Published: April 21st 2012April 9th 2012
What happens when you take 3 bikes, 2 aussies and one pole and throw them together in North Holland? A cracking Easter filled with dykes, windmills, flowery frolics and an occasional ... or frequent ... ouch when getting on or off bike seats.
We signed up for a 3 day self guided cycling tour with http://www.tulipcycling.com/
a fabulous company who provided bikes, helmets, handlebar bags, route information and a gps and send you on your way to find your own way from point A to point B.
For Dan, Ewa and I point A was Weesp and three days and 147.5kms later we hit point B at Nieuw-Vennep. In between we cycled along dykes and past fishing villages on the east coast to Edam, through the water lands and past windmills to Haarlem and took in the sand dunes and North Sea coast before a final floral frolics at the end.
Sorry folks if you don't like cycling, however this is the
way to see a country that gives bikes priority over cars and pedestrians, builds bikeways everywhere and is fundamentally flat. Anyone who has ever been able to pedal a bike can do this, I am living
proof although there are parts of me I thought would never be the same again! One think I learned, by day 2 you get numb, by day 3 you want to do more ... next time 4 or 5 days should be just about right!
Of course on the way we managed fit in eating and drinking including breaking into windmills in search of hot chocolate, a bit of sight seeing and the odd photo stop. We ended our Easter with 24 hours in Amsterdam including pancakes, a guided tour of the red light district courtesy of Nick a kiwi bloke Dan & Ewa had met skiiing and a general wander around.
I don't think I got Amsterdam after 3 days enjoying the countryside without the crowds or rain which having generally held off while we cycled decided to come down in a steady stream. Maybe a weekend visit just to the 'Dam would be better to overcome my first impressions that unless you are there to visit the infamous 'coffee shops' or to experience whats behind the red or blue doors it didn't thrill me.
It seems too many quiet canals, remote windmills and open space
in our run around the country ruins you for the capital.
There are more photos below