Monday, June 12, 2006


We made it after a very interesting train/bus/train ride.

Sorry I,ve been a slackqrd on the blog; its just turned out to be expensive to get internet access, and then frustrating to type!

This morning Amy and I rode down along a cute river; not sure what our future plans are asie from the fact that we will now be staying in Paris on Saturday night - just to be sure we make it on time.

Saturday, June 10, 2006


As Amy said; the Belgians - and we suspect the french - have a different keyboard:i.e.
Qs Q,y sqid the Belgiqns - qnd ze suspect the french - hqve q different keyboqrd:

This makes typiung a bit slow:

As Amy also mentioned we qre in Namur: Just got train tickets that will take us to Luxe,bourg tommorow, where we plan on spending a few days.

As to the events of the last few days - there are stories to tell; things about the 2006 shimano 105 rear delairer; unexpected trips to large cities; sleeping at an airport; me (waking with a migrane) - and then there is the fact that Jerry needs to update his book:

But we are well now, climbed the Citadel and I am resting: Miss you all!


Kelly Time

Kelly Time

We're in Namor. It's been a rough couple days. This keyboard is French and obnoxious.


Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Leaving Gent

Amy and I are just about to set out from Gent for Tervuian (near Brussels).
Yesterday we left Brugse and about 43 km, my first fall with my foot still in the clip, a real hill! a few cute towns, and lots of farms later arrived in Gent. Another nice hostel.

Gent is cool, but Amy and suspect we shouldn't have done two similar towns in consequtive days. Gent is like a bigger, older and more complex Brugse (hope the Belgians don't take offense at this offhand summation of their cities). Spent an hour in the post office and will not be mailing any more packages. It cost 20 eruos for one small package.

Also went to the Museum of Belgian Folklife and Culture. A Curiousity Type Museum with some strange ideas about farming and babies. Is there any other incident of a culture explaining babies as growing on farms, i.e. hatching from eggs and growing in plants?

Well, time for breakfast. We'll probably be out of internet access range for the next few days. But we'll be thinking of you.


Tuesday, June 06, 2006


Good morning,

Since it is still fresh in my head, I'm going to jump ahead to yesterday's adventures in Brugge.
After the hostel breaksfast, tiny relativly week (American-like) koffee. Amy and I headed out to do laundry! 1 stupe cost 2.50 euro. Of course it took awhile to figure what a stupe was and how we could get one but dealing with the language barrier has become well - not second nature - but doable.

After the laundery we lathered up with sun scree. (have I mentioned the weather?). Until today every day has started cloudy, sometimes with rain, and gotten windy, gotten sunny, gotten windier and goten cloudy again by sunset (22
;00) Today was completely sunny and needless to say we don't need anymore tan (i.e. sunburn)

Bruge is beautiful. To orient ourselves we taook a boat tour through the canals. Then Amy and I split up to do some shopping and wandering on our own. I headed for the bookstalen to locate the next fietsrout fart. This has become an impiortant part of the nisiting town routine. The detailed fieltmmpas only get us between 40 and 60 km. So far we've ridder through 5,. In addition, they're not all the same format so it takes a while t o tranltate and locate the correct next one. I found a reallly good one the Brussels area but not one of the area between here and Ghent - which is our next stop. I'm pretty sure that I can turst Jerry's directions however (you remember Jerry, I mentioned Jerry yesterday) and then in Ghent I'll try again for another fietroute map between there and Brussels.

After the bookstalen I wandered around the markts having koffee, paying to use the toilet, sampling chocolates, trying a Belgian waffle with cream, and touring the churches and convents.

PS Pinkerstag may be Pentecost but needless to say the Belgians, Dutch and French all celebrate it not by going to church but by bike riding, joggin, walking or going to Brugge. The place was busy. And that reminds me of an important cutlureal shift that occured here. In Holland they spoke Dutch and if you asked, and were in a major city, English. Here they speak Dtuch, Flemish, French and English. There are signs we can read!!!! It's nice to understand 1/4 of what is going on without having to plead ignorance first. The multi-lingual situation is also helping me brush up on my French - hopefully when I need it, I'll be passable.

Then Amy and I went back to the hostel, got ready fot settle in and enjoy a bottle fo Brugges own "brugse zot" a light beer, brewed here in Bruge. The brewery is in a cute building and has been working since 1856. This beer was brewed this year and won some awards. The label is in 4 languages - and the beer is really good.

A votre sauna, to your health!

PS The beer stein situation is looking up. There are some here - even one that was passable but we're holding out for something less touristie

PPS I miss the Dutch pastries! Really badly.

Monday, June 05, 2006

June 2

This day ended up as Oudewater to the Bar.

I'm running out of internet time so will just rough in the day and fill it up later when we're home and have photos. (We have lots of great photos)

Ride from Oudwater to Gouda was beautiful. The houses and gardens were old, pristine and incredible.

Gouda was just waking up. We had koffee in a nice cafe where the gentlemen kindly helped us with the different breakfast options.

Bought an awesome Hazelnut torte thing fand chesse for snack.

