Instead of a false flat, the landscape in the photo is a false slope – my first ever attempt to take a picture on the move on my bicycle and obviously not completely successful. Cyclists do everything on the move here, from shifting completely unwieldy objects and multiple people by bike to cycling without apparently paying any attention to the road – but all without accidents as far as I have seen. Best was a man cycling along typing something on his phone while a small girl was stretched along the crossbar in front of him reading a magazine. He still moved over quickly as we approached and the girl didn’t even look up, so there is some sixth sense involved that I don’t have.
I was trying with the squinty photo to capture one of the many, many stretches of lovely, wide, smooth cycling highway that run alongside a lot of major roads here. They are one of the joys of Netherlands cycling, along with polite drivers, well-laid-out cycle routes at road junctions, proper bike traffic lights and cycle parking everywhere you go. There are also quirky little details like the bridge in the photo below, with an elongated-S cycle section and a high humpback pedestrian section over the top. Yesterday we enjoyed all of these on a cycle up to Enkhuizen via Hoorn, both lovely old towns on the coast of what was once the Zuider Zee.
It was another beautiful day of cycling. We have been very lucky with the weather and had yet another day of sunshine with just a light wind, and that was mostly at our backs. At Enkhuizen, we spent a while enjoying both the indoor and outdoor parts of the Zuider Zee Museum. It would take at least a day to properly take in all there is to see there – a great museum with everything labelled in Dutch, English and German, and a lot of thought given to making everything interesting and accessible to different age groups. There was a whole display about the quite breathtaking piece of early 20th century civil engineering required to build the dam – the Afsluitdijk – that turned the Zuider Zee into a fresh water lake. On the way back we detoured to the Houtribdijk, which like the Afsuiltsdijk forms a 30km-plus causeway with a road and cycle track. If we are feeling adventurous, we may try to cycle further north another day to see the Afsluitdijk itself. By the time we cycled back to Hoorn it was late and getting dark, so we came back the rest of the way by train.
That’s what you call multi-tasking!