Twenty: Groningen to Tremurden - Lookin For John Fairweather - CycleBlaze

June 30, 2013

Twenty: Groningen to Tremurden

I was anxious to get back on the road when I came out of the café at half one; and after three days in Groningen, I was accustomed to the car-free nature of the hundred and eighty thousand inhabitant university town where seemingly everybody gets around by bike. Cars are very much in the background against the sound of bicycle-wheels and bells. It being Sunday though, the streets were deserted. There was one cyclist in front of me through the central square and out to where the cycle-signs for "Bedum", the place near enough the way I wanted, led through a city-park with happy people sat in circles on the grass. Then back on the streets every café I passed, the outside tables were all taken with people enjoying a Sunday afternoon drink.

My road out of Groningen.
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I'd reached a major junction at the city-ring-road with an elevated road on concrete stilts and here too, I saw no more than five cars, but there were a few more bikes now on the cycle-road alongside; middleaged couples and families with children.

The signs for Bedum led me along a canal then over a bridge, where on the street corner were tables with umbrellas at a café with lots of bikes leaned outside against the railings. I was near tempted to stop but thought it better to keep going. I then saw a big supermarket but then discovered when I rode up to the front, the car-park empty and the check-outs on the inside lifeless.

The way led through a number of villages; through Bedum and the next place Is headed for was Ten Boer which when reached was on the main-road north east to Appingedam. Instead, the cycle-sign sent me on a meandering country-road alongside drainage channels across ultra flat polder; past fields of black and white dairy cows and farms where the cows weren't so lucky to be let out to pasture; instead, they passed their heads through slotted rails in big open sided barns to feed on mounds of grass which had been cut and carted in from the field.

Typical Polder.
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I was pleased with the bike, having done the repair, replacing the cable, and could now slip the chain up on the big-outer-ring and bowl along fairly fast; though, when the road veered a little to the west, then I'd to drop down on the middle-ring again as I struggled against that ever-present North Sea breeze.

Around half four I met a procession of motor bikes and trikes coming out of Appingedam. Looked like some biker event when I reached the street which was closed off and marshalls in hi-vis vests stood and kept order.

I reached Appingdam at half four: there was some kind of motor bike event taking place.
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Down a side alley.
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I made my way along a parallel street, full of people and every eating place had a queue outside for ice-cream. I carefully rode along through the people until I'd gotten to the far end and had decided as I didn't have much food in the bag, to double back to what looked like a good eating establishment. The card on the table had an appetising picture of a burger sandwich with lots of salad and the words "Broodje De Zijfen" with a list of ingredients. I could make out "Franse Mostard". I ordered when I got the girl's attention. I waited ten minutes but when it came it was a meal, extremely tasty and filling; well worth five Euros ninty-five.

Lunch at five in the afternoon. I treated myself because it was Sunday and the supermarkets were shut.
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Sign for the "Dollard Cycle Route": The Dollard is the tidel inlet between Northern Holland and Ost Friesland in Germany.
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7 PM.
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It was only a few kilometre more until Is on my way into the city of Defzil, where I followed signs for places to the south east, passing through a large industrial area with huge hanger buildings and pipelines. Then I passed througt the village of Tremurden, where the sign led me to a pathway along a sea defence, an elongated mound with sheep grazing on it which occationly had steps or a path up, for people to go up and take in the coastal vista on the other side. One of these paths I went up and saw on the other side, a large grass square on the outside of the sheep fence and looking out over the tidal inlet. A place to camp. It was too good to pass.

I remained discrete. I wouldn't put the tent up until dusk; meanwhile, I leaned the bike against the fence as if I'd only stopped, while having supper of biscuits which I'd left, then reading a chapter of my book.

I wrote in my diary, This evening I can see Germany across the sea inlet, on the far side I can see the industrial hulks of the city of Emden. Later, thousands of city lights came on.

Found a place to camp.
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Expenditure: 15 Euros 70.

Coffees: 5 Euros 20.

Sandwich, beer and coffee in Appingedam: 10 Euros 50.

Today's ride: 47 km (29 miles)
Total: 1,547 km (961 miles)

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