the UK as Henk's Garmin at one point said we still had 40k to go to Maastricht when we reckoned it was about 12k, thankfully the Garmin was wrong.
    Where we left the canal and said goodbye to Henk it turned out we were only a few hundred metres from our address for that night. As we had arrived so early we decided to go into Maastricht for a look round first as we usually agreed to arrive at hosts addresses between 1700 and 1800. It was only a couple of km's into the city which turned out to be a wonderful place, old buildings, narrow streets, big squares lined with cafes, just a great atmosphere all helped by the very warm sunny weather. We propped our bikes against a tree and sat at one of the many cafes to people watch. The cyclists were always the most fascinating, yes she is carrying a bike under one arm [as you do]
    Reluctantly we retraced our steps back to the address we were staying at and had checked out earlier. Our hosts were Coen and Petra, what lovely people. We ended up sitting outside the back of their property which overlooked the river Maas chatting to them for more than 3 hours, drinking coffee then beer and wine and lots of nibbles during which we were joined by neighbours and various dogs. It really was the best evening ever and then we realised it was getting late and we had not had a meal yet! They very kindly lent us their Dutch bikes with locks and lights to cycle back into Maastricht, a very odd experience sitting so upright, but very comfortable and we felt very much at home. After eating at a Turkish restaurant we cycled around looking at the many old buildings and seemingly hundreds of bars spilling out into the streets, eventually though we had to leave.
    The next morning we spent ages talking over breakfast, Coen had an amazing workshop tagged onto the house and makes things from wood, Petra is a textile artist and works with wool from different breeds of sheep. It was extremely difficult to leave and we promised them that we would return, very very sad to go.
    49 miles done on our bikes [several more on the Dutch bikes unrecorded] to Maastricht and running total:
    The next days cycling involved mad Belgiums and a lot of "what country are we in now" questions.
  5. Hop3y

    Hop3y Padiham Commuter

    Padiham, Burnley
    What a great thread!
    Fubar likes this.
  6. Day 5, Maastricht to Venlo.
    It was the kind of day every cyclist cherishes and remembers, lovely and warm with a tailwind, bliss. Armed with a packed lunch provided free of charge by our wonderful hosts we set forth, vowing to return as soon as we could. Today's plan was to follow the river Maas north to the border town [with Germany] of Venlo. Not as straightforward as one might think, as the cycleways and roads often split company with the river. It occurred to me that up until this point we were just about level pegging [if you include the few miles done on Dutch bikes that are unrecorded] with the distance dr_pink achieved in her National 12 hr effort, quite remarkable!
    After only a few miles along the river, 3 cyclists [roadies] merged with us from another direction, our / my usual greeting is "hi" or "hey", this time I went for "top of the morning, how the devil are you"? No, not really, but I did go with "good morning", this provoked the immediate response of "ah you are English". They were from Belgium and offered to show us a good route which involved many [I lost count} of ferry crossings and innumerable crossing of borders between the Netherlands and Belgium.
    One of the ferry crossings.


    Our new found friends turned out to be great company and real characters, this was one of their regular rides and they promised to take us on the most scenic route. On one of the ferry crossings one of them said he would arrange for us to stop with them at their regular cafe once he had spoken to the "boss" on his mobile. Intriguing, who was this "boss"? Their names were Ivo, Eddy and Arnaud and while I was chatting to Ivo he told me that one of them was a dentist, one a GP and he was an eye surgeon! Good company indeed!

    At some point before we reached the cafe I managed to find out that the 4th member of this group who they called the boss was the deputy mayor of the region we were in.
    I think they might have been a little concerned that they might be going a little quick for us, but after telling them that dr_pink had ridden 400km in 12 hours they were in complete awe of her! As it turned out their pace never bothered us and it was great not to be stopping to look at the map for once and getting some fast miles under our belts so early in the day.
    When we arrived at the cafe at Stokkem we were shown a table and beers were ordered all round, it was not yet 1100hrs, however I have always thought that the saying "when in Rome do as the Romans do" is one I should take to heart, so I was left with no choice, after all, one should not offend ones hosts. We spent a brilliant time with them laughing and joking which had the effect of other customers smiling along with us.

    They paid for everything and invited us to come back and see them again which I am sure we will do [if we keep this up our next holiday will take months not weeks!].
    They suggested to us a good route to follow, adding that we should stop off at the white village of Thorn to eat some fly pie [spelt Vlaai]. The good weather looked to be finally coming to an end and we batted along at a fairly high speed to try and outrun the rain which was coming up behind us, at one point it appeared to be raining behind and to both sides but we stayed dry, not sure how.
    This is Thorn where we duly had our fly pie and a drink. The village is entirely white, the waitress at the cafe told us it was because there was a window tax a couple of centuries ago so the villagers whitewashed their windows and the house as well to disguise the windows. What a devious ploy.


