Monday, 16 July 2018

DORDRECHT to KINDERDIJK :

Monday 16th July, 2018.

There was a lot of noise in the town last night with traffic flowing through once the barriers had been removed, large trucks and cranes deconstructing and removing staging etc. and partygoers talking, laughing and singing their way home.  Despite the noise we were able to get a good night's sleep and at breakfast chatted to fellow guests, a young couple from Utrecht who had travelled to Dordrecht by boat which had no sleeping quarters, hence their stay in the B&B.  We were in no hurry to leave and after breakfast, sat outside in the shady garden where we had a very pleasant conversation with Mira, the lovely Welsh lady who looked after us in the absence of  the owner, her neighbour who is currently in France.  Mira and her Dutch husband  live a couple of doors down from the B&B.

Our departure from Dordrecht was by water bus at €2 each and we were the only passengers on that trip.  Once across the water we followed the cycle by numbers route, through suburban streets and industrial areas to Ridderkerk where another water bus took us Alblasserdam for the short ride to our hotel at Kinderdijk.

Kinderdijk is a village in the the Netherlands' South Holland province, known for its iconic 18th-century windmills, which form part of a  UNESCO World Heritage site.   Its water-management network features 19 mills and 3 pumping stations, plus dikes and reservoirs that control flooding in the polder (low-lying land). Waterways, footpaths and bike trails crisscross the area, leading to the main visitors center and museums in preserved working windmills.

We have a wonderful view of the windmills from our hotel window


 but waited until the evening cooled a little to ride there, taking many, many photos.....how many photos of windmills does one need?









Sunday, 15 July 2018

Gorinchem to Dordrecht 32 Kms

Sunday 15th July, 2018.

Another cycle-by-numbers day,


an easy ride but I have to say, not terribly interesting fof the most part.
We followed the river at times but also went inland, past light industry and shipyards, through suburban streets, emerging at a small park on the river's edge


where we sat on a bench under a shady tree to eat the sandwiches we'd made this morning, continuing on through more suburban streets which were busy with families dressed in their Sunday best, cycling to and from church, until we reached Papendrecht ferry port.  Here, we finally came across a restaurant/cafe (the first we'd seen since leaving Gorinchem) where we could sit and have a cup of coffee,  and treated ourselves to a cake each as well before taking the ferry ride across the river to Dordrecht.
Our progress to our B&B was slow, firstly because we stopped to take photos at every corner





 and then, because Dordrecht has hosted a large music festival this weekend, there were bands playing at different venues along the way and we stopped to listen to an excellent big band


and then  a talented country band.


Later, after we'd settled in we went for a wander around this lovely old town

where people are eating, drinking, listening to other bands performing and having a good time.  Just a few minutes ago, a small band came strolling down our street, playing their music and bringing people out of their houses to take photos



...it's a fun place to be.

A day in Gorenchem 20 Kms

Saturday 14th July, 2018.

On our arrival in Gorinchem yesterday, we had a strange feeling that we'd been here before although the name didn't ring any bells.  Then a little memory  began to niggle of our first year with Boris and an unsuccessful attempt to stay at a motorhome camping place which was chokkers....this was the town!  We're pleased to be back, even though it's by coincidence. Being here for two nights we were able to take advantage of the washing machine in the apartment and now have a completely clean wardrobe, with no need to use the dryer as the sun and breeze did the job for us.

Mike's bike stand has been causing a problem again and getting worse so we located a bike shop in the town, they couldn't fix it but sent us to the agents for Victoria bikes (which ours are) Allwheels,  a family company who not only fixed the stand but didn't charge!  This is not a normal practice (otherwise they'd go broke) but they were very helpful and friendly which we appreciated.

These are the two brothers who own the shop

With that sorted, we spent the rest of the day cycling around the town, a walled city with a river and a couple of canals running through it.  A quiet couple of beers in the evening capped off a most enjoyable day.





TIEL to GORINCHEIM :

Friday 13th July, 2018.

Today was almost a replica of yesterday.  A lovely day's riding along the dyke, passing by cornfields, fruit trees, vegetable gardens, canals, wetlands and occasionally some light industry.




We stopped at Rossum for coffee at De Gouden Molen hotel cafe and it was so good we indulged ourselves with a second cup each.


Fortified by the coffee, we cycled on until we came across a lookout, so climbed up to see the view....fabulous.


A snack lunch was bought at Zaltbommel, then we continued on to Louvenstein where we took a ferry ride to Gorincheim.



We are settled into our fabulous apartment here for two nights, have seen a little of the town and will explore more tomorrow.

Saturday, 14 July 2018

NIJMEGEN to TIEL :

Thursday 12th July, 2018.

