Into the Netherlands: We have done over 1000 km !! - From Copenhagen's Little Mermaid to Milan's Great Cathedral - CycleBlaze

August 22, 2012

Into the Netherlands: We have done over 1000 km !!

After a very early breakfast in our battle against the heat meant we left at 7am. I think we have won however as today’s temperatures weren’t nearly as high and we are told that from tomorrow onwards all will be back to normal and it will be in the mid to low twenties.

Our first task was to get to Holland and we couldn’t have picked a more dramatic place to reach it. We arrived at Bourtange. This is a star shaped fort built in the late 1500s during the 80 years war by William 1 of Orange to defend the route from Germany to Groningen. I don’t know how successful this was but after its restoration in the 1970s it has provided an amazing tourist trap. We rode in at about 8 am and apart from 1 worker there was not another sole there – not a car or a tour bus in the car park. The whole place has been all immaculately restored , the moats, the draw bridges, the houses, the windmill and the cobbled streets. Riding around and looking at it was rather strange a bit like having a ghost town to ourselves. A couple of hours latter it would have been alive with people and we would even have been able to get a coffee (probably overpriced).

A while after we arrived at Valgtwedde and were able to satisfy our craving at a Bakkery. The coffee was pretty average but the goodie we had with it outstanding. It was a pyramid made of tender buttercrust filled with walnuts in a soft toffee, the pyramid was topped with chocolate and a walnut. A very good choice Ken. Across the road was a bike shop so over we went to get our bike computers changed from mph to kph. The middle aged owner had a bit of a fiddle then handed it over to his young apprentice who with the technological knowhow of youth did it in an instant. There was a wonderful array of exotic looking bikes.

We haven’t seen any other cycle tourists but there are many many cyclists along the excellent routes and you are seldom out of site of another cyclist. People are very helpful . In Standskannal one man rode with us for a fair distance to make sure we were on the right track. He was very proud of his bike with its Brooks seat and leather handle bar grips. Again when we arrived in the chaos which is Emmen when there is a Tuesday Summer Fair we must have looked like stunned mullets ,a kindly local rode with us to this hotel which we would never have found by ourselves.

Early morning on the canal at Dorpin
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Ken had never seen this tractor before it looks like a copy of a Lanz Bulldog large 2 stroke deisel possibly made in Poland
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A bridge into Bourtange
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Bourtange
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How cool are these - terrible to ride I imagine, no gears and a massive long chain
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This is horse country
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Our kind guide and his fine bike
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Today's ride: 73 km (45 miles)
Total: 1,016 km (631 miles)

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