Bruce has already posted headlines about today’s route and distances on his blog, but here is a map of the area.



As as you can see, Marken is on an island linked to the mainland by a causeway. There is a little sense of adventure cycling with sea on both sides, and the views are spectacular – but, alas, my photo doesn’t capture the windswept beauty of the journey.



Marken itself has lovely, traditional buildings and a fair sprinkling of things for tourists. There is a pretty harbour, and a lighthouse at the eastern end of the island. Oh, and a literal shoe tree outside one clog shop! We had time to explore before joining a boat trip to Volendam, back on the mainland.



Volendam harbour was very touristy indeed, but a little way north we cycled through the beautiful old town of Edam. Predictably, I bought cheese.

Lots of lovely countryside on the way there and the way back, some of it nature reserve. We certainly saw a lot of wild and domestic animals. Apart from cows, goats and horses again today, I had my first experience of trying to cycle through sheep being herded along the path in the opposite direction. They didn’t seem at all bothered by cyclists, which is hardly surprising. There were lots of birds as well – a heron, coots, swans, greylag geese, various gulls, some ducks I didn’t manage to identify as we cycled by and many smaller birds I also didn’t identify. We passed a birdwatching hide on one of the reserves and I think there would be plenty to see there. A small mammal of some kind dashed across the path between our two bikes at one point but very sensibly was not hanging about for the ID parade.

A good day, and more cycling than either of us had done for a while.  I’m getting on reasonably well with my hire bike but had to cave in and buy a gel saddle cover today or face being unable to sit down for a while.  Even with the gel cover I’m a bit tender.  We may aim for a bit more sight-seeing and less pedalling tomorrow so we are ready for more exploring at the weekend.