Fifteen: Going Dutch: Hoek to near Noordwijk. - Lookin For John Fairweather - CycleBlaze

June 23, 2013

Fifteen: Going Dutch: Hoek to near Noordwijk.

Here I am in Hoek van Holand on a grey Sunday morning. I had a coffee on the ferry; that cost over five pounds, full buffet breakfast would've cost fourteen Euros, or pounds as they gave a poor exchange rate. I think eighty-six cents buys one pound, not parity.

Belguim Beer.
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Riding off in Hoek van Holand: I am trying to catch the cyclist up ahead who has been here before.
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The cyclist I had got talking to on the ferry had been here before and therefore knew her way around and said "there's a bakery in the village where we can get breakfast, rather than pay fourteen Euros". I caught up with her along the disembarking-throng of UK and Netherlands registered cars and motor bikes easing steadily forward in lines to the passport control booths.

It had been raining as the streets were wet and there were poodles. Beyond the passport booths, we rode over railway lines and turned along a street of drab sixties apartment blocks with shops at pavement level. I mentioned needing Euros and she pointed out a bank on the corner of the second block along. While getting my wallet out and card to draw cash from the ATM, I thought she would've waited, but she kept on riding. Then after riding around and back, it was obvious it being Sunday morning, nothing was open yet. I even asked a young man out polishing his car the whereabouts of a bakery. He laughed and said "the only bakeries in Holand now are in the supermarket". "Is there one open?" "No. Nothing opens till ten on Sundays" he replied.

Cycle-path.
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To the strand.
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The flags show a brisk south westerly, therefore I'd follow the coast north east.
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I didn't have a map of Holland so Is lost. There were red stencilled on white cycle-signs that pointed right and left and on, one way for Den Haag and another, Strand. I had to choose one, so chose the later. It was too cold to be hanging around. And a brisk wind blew in off the North Sea as I reached the coast.

I turned right and followed a cycle-path for many kilometres through the dunes until it led into a housing estate and I thought which way now. But then thought as the wind was blowing parallel with the coastline, that I continue through the houses and into the town which was ahead of me. Turned out Is in Den Haag.

Hier sto jeg pa sti en dunemarka. A lot of the words both written and spoken, seem the same as Norwegian, so I may get along fine pa Norsk.
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In the Haag, I asked a family group to take my photo; from China, they were amazed to hear I'd cycled From Ireland.
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Dutch Bike.
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Suppose you could call this a, Manpowered commercial vehicle.
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I saw a couple from the ferry cycle by, they waved. I then found a bakery and while paying for croissants asked did they do coffee, they didn't. Another customer, a man said "I show you café. Come outside and follow". So we rode together around the corner and through a number of streets until we arrived outside a café called "Pick and Mix". He praised it as a really good place before leaving me. I had a Brie in French stick with my coffee. I didn't take the Netbook in with me. I did later spend two hours in another café nearer the city-centre uploading photos. By that time it was two o'clock and I'd still to find a bookshop in order to buy a map.

The main shopping street was full of people and it wasn't easy pushing my bike through. I saw every type of shop except a bookshop until I saw a little side street at the end which did.

With a map I could work out where I was and the cloud had cleared, leaving a warm sunny afternoon. I continued along the main route to Amsterdam. Around four I met another cycle-tourer with six yellow panniers, as he'd an Extra Wheel trailer, plus a massive yellow bag on the back off the bike. He said he'd too much stuck but knew what to pack and what not to pack next time We chatted for half an hour. His name was Ayo from London and he'd been to Spain and was now on his way home via Germany, Holland and Belgium. We could've talked for much longer, but Is unsure where Is going to end up that evening.

I headed for Noordwijk and on the way met a local couple on a tandem, a Santos which they proudly claimed was a Dutch maker, made in the next village; they showed me the only supermarket open to six o'clock. Shortly afterwards Is passing a little park and although there were people about, dog-walkers mainly, it looked the perfect place to camp. There was even a picnic table on the bank of a canal where I sat, preparing pasta and eating, then reading until dusk when I put the tent up.

Junction on the way out of Haag.
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Cycle-road along major route.
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The double or long A sound.
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The weather and architecture makes it look like Spain.
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I met Ayo from London. He'd cycled to Spain and back on this his first cycle-tour. I think his motto was, "If in doubt, take it." He said he'd worked out what to take and what not to take for the next time, however. I didn't get into asking him his favourite colour. Silly question. But we chatted for half an hour, exchanging experiences.
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I like to live in a house like that.
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First shop in a chain called, AH *Albert Heim". I found carton yogurt, great along with muesli for breakfast.
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Water lilies.
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Expenditure total: 31 euros.

Coffee on ferry: 3 euros.

Bakery in Haag: 4 euros.

Coffee and sandwich: 4.10 euros.

Café for Wi-Fi: 5 euros.

Map: 9 euros.

AH shop: 5.90 euros.

Today's ride: 43 km (27 miles)
Total: 1,250 km (776 miles)

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