Well, we’re back! Our trip to the Netherlands was superb; mostly good weather, great people, interesting sites and amazing cycling. We did a lot of tenting at various campsites and had a few nights at some very nice B&Bs around the country. With the exception of the last three nights, typically we did 3-4 nights camping and then one a night in a B&B. Our route was similar to our pre-trip map but we didn’t make it to the North-East at all – next time! The distances are tiny but we didn’t want to stretch ourselves too far and we wanted to really experience places and people, not spend all our time on a bike seat!
Cycling infrastructure in the Netherlands is the best in the world. Often times, we would do a 50km ride and 47km would be on dedicated cycle paths. In the towns, roundabouts and traffic lights were specific to bicycles. We’re so far behind in Canada.
Overall, it was a great trip. I did learn a few things:
- Most bike shops in the Netherlands have an outdoor air hose; take every opportunity to use it.
- Don’t pass up an opportunity to use a toilet or fill a water-bottle.
- With the exception of the coast areas, the wind was never as bad as everyone warned us.
- The LF routes (national cycle routes or fietspads) are fantastic but circuitous; distance between two points was typically at least 50% greater than the same route via car. Take this into your calculations when ride planning!
- Camping is a great way to get around; lots of sites, most of them with excellent shower facilities.
- Pack light; our travel mantra but one which bears repeating.
- Have fun, laugh and realize that the worst situation we were in was about 1% of what some people suffer. This made the rainy rides and soggy camping a lot more tolerable!
I would highly recommend a cycling trip to the Netherlands. The cycling infrastructure is amazing and the scenery and people wonderful. I hope to have my movie made in the next few days and will post it when complete.
By the time you read this, we’ll be somewhere on a bike path en route to a seaside town named Noordvijk aan Zee. We’re going to stay in a B&B for the first night of our trip, just to get our bearings and have a chance to visit a grocery store and so on. Most other nights we’ll be camping; either in campsites, using the Paalkamperen sites or even trying ‘stealth camping’. I laughed when I first read about stealth camping. Unlike here, in the Netherlands, it is illegal to just camp in the wild. So a movement has developed where people find a quiet piece of forest or field and set up camp – stealth camping. One site I reviewed warned about the hazards of such camping which included badgers stealing food or being awoken before dawn by songbirds. Yikes!
The yellow line in the map below is the approximate border of the Netherlands. Coincidentally, I learned that it is actually incorrect to refer to this country as Holland as Holland (North and South) is a province in the Netherlands. It would be akin to calling the United Kingdom England I suppose. The orange line in the map is a very rough route of how our trip might pan out, counter-clockwise from Amsterdam. As we have no fixed plan, it will be interesting to see what really happens. My main goal is to enjoy the countryside, the people and the food of the Netherlands. I’d like to visit the Heineken Experience, some museums and tour some of the Liberation Route. We might try to visit the Kinderdijk area, Zaanse Schans and perhaps Palais Het Loo. Who knows! Stay tuned for updates.
Our pre-trip rough itinerary; we’ll see how the post-trip compares.
It’s been three weeks since our return from the Garden Isle – Kauai! We were there longer than the title of this post but like the movie of the same name, got to see as much of the island as Harrison Ford and Anne Heche. What a great trip! Normally, Josée and I like to get off the beaten path a bit but we found a great deal on VRBO for a small condo in the village of Kapa’a on the East Coast of Kauai. Hawaii wasn’t our first choice but Kauai ended up being a great place for a relaxing holiday. It is sparsely populated and the locals are very authentic; I’ve never seen so many ‘shakas’ in action!
Wonderful weather, tremendous hikes, decent snorkelling and nice people all combined for a trip which was both relaxing and exciting. I won’t bore you with all the details; just suffice it to say that Mark’s Place, Anahola Beach and Kipu Ranch, among many other places, restaurants, hikes and beaches are burned into our memories! If you’re planning a trip to Kauai, I highly recommend it – if you need information, just let me know!
If you’re not local, you may not have heard of the Filberg Festival. Held each August on the BC Day long weekend, it is a great time, full of interesting vendors, good food and some top quality music. My Mum is on the board of directors so I’ve had some insight into how Filberg is changing and modernizing some facets of the festival organization. It will be interesting to see the festival grow over the coming few years. For more info, check out Filberg Festival or watch the video re-cap below.