    With rain still threatening we pushed on. With 5km to go I punctured, the first one in both touring holidays. Time was still in our favour to make our address in Venlo at the allotted time so I repaired the tube only for it to go flat less than 50 metres after setting off again. What was that about having plenty of time? Replaced the tube, extracted a sharp piece of steel and cycled into Venlo. Things usually slow down at this point in the ride as we try to work out how to get to the address. We were cycling along one of the main roads, or should I say the beautiful cycle path adjacent to the road when a voice shouted "Helen"! I nearly fell off, who the hell would know who Helen is in large town in the east of the Netherlands? Was dr_pink not telling me something? Of course it was our host who was on her way to visit her mother in hospital and just guessed that we were her English guests. Obviously we must not look at all Dutch!
    There were in fact 7 of us at staying at this address and that evening we went out to find a meal with 2 other Dutch couples, ending up at a pizza place that had the slowest service I had ever experienced. I still wonder if this was the cause of the disaster that happened the following day.
    Mileage for the day was just over 57. Running total:
  7. Day 6, Venlo to Nijmegen [Mon]
    Today was probably one of the days we were most looking forward to, seeing our friends who live in Nijmegen, hard to believe already a year had passed since we last saw them. On that occasion we stayed Sat and Sun and it was the next to last stop of our tour, this time we were not half way through and would only be staying for one night, however they had said we could arrive as soon as we could make it. Just as well this was our shortest day.
    The only picture of Venlo I took
    Progress initially was good, we followed the Lf [long distance] routes and between those and the river Maas route finding was straightforward.
    The first odd thing occurred when we cycled past this lovely picturesque converted water mill now a cafe / restaurant. I turned around to get a picture thinking maybe it would make a good stop in the future. I propped the bike against the railings and took the photo, the odd thing about the result is the colour of my panniers, they appear to have changed from orange to yellow, the same as dr_pink's! Bizzarre, as you can see from the cafe parasol that orange shades still show .

    Still with a tailwind and with two thirds of the distance to Nijmegen done we stopped at the small town of Gennep where we had a bowl of soup and a smoothie and watched life go by.
    As the day wore on I realised I wasn't feeling 100% but because the sun was shining and the wind was favourable I had tried to ignore it, just a few griping stomach pains and an overall lack of strength, much of the time I was just sitting in behind dr_pink. At some point we crossed a road to follow the cycle path that headed off into the countryside away from the road, nothing unusual about that except that without warning we were climbing, and not a gentle one either. How I got up this hill I have no idea because I was feeling dizzy and out of energy and dr_pink was receding into the distance and nothing I could do about it. Once at the top I just collapsed over the handlebars while a worried dr_pink looked on. The top wasn't really the top as I could see a landscape ahead that was more reminiscent of Rutland than the Netherlands. Of course we were very close to the border with Germany and I knew from last year that there were hills to the east of Nijmegen. I struggled on continuing through rolling terrain but still going inexorably uphill, eventually entering a large wooded area that was off road cycling and fairly slow going for our 28c tyres even though downhill. When we eventually got back alongside the road and approaching the outskirts of Nijmegen waves of dizziness were becoming frequent.
    About 3k from our destination riding along a super smooth cycle path alongside one of the main roads into Nijmegen I remember thinking not far to go now, the next thing I remember was lying on the cycle path. I must have fainted while riding, not a good thing to do at about 17 mph. I had lost a fair bit of skin and was bleeding from quite a few places, fortunately I had landed on the opposite side to the chainset, on the negative side I landed on the shoulder that I had been operated on 4 months earlier. I got up fairly quickly, not wanting a fuss to be made and promptly sat down as dizziness struck again. People stopped to ask if I was ok which was nice but I bet they were secretly thinking that the English can't ride bikes.
    We made it to our friends where I got patched up and despite being somewhat tender we had a wonderful afternoon and evening. I know I couldn't have been feeling brilliant because when we all walked out to get an ice cream at one of those places that has umpteen varieties I could only manage one scoop while everyone else had two. Unheard of!
    A lack of pictures today for obvious reasons.
    45 miles for the day and running total:
    Not entirely looking forward to the next day as I had no idea if I would even be able to climb on the bike, let alone turn the pedals.
  8. Pat "5mph"

    Pat "5mph" A kilogrammicaly challenged woman Moderator

    "fortunately I had landed on the opposite side to the chainset" :rolleyes: :laugh:
    Great report, great pictures. I'm enjoying reading this, thanks for sharing!
    Fubar and snorri like this.
  9. Thanks Pat, it would all go much quicker if this computer wasn't wheezing out it's last dying breaths, each part is painfully slow to put together. Will try for the next chapter tomorrow.
    Pat "5mph" and Fubar like this.
  10. Rickshaw Phil

    Rickshaw Phil Overconfidentii Vulgaris Moderator

    A like for the report. :ohmy: :ohmy: for fainting at speed.
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  11. Day 7, Nijmegen to Almelo [Tue]

