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Netherlands, with some Belgium & Germany

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

  1. About time I got on with this!
    Day 8, Almelo to Stadskanaal.
    We have tried on this holiday to arrive at our overnight stops with enough time to look around and get a flavour of the towns and cities we stay in. On this occasion because of my injuries and to be honest being shattered by the days ride I wasn't up to sightseeing, so we left Almelo without seeing much of it. On the plus side I was already recovering after a a good sleep aided by a glass or two of vino.
    We are now heading almost due north but still the wind is being kind to us and the weather is warm. This is the day we have planned to cross into Germany where a chunk of it sticks out into the Netherlands. We made good time with no incidents and got to the German border in just over one hour
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    We are out on a country road, but as with the Netherlands the cycle paths continue as you can see from the photo. From the expression on dr_pink's face it would seem she is thinking, blimey they are a bit high but could probably break the top one.
    Halfway through Germany we stopped for a morning snack in heavily wooded rolling countryside. I remember from when I lived in Germany that they are big on walking and having rest huts dotted around, so when we spotted this one not far off the road it was a good opportunity to stuff our faces, we did a lot of that!
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    This next photo was taken in Nieuw Amsterdam [I have no idea why it is named thus, not yet looked it up] I guess it is typical of the many canals we crossed on this tour.
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    This is getting to be as far east as we would go so probably as far away from the influence of Atlantic weather systems as we could get, but at this point we were not aware of a big depression sat over the North sea that had been giving Scotland some grim weather.
    Emmen was to be our late lunch stop, we were well ahead of time. If you head into a large town or city you run the risk of losing a lot of time finding your way out again so we skirted the edge of Emmen until we found a nice spot by one of those rare canals. This was actually opposite a square of shops on the other side of the canal so while eating we were treated to a birds eye view of how the Dutch go shopping - bike, walk, roller skate, not a car in sight.
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    Back out into rolling countryside before we get to the region around Stadskanaal which is more reminiscent of the fens back in the UK. I took this next photo to show a typical junction where bikes have the right of way, almost always the case even out in the countryside, and to portray the older generation out on their electric bikes, often many miles from anywhere.
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    Another cycle path that is as wide as the road it runs alongside, even if the UK achieved anything approaching this you would still have to give way to any vehicle movement that crossed the cycle path, not here.
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    Grandad out with the children, one ding of our bells and this was the result! More children not wearing helmets, what a terrible place this is.
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    Approaching Stadskanaal the weather begins to turn and when we reach the centre where the bus station and tourist information is the rain arrives, not bad timing. We chatted to an old lady who had lived there all her life, she spoke very good English, despite having never been there unlike so many of her compatriots. Fortunately she was a mine of information so when we asked her how to get to our overnight address we had good directions. Except it wasn't there! We were on the correct road but the house number did not exist. After much frustrated to-ing and fro-ing we stopped to ask and were told it was probably the campsite another km up the road heading out of town. Eek! Surely there was a mistake, a tent wasn't on the menu! It turned out to be the correct address, it was a campsite but also had an apartment, phew.
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    Very nice it was too. We cycled back into town and shopped at the Jumbo supermarket for our dinner, well dr_pink did, I looked after the bikes and tried to shelter from another rain shower. The apartment had cooking facilities so for the second day running we cooked for ourselves.
    65 miles for the day, our running total
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    Tomorrow was to be a very different day.
     
  2. Thank you, just seen your post after looking back over the thread.
     
    Fubar likes this.
  3. glenjarvis

    glenjarvis Regular

    Hi
    really enjoyed reading your travelogue
     
  4. Thank you. I will try to get on with it now as I have a new computer so no excuse.
     
    Pat "5mph" and Fubar like this.
  5. Thanks for putting this up, great read. I found a lot of memories of my own trip through Belgium.
     