Met a couple from South Carolina

Saw the cheese weighing building and the stad huis.

Decided for the first time that we really liked Jerry,

Rode to a small ferry. Had koffee on the beach. Rode to kinderjink saw lots of windmills (18). rode through and industrial area (think we missed one of Jerry's turns). Rode through a large tunnel. Rode over a 4 km bridge (have to love that North Sea headwind). Found a minicamping that was next to a bar. Set up tent in a field. Dutch kids played football until 10:30. Spoke to a nice man who thought I really should know what Pinderdag was, but though the idea of the bike trip was really interesting. While the Dutch always ride bikes, I do not think they go too far. Also they often take us for Dutch and will have long conversations with us before finding out we don't speak the language. Then, of course they assume we are English.

June 2 - Gouda to Willemstad 84 km
  • Begin at the N207, the road that urns along the southern border of Gouda (and the one that you cycled in on)
  • Head South on the N207 toward Stolwijk and Bergambacht.
  • Through Stolwijk turn LEFT toward Bergambacht, and 100 meters ahead, turn RIGHT toward Bergambacht. [area map]
  • 10.4: Bergambach (market and bakery). From Bergambacht, follow white and red bike signs to the Goot Ammers and Streefkerk at a roundabout.
  • At the end of the street, turn RIGHT and then a quick LEFT to reach the ferry.
  • Turn RIGHT as you exit the ferry
  • 17.0: Streefkerk. Follow signs to Kenderdijk
  • 26.0: Turn LEFT for Kinderdijk and a long row of windmills(19 in fact). There is a tourist restaurant on your right.
  • To leave Kinderdijk, follow the bike path toward Dordrecht 16km. You'll be cycling along bike paths that run parallel with the A15/E31 adn the N3
  • 31.0: Ablasserdam. As you head to Dordrecht, follow signs LEFT for Dordrecht via Brugge 6km. (not via Dordrecht via the Veer 2km)
  • There will be a hotel on your right as you make the turn.
  • Keep following signs to Dordrecht. Past the hotel, turn right toward Dordrecht and cross a bridge.
  • After the bridge, turn RIGHT to Breda.
  • After you turn right, take a LEFT 100 meters ahead. Over another bridge
  • Follow the N3 to Gravendeel, 10. Exit onto the N217 to 's Gravendeel.
  • You'll pass under a tunnel.
  • As you exit the tunnel, floow the N217 to Mookhoek 3, Dordrecht, and Breda on the N217
  • Follow signs to Mookhoek and Strijen.
  • From Mookhoek, follow signs to Strijen and Numansdorp.
  • 60.0: Strijen (markets, restaurants), turn RIGHT to Numansdorp and Rotterdam
  • 71.0: Numansdorp. As you leave the town, you;ll pass a golf course. Follow the blue sign LEFT to Willemstad 7
  • Continue following signs to Willemstad. As you cross a large bridge, continue following signs to Willemstad, STRAIGHT ahead, 6 km.
  • 84.0: Willemstad

Camping Bovensluis in Willemstad

June 1

The real story...

Stage 1

Don't know that this is an exciting day, it was more like a day for learning how to navigate and forage in a foreign country.

We left the hostel around 9, heading south along the N208 and soon passed Haarlem and into some suburb or other. The houses were nice, some very big estates, and the trees along the fietspad were huge. Somehow I went west instead of east. The orginial plan had been to not follow Jerry's route exactly as we were starting a bit North and East of Amsterdam but to met up with his route around Oudewater (I mean who doesn't want to see where they weighed witches?).

Oh - Jerry. At this point I should introduce Jerry who has become a close friend of ours. He is the man who wrote the book from which many of the route directions came. We are now very close and sometimes we are very fond of him, sometimes a bit disappointed.

But at this point in the ride, we've yet to really rely on Jerry. Trying to get back on course, we really begin to trust the little red and white fietsroute signs. The idea however is not to take a route, but to pick the next town you are going to. The signs only point to towns and also give you kms to the town.

So around noon, after riding through some nice industrial land (and for industrial land it was nice) we stop and have a snack which thankfully we'd brought. An hour later we realize that we will need to carry more food because its not for another hour that we come across a markt. Neither Amy nor I do well on really empty, tired stomachs. But we manage to find some good bread and cheese (its hard not to find good bread and cheese here), and ride on . The countryside has become more agricultural. Very agricultural in fact, we're riding through what were, only 3 weeks ago fileds and fields of tulips. We've seen a few windmills, although right now I can't recall our first.

And then we arrive at Oudewater around 4. It is a cute Dutch town. Really cute. brick streets, brick houses, little cafes. The lady at the VVV directs us to a nearby Kamping. By now we're pretty tired having riden about 70 km and although it is next to a highway and in the middle of the field we settle in. Very happy with our first day.

I figured out the maps and it looks like we are out into the country now!


