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April 16th 2018
Published: April 16th 2018
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Wow, are we having a great time! On Saturday we managed a 30 mile bike ride between Namur and Dinart. It took a little doing to find an open bike shop, but the very helpful young lady at the Namur tourist information center knew of a local shop that was open. We never would have found the place without her help, but when we got there the owner was ready to rent us two bikes for 29€ and 1 passport as collateral. The last time we left a passport was Zurich, and Andy was not sure that it was a good idea ... Remembering that, we left Dave's passport. As it turned out, we had no trouble getting it back. It was a very easy to follow ride down the Meuse River and back on a bike path. I did feel like I was riding the classic races - we had 3 cobble sections and a few little up hills. Dave always managed to get about 200 meters ahead of me on those sections. The town is saxophone mad - there are saxophones everywhere ... Because the guy that invented them is from here. Just a little trivia for you.

Sunday we want to the Amstel Gold Race. It started in Maastrict, NL and ended in Vilt, NL. It is a pretty long race - some 230 KMs, and live TV coverage was not available until 2 PM - so we had a nice lunch at a riverside cafe in Maastricht, walked around and did some sight seeing before heading off to the finish line. If anyone ever comes here, be sure and stop by the Le Cruset store - the lady that works in there is an absolute gem - we talked and laughed for 30 minutes, and she has good tips as well. The town itself Is gorgeous with lots to do. The finish line was in a sports stadium with a large beer garden set up beside it, so we spent a very enjoyable couple of hours watching the race. Even better is that we got orange hats .. and now we look like natives!

After the race, we were off to The Hague - about a 3 hour or so drive for us. Google maps says 2 hours and 15 minutes - but we always end up missing one of the
Saxaphones EverywhereSaxaphones EverywhereSaxaphones Everywhere

Wikipedia answered the why? question
nested exits they have here ... Exit to the right, keep left at the fork, and then bear right ... So we take a little more time as we circle back at least once every trip. But we arrived at our next air BNB and lucked into a parking spot very close before our hosts gave up on us. Our new air BNB is a tiny house like cottage in the backyard. Every back yard needs one of these ... it is really, really nice. We even get to gather fresh eggs from the chickens also in the backyard. That is a way easier task than I thought. I thought you would have to get the chickens to move and risk a peck or two ... But no, you just reach in and get them. Dave insisted on taking a picture of the retrieval though .. enjoy :-).

We thought about taking a tour of The Hague, but decided we would just use the Air BNB bikes to cycle on one of the many, many marked cycle paths and explore on our own. So we followed the signs into the center of town, bought a map from
Amstel Gold Race StartAmstel Gold Race StartAmstel Gold Race Start

Huge crowds at the start, along the course, and at the finish!
the Visitors Center, mapped out the route we were interested in and set off. We cycled probably 4-5 hours, I have no idea how far we went except that all but 200 meters were into a pretty stiff wind. And I think I must be part Nederlander, because I had no problem with the signs, or the free range bicycle movements as we were riding along ... Dave just followed along as best he could and I waited for him when I got ahead. We stopped for lunch in Delft, which must be famous for cheese and painted china. We bought none of it though because our suitcases are already jam packed. We gave ourselves a C for following the route we meant to follow, but an A for finding our way back and not causing an accident or getting run over. It was so fun.

I forgot to tell you that we saw a real live normal person walking in wooden clogs ... Yup we did. It was in Terneuzen when we went up for that race. We did not get a picture though ... She was surprisingly fast, and we were not expecting it.
Orchestra performance in the squareOrchestra performance in the squareOrchestra performance in the square

seemed to fit so well with the medieval architecture

Tomorrow we get on the barge for the tulip cycling tour ... We are really looking forward to it - and it is supposed to be sunny and in the 70s this week. We we expecting it to be cool and rainy ... of course, who thought it would snow in April there. Only one more race day for us before we come home ... we will miss the Wednesday race (La Flèche Wallone), but will see the

Liege Bastogne Liege race next Sunday.

Additional photos below
Photos: 13, Displayed: 13


Another churchAnother church
Another church

This one in Masstricht; I think this is a cathedral designated by Pope John Paul II (Wikipedia again)
When in the NetherlandsWhen in the Netherlands
When in the Netherlands

you should wear orange and drink beer
Race finishRace finish
Race finish

It was nice that an underdog won (men). Women's world champion won the ladies race. That was good because she is Dutch .. and the crowd went wild.
Eggs .. 1 of 2Eggs .. 1 of 2
Eggs .. 1 of 2

Dave insisted we include these
Our lunch spotOur lunch spot
Our lunch spot

does it look windy? it was.

Tot: 3.088s; Tpl: 0.048s; cc: 7; qc: 45; dbt: 0.0358s; 3; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 4; ; mem: 1.4mb