    I slept fairly well all things considered but I was aching from the inevitable bruises, added to that I was still weak from the stomach bug / food poisoning, doing a long distance bike ride was not overly appealing. However, needs must, the sun was shining again, the wind would still be behind us and we were booked in to stay with someone in Almelo so not a lot of options. Once I clambered aboard the bike I knew I would be able to ride.
    Time is short when you stay with people you like. Our friends cycled out with us a little way together with young daughter who was on her way to nursery. More heartfelt goodbyes and armed with verbal instructions on the best way to get through and out of Nijmegen, we were off again.
    Leaving Nijmegen, many people live on the water in the Netherlands

    As expected, the directions we had been given were spot on and even though we had several miles of crossing the city at no time did we feel we had gone wrong.
    I thought my allotment was ok until we saw this on the outskirts of the city

    I frequently found myself looking back as we bowled along in the warm sunshine to see Nijmegen dwindling into the distance. We are now promising ourselves that next time will not be a whistle stop tour and a 14 day holiday will entail fewer days cycling with some stops lasting 2 days.
    In a few miles we had to find a ferry to cross the Rhein and despite me being a long way below par we were averaging high teens in mph which was a waste of energy as it turned out. The ferry crossing was where it was supposed to be, but no ferry in sight! We got chatting to a Dutch family who said the ferry only runs every hour [it was quarter past] and then only if there are 6 or more people waiting to cross. There was no one else waiting at this point, so with not much else to do, two types of bike maintenance began


    I did have an excuse!
    With about 10 mins to go other cyclists began appearing, until there were about 7 or 8 of us altogether, phew! The small ferry appeared as if from nowhere and very quickly we were crossing this famous river.

    I got accused of making sure the [other] cute cyclist was in the frame too, as if. Moving swiftly on, once across, there was a choice of left or right, we went right and everyone else went left, when this happens it always leaves you with the niggling feeling that they knew something we didn't.
    Clouds again were gathering as the day progressed, but still the southerly tailwind persisted which was just as well because I wasn't feeling in top shape. Our days on the bike have a similar routine, if we haven't managed to make some sandwiches from breakfast to take with us, we find a supermarket or bakery and get something there. My appetite was coming back, a good sign even though I was still getting infrequent mild stomach pains. How typical that the day I could have done with a shorter mileage was one of our longer ones.
    With about 15 km to go [confusing, one of us had our speedo in miles and the other in kms making it easier to calculate where we were. That was the theory], and not for the first time we turned left on to the banks of a major canal that ran into Almelo. Behind us the sky was darkening and I was making rapid calculations as to where we might shelter. Out in the countryside there is usually nowhere to get cover, on these larger canals there are always bridges crossing them, the difficulty I found was in assessing the distance to these bridges as it was always hard to tell when you saw one in the distance if it was large or small. I could see a bridge in the distance and I could also sense that we were about to get wet if we didn't get moving. The bridge was nearly 2 miles away, it had looked closer because it was so large, dr_pink stamped on the pedals, I gritted my teeth and tucked in behind, my speedo was reading 28 mph! At just 200 m short of the bridge the rain hit, great timing, but I was shattered.
    We ate and drank there and before too long the rain had passed through.
    One last stop on the outskirts of Almelo

    Riding through Almelo

    Fortunately, the address was easy to find, inside it was very bright and minimalist, very functional as it was also a B&B. We had use of a small kitchen which meant we were able to go to the supermarket and make our own dinner. This was also the first place we had stayed at with a TV. Over dinner we watched some of the European athletics with the bonus of seeing Helen Clitheroe winning a gold medal, good timing!
    Distance today, 69.9 miles.
    Running total
    Shut Up Legs, Nihal, coffeejo and 5 others like this.
  12. ColinJ

    ColinJ It's a puzzle ...

    I had a similar tummy bug/weakness problem a couple of weeks ago when riding on the Isle of Mull but I managed to get off my bike and lie down at the side of the road whenever I felt like fainting. I had to do that 5 or 6 times in the course of struggling round a 74 mile loop.

    I'm looking forward to going back to the start of this thread and reading the posts properly rather than just speed-reading them!
  13. ColinJ

    ColinJ It's a puzzle ...

    I've caught up now.

    It sounds great. I really must buy a touring bike one day and have some cycling holidays like this one!

    Where did you find all those host families?
  14. A good question, but if you had read last years travelogue to the Netherlands you would know the answer!
    Ok, I will be nice as it's you, We joined an organisation called Vrienden op de Fiets or in English, Friends on Bikes : [you will need to translate]
    The cost for a year was 9 euros I think and gives you access to thousands of addresses and not just in the Netherlands. It is a cheap way of touring, max 19 euros per person per night and includes bed & breakfast, shower and somewhere safe to keep your bike. Cannot recommend it enough and a great way to make new friends, several of which we have revisited on this tour.
    Fubar likes this.
  15. ColinJ

    ColinJ It's a puzzle ...

    I had a feeling that I got distracted when you were posting about last year's holiday. It probably coincided with when I got ill the second time. If not, I can't think why I didn't read it at the time. I am usually good at keeping an eye open for threads that interest me.

    Will go back and read the old thread tomorrow!
    totallyfixed and Fubar like this.
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