eleanor.scot

Pedalling around Europe

2022 Day 17 Amsterdam to Zaandam (13km), Day 18 Zaandam to Castricum and back (40km), Day 19 sightseeing at Zaanse Schaans and Day 20 Zaandam to ferry (27km) — August 27, 2022

2022 Day 17 Amsterdam to Zaandam (13km), Day 18 Zaandam to Castricum and back (40km), Day 19 sightseeing at Zaanse Schaans and Day 20 Zaandam to ferry (27km)

Zaanse Schans

I have written before about my joy in discovering little collections of streets in the Netherlands with names all on a theme. We have encountered Computerweg, Printerstraat and Plotterstraat before, but on the cycle from Amsterdam to Zaandam I saw Back-Upstraat, which narrowly beat Disketteweg in my personal Dutch Street name awards 2022 (younger readers will have to look up the latter).

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2022 Day 13 and 14 Oslo visit, Day 15 cycle to ferry (10km) and Day 16 train-wrangling to Amsterdam — August 25, 2022

2022 Day 13 and 14 Oslo visit, Day 15 cycle to ferry (10km) and Day 16 train-wrangling to Amsterdam

Oslo ferry out to the Museums with the wonderful Nikki

There is a lesson emerging from this trip – do not try to travel by train to Hamburg with bicycles. I’m trying to type this standing up in a carriage crowded with bicycles, large luggage and people, because the previous regional train was cancelled. Does this sound familiar at all? We are travelling west to Hamburg from Kiel rather than east from Bremen but the only significant difference is that there is a dog in the carriage this time, also suffering from the heat.

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2022 Day 9 Henstedt-Ulzburg to Neumünster (35km plus 4km exploring), Day 10 Neumünster to Kiel (36 km), Day 11 sight-seeing in Kiel and Day 12 to Oslo ferry(4km) — August 19, 2022

2022 Day 9 Henstedt-Ulzburg to Neumünster (35km plus 4km exploring), Day 10 Neumünster to Kiel (36 km), Day 11 sight-seeing in Kiel and Day 12 to Oslo ferry(4km)

Hiroshima Park in Kiel

The cycle from Henstedt-Ulzburg to Neumünster was lovely. After the first few urban kilometres, we had a well-surfaced, shady path and could finally get up some speed (note to any roadies reading this: speed by luggage-laden touring standards, not *actual* speed). It was great fun and we made such good time that we were far too early to check into our hotel in Neumünster. We needed cold drinks and bathroom facilities so wound up at a nearby McDonalds for a pit stop – which turned out much longer than intended when a thunderstorm passed over us. Still, we were lucky to be sheltered under the McDonalds umbrella and able to watch the rain in comfort. When it finally stopped, we pedalled off to see a little of Neumünster, which is quite a big town with lovely old buildings and some extremely vicious cobbles. We wanted to visit the sculpture park, which seems to be a major attraction, but it was closed on Tuesdays.

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2022 Day 7 Papenburg to Leer (20km) and Day 8 Hamburg to Henstedt-Ulzburg (30km) with adventures by train in between — August 15, 2022
2022 Day 5 Groningen to Winschoten (39km) and Day 6 Winschoten to Papenburg (31km) — August 13, 2022

2022 Day 5 Groningen to Winschoten (39km) and Day 6 Winschoten to Papenburg (31km)

Welcome bit of shade between Groningen and Winschoten

We had an overnight stop in Winschoten in 2017, when we cycled from Amsterdam to Berlin. I looked back at that trip and see that we arrived in Winschoten having cycled 101km fron Leeuwarden (where, incidentally, we stayed in the wonderful Alibi Hostel, converted from an old prison). I cannot imagine cycling 100km in a day this year. We are dying in the heat and it was cooler in 2017, but that is not the only factor. We did the Rhine trip in 2018 in the midst of a tremendous heatwave and we were managing longer distances. I could blame it on Covid, which we both had just over a month ago, but I think that is not the full explanation either. We just don’t seem to have the stamina this year, and we will have to work on that if we want to come touring with the bikes again. I. Spite of that, my legs and my lungs feel strong, so the training through the winter has definitely paid off.

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2022 Day 3 sightseeing in Assen (maybe 1km!) and Day 4 Assen to Gronigen (28km) — August 11, 2022

2022 Day 3 sightseeing in Assen (maybe 1km!) and Day 4 Assen to Gronigen (28km)

The deer enclosure in Assen has a pond with a fountain

We caught a train from Lelystad to Assen as planned, and had a sightseeing afternoon once we had dropped the bikes off at our hotel. I have to take a moment to rave about travelling with a bike on a Dutch train – proper bike space, no hanging the bikes by their wheels and all very easy.

Rail route Lelystad to Assen
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Back in the saddle again 2022 days 0, 1 and 2 (18km, 59km and 40km) — August 9, 2022

Back in the saddle again 2022 days 0, 1 and 2 (18km, 59km and 40km)

Some striking houses on the outskirts of Lelystad


It looks as though I didn’t ever finish my blog about our 2019 trip. That’s a shame, as we had fun – cycled on from Lelystad to Zaandam and then returned to the UK via the usual ferry. I had no idea, of course, that we wouldn’t get away for a cycle tour again for three years due to Covid and family issues. It feels like longer, to be honest. It felt familiar and unfamiliar to be cycling from Newcastle out to North Shields to get the ferry to IJMuiden again – lots of the old landmarks but also brilliant sunshine, which isn’t traditional for us. Sitting outside in the ‘Sky Bar’ on the ferry while it headed out to the North Sea felt properly holiday-ish.

Heading out to the North Sea in brilliant sunshine
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2019 – Texel and random touring – Enkhuizen to Lelystad – Days 9 and 10 (35 and 10km) — September 7, 2019

2019 – Texel and random touring – Enkhuizen to Lelystad – Days 9 and 10 (35 and 10km)

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Checkpoint Charlie roadhouse is a welcome coffee stop

Over the Houtribdijk to Lelystad on another windy, but mercifully mainly dry, day. We cycled over this in the opposite direction in 2017 into a mad headwind the whole way. Mainly crosswind this time which was only a problem on the first section where the cycle path runs right beside the road, and every passing lorry gave us a big sideways gust with added sand. It took some time to shower it all out of my hair and face when we reached the hotel.

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2019 – Texel and random touring – Texel to Enkhuizen Days 6, 7 and 8 (21, 25 and 0km) —

2019 – Texel and random touring – Texel to Enkhuizen Days 6, 7 and 8 (21, 25 and 0km)

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Looking across to Enkhuizen from the museum ferry

We are really not putting in the distance this trip – and only partly by design.  We set off on day 7 to cycle to Enkhuizen, which should have been around 69km. The weather forecast didn’t look too good but we put our faith in goretex and neoprene. The cycle to the ferry was a slog into the wind most of the way, but the real fun started at Den Helder as the heavens opened.

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2019 – Texel and random touring – Days 4 and 5 (59 and 19 km) — September 2, 2019