We heard this morning that someone called eminem is performing tonight in Nijmegen which probably accounts for one of the several stages erected in the town in the last two days.
The ferris wheel we had watched being erected since our arrival in town was completed this morning when the last of the gondolas was attached and two crew were putting the advertising panels in place when we left.


It was easy getting out of town and we were very quickly on the excellent cycle path which runs along a dyke and is numbered at every intersection, making getting lost virtually impossible.
We were not always close to but were in sight of the River Waal for most of today's ride.  Along the way we stopped for a few minutes to watch a couple of thatchers at work,

again when we saw our first Dutch windmill


and when we detoured off the dyke into the town of Beneden Leeuwen in search of a comfort stop and a coffee each.


Later, we stopped to eat our lunch while sitting on a bench watching the barges go by


Back on the path again, we were stopped by an elderly gentleman calling out to us.  Thinking he was going to tell us that the path was closed or that there was some danger ahead, when we explained that we didn't understand Dutch he quite excitedly spoke to us in English.  It seemed that he just wanted someone to talk to and chose us so we had a very pleasant 10 minute conversation with him before moving on.
In spite of having to battle a strong wind again today, it was an enjoyable ride and in what seemed like no time at all, we'd reached our destination and checked in to the hotel.


The town of Tiel is across the river from the hotel and reached by ferry.


We took the bikes across and rode around a little then parked them to go walking through the  attractive town


which has plenty of shops, cafes, pubs etc., calling in at one of the pubs for a drink.  When hearing our Australian accents, the man sitting at the next table started talking to us as he had visited the eastern states several times as a younger man and was eager to reminisce about old days.   We invited him to sit with us, he introduced himself as Rene a native of Tiel and we chatted for an hour or so before parting, calling in at Aldi's for a few supplies on the way to the ferry for the ride 'home'.


Thursday, 12 July 2018

NIJMEGEN

Wednesday, 11th July, 2018.

We've enjoyed our day in Nijmegen with a visit to De Bastei, the museum housing ancient Roman ruins, flora, fauna and fossils from the region,  a wander through the town watching all the preparations for the coming festival and party which are expected to attract up to a million people and which include four one day walks in four different directions and of course, barge watching.






It's been a relaxing day off capped off by a lovely evening meal....it will be sad to leave in the morning.


TOLKAMER to NJIMEGEN :

Tuesday 10th July, 2018.

From our window at a little after 7 a.m. we watched our Belgian friend's barge "Absolut" cruise past, on its way up river towards Cologne.  It was quite a procession with several barges and one solitary cruise boat going up and down the river.
It was extremely windy this morning with a few grey clouds hovering so we donned the raincoats before setting off, mainly to stop the wind going right through us...it was rather chilly.  Four or five kms along the path we came to the little ferry


which took us across the Rhine for the last time,  to Millingen where we stopped at the ferry stop cafe, hoping to have a hot breakfast but the cook didn't start till 11 a.m. so we settled for a slab of delicious apple cake and a large coffee each.
While there, we dug deep into one of the bags to find a fleece each as the raincoats alone weren't keeping us warm.  We hadn't been so cold since we left home!
We were about to leave the cafe when we heard the unmistakeable sound of the Australian drawl being spoken by a trio of men at a table nearby so went over to investigate.  Peter, Glen and Gordon are all from Brisbane though Peter now lives in Newcastle, UK.... his mates come over to visit and they all go cycling through Europe for a few weeks each year.  We sat and chatted for an hour or so, had another coffee and exchanged stories....


a very entertaining interlude but by this time those grey clouds had darkened and had begun to drop their load, at first a mere drizzle and then a deluge but we managed to take shelter at a service station until it eased enough to continue on to follow the Waal River, which is an alternative to following the Rhine. A couple of kms on and we had to seek shelter once again, this time at a bus stop where we had a conversation with a local lady, a young girl and a teenage boy while they waited for their bus.
On a fine day it would have been a wonderful ride as we rode through some pretty countryside but with the cold, blustery conditions it wasn't always as enjoyable as it could have been and was at times hard work to keep the bikes on track.


It started to drizzle again just before we reached Njimegen on the Waal and when we checked in to our hotel, we booked in for a second night, having decided to do so  before we arrived.
Venturing from the hotel up the hill (yes, there is a hill in Holland) to the town,


we had beer and coffee at a bar/cafe and fell into conversation with the barman and one of the customers, a regular I believe.  He told us how Nijmegen had been bombed in error by the Americans in 1944 and later rebuilt, about the 4 day walkfest and party to be held here next week when about 1 million visitors from around the world are expected to flood into the town, about the ancient Roman ruins which had been discovered two doors down from our hotel and had been converted into a museum and imparted several other snippets of helpful information....who needs a tourist info office?