June 1 - Amsterdam to Gouda 71 km (44m)

  • Ride begins at the Vondelpark (which we'll have to add to the milage), at the western end of the P.C. Hoffstraat
  • Follow P.C.Hoofstraat to Stadhouderskade and turn RIGHT.
  • Follow Stadhouderskade until you get to the Amster River, and turn RIGHT down this street.
  • Amsteldjik (also called S110)
  • When you pass Martin Luther King Park, the S110 is called president Kennedylaan. You'll see signs for the A2
  • Follow bike path to Utecht. Follow it toward Hilversum and Utrecht along the A2 bike path
  • Exit the A2 heading toward Utrecht and Abcoude, following the bicycle signs. Follow the path through Abcoude, Bambrugge.
  • 19.5: N201. Follow signs to Loenen. You'll follow a pleasant raod along a canal.
  • As you hed into Loenen, there's a gas station on your right.
  • At the first bend, follow green and white bike signs toward Breuekelen and Maarse. This will lead you alonside a canal and beautiful Dutch houses.
  • Head next toward Maarsen
  • 32.0 As you approach Maarsen, follow sings to Maarsenbroek.
  • Next follow sings for Vleuten and De Meern.
  • Continue following signs to De Meern
  • 43.0 De Meern
  • Follow signs to Oudewater 17 adn Montfoort 9
  • continue on the road to Montfoort and Oudewater.
  • Oudewater was founded in the 10th century. It was internationally known because of its "Heksenwaag", Witches weighinghouse. Emperor Charles V granted Oudewater the privilege to weigh women, who were prosecuted for witchcraft, in the Netherlands and abroad, and to give them a "Certificaet van Weginghe", confirming that they had been weighed in Oudewater and were not too light, and thus were no witches.
  • Follow this path all the way to Gouda.
  • As you approach Gouda and the N207, you'll come to a large roundabout.
  • Turn RIGHT and head toward Gouda.
  • At the intersection ahead, turn LEFT to Centrum, Alphen and Rijnm, Rotterdam, and Den Haag.
  • Follow signs to the VVV and Centrum.


June 3

Bar to Veere ( Past Kamperland)

Crossed smallish bridge. Watched the sailboats get locked out with a Dutch couple who were also bike touring. Saw a giant clam and clamboats in Briensknee. Amy met a friend while I was in the bakker getting koffee. He suggested and alternate route which we took along the bayshore as opposed to along the highway.

Crossed a Killer Bridge 12 km over cold and windy water. Had lunch in the daisies on the other side. Colinsplatt - saw a working windmill. Rode to the VVV in Kamperland and learned there was a ferry to Vere that left in 20 minutes. Pedaled for the Ferry. Rode over to Verre where we realized - these Dutch towns just keep getting more and more amazing. This one was really amazing! But we (especially Amy) were tired so we rode up the coast to look for a minicamping. Got turned away at the first but the second was better. It was at a farm. The tents set up around a field in the middle of which Dutch kids and parents played football until 22:00 (I think you may sense a trend here).

Willemstad to Kamperland 68 km (42m - headwind warning)

  • From the center of town, follow signs toward Zieriksee 37 km and Rotterdam.
  • A half-kilometer later, follow signs to Zieriksee and Rotterdam, your first left.
  • Just past that sign you'll see a bike path sign for Zieriksee. Follow it to the Right
  • As you cross the bridge, keep following signs to Zieriksee. The terrain is flat and you're parallel with the N59.
  • You'll follow signs for Den Bommel, Middelhamis, and Zieriksee 32km
  • You'll cross another bridge as you pass through Grevelingendam; continue following signs for Zieriksee and Vlissingen.
  • As you approach Zierikzee, turn left for Vlissingen
  • Vlissingen is 49 kilometers away as you leave Zierikzee. You'll cross the Zeeland brugge as you turn right for the N256 and Vlissingen
  • Once over the bridge, continue straight. Ride for 2 km and turn Right on the N255 toward Kamperland and Kortgene. As you make the right, Kamperland is 11 km away.
  • Continue following signs to Kamperland. You reach the town center at 68 km.
  • [Camping]

Thanks for all the comments

Its so good to hear from everyone at home!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Happy Piderdag Everyone

Did you know there is an important Catholic holiday we do not celebrate? Nien? But they sure do here.

Anyway, we have arrived in Brugge. Oh wow! The trip has been great. Sorry for the lack of posts. The Nederlands may be beautiful but they are woefully lacking in internet access. On the plus side I'm just not sure where to start. We have stuck pretty much to the itineary listed on the blog with a few side trips and a few shortcuts. You wouldn't believe how cool, beautiful, old, orderly, neat, all the towns and cities are. The Gouda and bread are excellent too. Not to mention the pastries and the koffee. (which is more like espresso and served in small cups) And the biking! It is fantastic. The original problem wasn't finding the bike routes, but figuring out which one we were supposed to take. We got that figured now. I have learned how to ride a bike, read a map and follow directions all while trying to keep my feet out of the clips in the pedals.

And speaking of maritime. This place is full of boats. I knew there was water but all the boats - and windsurfers too.

All the equipment has held out well. Bodies too. But have certainly learned a few things to do differently next time.

Well, we are limited here on access and someone is waiting so I'll say so long for now. All is well. We will be here in Brugge until Tuesday so I"m sure I'll get to write again this time.