Outside Castricum

So far this year there has been far too much work and not enough cycling. We have escaped again for some more exploring on two wheels, but this will be a deliberately gentle trip to help rebuild some fitness.

I missed out on a planned trip to Texel at Easter. Other half was attending a conference and came back with very positive reports so we decided to spend a few days on the island as part of our summer cycle trip. We have been very lucky with weather so far – rain on the cycle from Newcastle to North Shields to catch the ferry is traditional, and it was only a token drizzle this year. Since then, we have had sunshine, light winds and beautiful blue skies.

We could have cycled from ferry to ferry in one day but being kind to ourselves (wimping out?) had an overnight stop in Alkmaar instead. We squeezed in one more ferry crossing almost immediately as the bridges over the IJ were closed for some works.  So glad we did – the old town centre with the narrow streets, canals and quaint buildings is lovely. I had a hankering to see the cheese market on Friday morning, but should have realised the a famous cheese market would be very crowded in late August. It was barely possible to move, so I saw very little and we had to loop round the town centre and an unexpected funfair to find a route clear enough for the bikes.

Bonus ferry across the IJ since a bridge was closed.

The cycle from Alkmaar to Den Helder was glorious. We had a cycle route – sometimes shared with a very small amount of motorised transport and sometimes a dedicated two-way cycle path – that followed the main road and canal almost the whole way, which made navigation and pedalling very easy. No pedalling through sand as we had to on the coastal route from Den Helder in 2016!

We were able to buy ferry tickets online (€5 each return including bikes!) so there was no waiting to get onto the Texel ferry – which was very modern and comfortable, although the crossing is almost too short to enjoy it. Texel itself turns out to be lovely – very green with lots of birds and large areas of nature reserve along the coast that we still have to explore.

We are here for a few more days to relax and see the island, and then we have a whole week to tour with no firm plans yet on where we will go. Suggestions welcome!