Groningen - Earnewald - To France the Long Way - CycleBlaze

July 13, 2009

Groningen - Earnewald

On our week-end in Groningen we decide, no, the trip isn't over yet. We have information on bike routes in the Netherlands and have plotted our route from Groningen into Belgium.

This morning I wake up early and from our room on the 6th floor, facing east, I see the sun rise, a red ball on the horizon. Half of the sky is shrouded in heavy dark clouds, the other half is absolutely clear. The day follows suit, starting out cloudy and ending on a bright, cheerful note.

We're off. Our fine hotel had no safe parking for our bikes so we brought them into our room.
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Leaving Groningen we ride through the Stadspark and have a look at the pretty camping that we didn't use because of the steady rain.
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Holland is foreign to us. We hope to find bakeries that open early and sell a cup of coffee, like in Germany, but are disappointed. How silly of us to expect Holland to be like Germany. The bakeries on the outskirts of Groningen and in the villages we pass through are still closed at this early hour. The hotel breakfast would have cost more than the room itself and we preferred a ride on an empty stomach. Eventually we find a bakery, no coffee, and tank up some energy in the form of pastry for the next kilometers.

Our ride west towards the coast takes us through farming country. The farm houses in the country are meticulously kept, by our standards they look more like upper-class suburban homes. In the villages I am fascinated by the window decorations. It is customary to have sparkling clean bay windows to the street, no curtains, and some pretty objects like two identical Chinese vases or two identical candlesticks or two identical dried flower arrangements exhibited. I didn't take any pictures, it felt too indiscreet, but I wish I had.

Dutch church arcitecture was influenced by a Calvinist ethos of sobriety.
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We haven't seen many windmills yet, but this is a nice specimen.
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We see many lovely houses with carefully painted shutters.
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An interesting road surface
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At the end of our ride we enter a nature preserve, Alde Feanen National Park, a 4000-hectare peat bog with lakes, marsh ponds and pools left over from peat digging. However, from our bikes we don't get much of an impression of the water landscape, a bird's eye view would be better, or a view from the water. Janos is familiar with this part of Holland from his days of sailing and finds it a little disappointing from the perspective of the road.

There are several camping grounds in the area to choose from. We are near a lake, but almost the whole shore is lined by private homes and not accessible. The camping is lovely - cushiony grass, a small shop, hot showers, quiet, a table and chairs, all for 12€.

Camping again
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I wasn't able to find fuel for the Trangia today, but we are happy with cold cuts, salad and a bottle of wine from the campground store.

Today's ride: 58 km (36 miles)
Total: 1,523 km (946 miles)

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