  6. Day 9, Stadskanaal to Leeuwarden
    This was the day that things got a little tougher. Eating breakfast it was hard to ignore the trees waving around in the wind, I knew that today we would be heading towards the depression that we later found out had produced gale force winds and flooding in Scotland. On the bright side we would be staying that night with another Helen who we stayed with last year and were very much looking forward to seeing the family again.
    I was feeling a lot better following my crash 2 days earlier so I wasn't as fearful as I might have been. We waved goodbye and set off into the wind, our initial destination being Groningen, a university city where everyone rides a bike, first however there was the small matter of getting there across a wide open expanse and nothing to stop the wind from trying to send us back to Stadskanaal.
    Caps were taken off, if they blew off it might have been a long chase back! This picture doesn't really capture the darker clouds, I was trying hard to read them and I could see some darker stuff in the distance that had us averaging close to 15 mph into the wind in an effort to get to the line of trees in the distance.
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    In the event we made it across, but I thought that rain was imminent, unfortunately that proved to be a bit too accurate and memories of leaving Breda on our second day came flooding [possibly the wrong pun to use] back. So there we were again flattened up against a couple of trees.
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    Luckily the rain stopped after about 15 mins, even so we were pretty wet. After saying earlier that shelters and toilets are rare over here, we had only ridden a few hundred metres from where we had been sheltering when we saw a shelter and toilets at the bottom of the Zuidlaardermeer, a lake and navigation point we had pinpointed on the map the previous evening. Oh well, might as well wander out on to the jetty and have my photo taken.
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    From there it ought to have been straightforward but in the tiny hamlet of Midlaren we managed [along with another couple] to reach a cycle route that was off road so it was about turn, retrace the last 5 or 10 minutes and get a move on. The morning was ebbing away and there was still 12 miles to the centre of Groningen. At least it was a side / tail wind and we really went for it until we started to hit traffic close to the centre.
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    We rolled up to the tourist information centre where we stopped last year, this time I was determined to get the t-shirt I had missed out on because they didn't have my size. Guess what, same guy serving, same story, out of my size! I bought one anyway, might have to stretch it a bit.
    The next few pics reflect life on bikes in Groningen amid the sunshine and showers.
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    Our bikes amongst the many others.
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    We ate our lunch in warm sun and were probably happy to stay there for the duration, sadly there was still over 30 miles to go, all of it directly into the wind. One thing we did before leaving Groningen was to buy 2 small umbrellas, if anything could keep the rain at bay, carrying umbrellas ought to do the trick.
    We went via
     
    mjr, Cranky Knee Girl, Nihal and 6 others like this.
  7. coffeejo

    coffeejo Ælfrēd

    Location:
    West Somerset
    Yes? Via?
     
    Pat "5mph" likes this.
  8. I have no idea why that posted! To continue, we went via Zuidhorn and from there joined the canal, in essence doing the reverse of what we did a year ago, except of course it all looks different when ones nose is resting on the handlebars in a futile effort to defeat the wind. After what seemed forever we stopped to stuff our faces at a picnic bench, as we approached I recognised it as the place we had stopped a year ago! Quite unintentional. This is where our world traveller "Bun" muscled in on the photo, he is our mascot and even has his own photo album!
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    Not a lot to say about the the rest of the ride to Leeuwarden except that we burnt more calories than we consumed and we did consume a lot! dr_pink looking a bit wind blown
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    Arriving at Helen's house made up for the tough day, another dutch cycling couple were also staying there and we had a great time swapping stories and then eating with the family, followed by a stroll along the canal looking at some of the amazing houseboats that many people live in.
    A character building day for sure, tomorrow was to be a real test.
     
  9. Gert Lush

    Gert Lush Senior Member

    Location:
    Weston-super-Mare
    :O What happened next!?
     
    Pat "5mph" likes this.
  10. You must be going across the causeway ^_^

    Not a bad ride, depending on the wind.

    I like your blog and photos. Did you realise that you are the only people in lycra^_^
     
  11. A good question, life got in the way last year, I kept meaning to finish it off, thanks for the reminder. I still have all the diary notes and photos so I will.

    This is why we always got enquiring looks from both touring bike riders [to be fair I wore baggies] and also from club cyclists. On the one hand we had panniers [and a bar bag], on the other hand we had drop bar bikes with 28mm tyres. Add to that we cycled at quite high average speeds which in turn puzzled the tourers and the club riders. In other words we were hard to categorise. A bit like if you went touring on your scooter thingymijig.
     
    steveindenmark likes this.
  12. It sounds like you ride the same as us. I ride with a lycra top and MTB shorts. I find them comfortable and easy to wash and dry.

    Next year we are touring light on carbon road bikes with Di2 but with 28c tyres and small panniers off a seatpost rack. That will get the club riders talking :smile:
     
    totallyfixed likes this.
  13. Be warned, if you ride in Belgium you will fiss off the roadies, particularly if you overtake or catch any of them in their immaculately matched kit and bikes. This is losing face on a mammoth scale and not recommended. I enjoyed it though.
     
    Rickshaw Phil likes this.
  14. Cranky Knee Girl

    Cranky Knee Girl Senior Member

    Location:
    N Somerset
    Great report. Touring Holland is on my list as our daughter lives in Groningen. What a fabulous city for cycling. We just hire bikes at the station for €8 a day and we're sorted!

    Once you start a biopic it's so hard to finish, it took me 8 months to write up a 15 day tour! Any chance of the rest?
     
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