Julie Kane, Emma Curtis, Ann Streeter & Carol Cartwright on tour in Holland
Julie, Carol, Emma and Sheelagh met in Rayleigh for the first leg of the Tour. Sheelagh joined us for the first day and her excellent navigational skills got us to Harwich. We stopped in Maldon and Colchester for the mandatory tea stops. The weather was a bit damp but we avoided most of the showers.
We arrived in Harwich late afternoon (we had cycled 103km). The weather showed a glimmer of sunshine and we could have been on the Costa del Sol (carry on dreaming Carol)!
Adrian and Ann met us in Harwich where we had an evening meal in The Alma Inn which with its historic routes had served ale since the 1850s. The food was delicious.
We drove to the port and travelled on the overnight ferry to Hook of Holland. Ann was joining us for the rest of Tour.
We docked at 7.45 and disembarked to a rather damp looking Holland. The first part of the route was quite tricky and took us a while to find the correct path from the railway station. The headed north, nearly all off road. It was nice to cycle so close to the coastline and through the sand dunes. We found a little “demountable” café where we stopped for a well-earned break and use of their conveniences. The lady owner was very welcoming and was interested to know about our travels.
Our destination was Noordwijkerhaot where we were staying in a hotel. Unfortunately it seemed elusive to find, a local man in clogs pointed us in the right direction but another local kindly guided us to our hotel. It was very large but comfortable with lots of bike storage. The hotel was holding an event for car enthusiasts and there was an amazing range of vintage cars for us to admire. In the evening we walked into Noordwijkerhout and had a nice meal in one of the local restaurants.
We had a leisurely breakfast and headed towards Amstelveen taking a scenic route. As the directions were not very clear what should have been a 40 km ride took us quite a few hours. It was nice to cycle through the countryside and see fields of tulips and windmills alongside the beautiful canals. It was bright warm day.
The Dutch treat their cyclists really well and there was an amazing bridge over one of the main motorways built especially for cyclists to use.
We arrive at our destination and were staying in a family house which was very comfortable. After a brief stop we took the bus into the centre of Amsterdam where we had a nice meal and spent the evening sightseeing.
We set off quite early to our next destination Delft. We retraced some of our route from the previous day and cycled over the bridge again. Today’s route again was mainly cross country. The locals were very helpful. We went into a cycle shop and asked for directions and came out with a “man”. He offered to cycle with us to get us back on track one condition “we didn’t ride too fast for him”. Wow, did he ride fast and we needed lots of pedal power to keep up with him for 15 minutes or so.
We passed through Leiden and through the forest, again a bit of a maze. A local couple who were cycling guided us to the canal route which took us straight to Delft. It was excellent cycling alongside the canals with no hills or traffic.
Adrian was waiting for us in Delft, a quaint traditional town with its 19th century renovated Stadhuis (Town Hall) and the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church). We had a nice evening meal in Delft and stayed in the Johannes Vermeeer Hotel which was comfortable.
Our final day, we left Delft mid-morning for our short cycle back to the Hook cycling alongside the canals.
We boarded the ferry for a 3.00 pm sailing and arrived back in Harwich around 9.00 after a relatively smooth crossing. We had cycled 322 km in total.
Amsterdam is a beautiful place to cycle especially so because of the miles of cycle routes and of course very few hills.
It was an eventful trip at times but it shows with the help of the locals you can cycle without the need for GPS! The ladies “Tour of Amsterdam” was a great success.
Click here for photo gallery