Bicycle touring through the Netherlands
Before we start the Baltic Sea route proper we need to get to it. This amounted to catching a ferry from Hull to Hook of Holland and cycling for miles along the flat cycle paths through the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark.
The ferry took 12 hours overnight and so a cabin in compulsory. We thought the outside looked more like a prison ship than an €200 overnight stay.
In The Hague we stayed with family friends and explored the city the following day. They showed us Binnenhof (the Dutch houses of Parliament), the beautiful beaches and walked around the city. At the beach they told us that the Dutch like to eat raw herring by tipping your head back and sliding it straight down your throat. None of us were keen enough to try it though…
The statement that the Netherlands is one of the best countries to tour is completely accurate. We cycled for days along wide, flat cycle paths, and loved not dealing with busy roads. Many of the cycle paths meandered through various woodlands and we often didn’t see anyone else for miles.
We passed by many of the famous dutch windmills, their most important use was pumping water from the farmland back beyond the dike to allow the land to be farmed. Many appear to now be converted into homes.
In the northern part of the Netherlands we stayed with more family friends and they showed us their famous local spots. One was Giethoorn or ‘Venice of the North’. So called because every house is on its own island, surrounded by canals. It’s a tranquil place with virtually no cars and century old buildings. I walked onto one of the bridges and they told me to quickly get of it, saying that they are privately owned and the owners don’t like people walking over them.
Another place they took us to was where the dike water level changes height either side of the dike. The water height difference is extreme, though I can’t remember the name of the place to check just how much it is.
Our final view of the Netherlands was a beautiful sunset over a canal near Groningen. We were still carrying a map of Holland so we left it in the campsite brochure display with a little note explaining what we were up to, hopefully someone else finds it useful. The next day we went over the border into Germany.
But not before a final avenue of trees.
The cycle tour so far:
England – Cornwall to Wales
Ireland – Winding Westwards
Ireland – Starting the Wild Atlantic Way
Ireland – The Wild Atlantic
Ireland – Causeway Coastal Route
England – Stopover in the Peak
Netherlands – Bicycle touring through the Netherlands