Really wearing day yesterday with some rain and a lot of wind. Westerly wind. And we were heading west.
Arnhem is unusual for this part of the Netherlands in having some hills around it, so we started the day with some small climbs – and they were small compared to the early days of this trip, but still a slight shock to the legs. We were a little distance away from the river so did some extra climbing, but dropping onto the river dyke proper a bit later on the day took us fully into the wind.
We battled into it, with intermittent showers for a little extra fun, till we reached Wijk bij Duurstede (no, like most Dutch Place names, I cannot pronounce this correctly) which has what we are assured is the world’s only drive through windmill. It also has an excellent cafe which fed and watered us before we were obliged to get back into the wind. The rest of the afternoon was spent on the dyke route which was a narrow road open to traffic as well as bikes. Most of the time that wasn’t an issue but there was rather a lot of traffic late afternoon, some probably heading for the ferry we passed along the way. Some of the traffic was large lorries, which were also OK when they slowed down. The artic which passed me at speed and whose turbulence nearly took me off the dyke was not OK. I was even more surprised because that sort of thing is not supposed to happen in the Netherlands. Bah!
Fortunately we had splashed out on a bit of hotel luxury last night and we had a delicious meal and a lovely, big, comfortable bed. Getting out of the bed this morning was more of a challenge but we did it, and tired legs lasted fine till Rotterdam. Mercifully only a light headwind today and good paths once we got off the narrow river dyke road again.
We could have pushed on to Hook of Holland, but we have time in hand and it seemed a shame to arrive late and tired at the end of the route, with probably little interest in anything but finding a room for the night. Tomorrow we will set off again for the very last leg. We won’t be following the Rhine as such, of course – since we crossed into the Netherlands, all the gathering up of other rivers has reversed and the Rhine splits multiple times (and part of it merges with the Meuse), so there is no single Rhine, Rhein, Rhin or Rijn to follow. In fact it has a total identity crisis and goes by various names, with the section we have been following called the Lek yesterday and most of today, till it merged with part of the Waal outside Rotterdam and became the Nieuwe Maas. I now have to add river confusion to country, language and currency confusions, but all I can do is go with the flow – literally, in the case of the rivers.