Veere - Sluis - To France the Long Way - CycleBlaze

July 22, 2009

Veere - Sluis

Only a few drops of rain fell on the tent during the night. In the morning a cup of tea and we're off. It is only 2.5 km to Veere, the first town we visit on the peninsula of Walcheren. And since we only had tea we treat ourselves to a rather extravegant breakfast, enjoy the luxury of a table and chairs and update our journals.

On the way to Veere from the campgrounds
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Approaching Veere
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Veere
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Veere
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Veere
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In WWII the peninsula of Walcheren (located at the mouth of the seaway to Antwerp which was of utmust importance to the Allies) was blocked by German defense lines. To destroy the German defense lines the allied forces bombed the dunes and dikes at four locations. The whole island suffered from the ensuing inundation. It is a sickening thought that just a few bombs are needed to destroy the dams and flood the land that had been reclaimed through a century-long struggle.

A few kilometers further is Middelburg, a city with a rich cultural history dating back to the 9th century. In WWII the city center was bombed by the German Luftwaffe to force the surrender of the Dutch armies in Zeeland. After the war, much of the old town was reconstructed and its historic character has been retained.

Abbey of Our Lady, Middelburg. The foundation of the abbey goes back to 1123. Today government departments are lodged around the quiet abbey courts.
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Town Hall, Middelburg
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Town Hall, Middelburg
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Another 20 minutes and we reach the ferry to Dutch Flanders, the mainland. We follow the bike path along the dunes, pretty but - you guessed it - very windy so we decide to head inland. In Sluis we are in the last town before the border to Belgium, and teeming with tourists.

Ferry crossing to Dutch Flanders
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We follow the coastal route - for a while.
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Beautiful beaches of white sand along the coast of Dutch Flanders
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Sluis
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We stock up at a supermarket for our evening meal and ride to the local camping ground. Under a clear sky, we enjoy one of our favorite cheeses, a kind of cream cheese with pieces of ginger in it, and look forward to crossing the border to Belgium tomorrow.

Writing my journal and reading up on the places we passed through several months after our trip, I realize with regret just how much we missed along our route through Holland. But we were making slow enough progress as it was and felt the need to push on. Surely we had good reasons for doing it the way we did, but in retrospect and viewed from the comforts of home, I wish we had spent more time exploring.

Today's ride: 52 km (32 miles)
Total: 1,983 km (1,231 miles)

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