In the previous post I had finished up with, I was meeting Josh again to watch the football and see Amsterdam.
I think most touring cyclists are not great fans of cities, that not to say all, but most. Cities can be stressful to stay in, will someone pinch my bike, will I lose
my documents etc. Therefore most of the time I avoid them. I didnt go to Dar es Salam in Tanzania for this very reason.
Amsterdam on the other hand is somewhere I wanted to see, obviously I have heard a lot about it and some of my friends had been there.
I had prebooked a camping spot. So just needed to ride to the campsite, the first part of the ride as previously mentioned was lovely, along canals, watching boats etc.
Coming into the city it got busy. I crossed fantastic looking canals. With tourists being shown around by boat.
Campsite was easy to check in. Well run. When I got to the area to pitch. It looked like Glastonbury. So many tents. So many young people here mostly to try the legalised drugs.
Over the campsite hung an overlaying odour of hash. Nice if you like this sort of thing. I don’t.
Josh and I ventured into town in the evening after we’d done everything we could think of to secure the bikes, which included a lock, a clothes line loaded with drying cycling gear tied to my tent from my bike, which was behind Josh’s. we removed Josh’s front wheel and hid it in his tent.
To get into town we took a bus and the metro. Costing 3.10 Euros for the return journeys. Although we got the bus wrong coming back and had to walk a couple of miles. Had nothing to do with the beer…honest!!
In town we got food. Frites are a speciality, mine with curry sauce, mayo extra salt and raw onion. They took a long time to come but did hit the spot after a days cycling.
Onto find a pub to watch the champions league final, Man City vs Inter Milan.
First pub was an Irish themed pub with tourist prices. 8 euro a pint, far too busy and nowhere to sit. We had one drink and quickly moved on. Found another bar with hardly anyone in it. It had an interesting view outside. Windows with scantily clad women, which tended to be surrounded by overweight male tourists.
After the game we were caught up in what seemed like a procession going anti clockwise past all these windows. There were signs saying no photos. Yet some people were taking them, only for one woman to come out and spray him with water.
Next day I wanted to leave. it isn’t my sort of place. I cycled just over 30 miles and found a quiet campsite. Riding out of Amsterdam was spectacular. So many pretty canals and houses right next to them.
The owner of the campsite even gave me a beer and brought me a comfortable chair after I’d set up.
Next day I needed to cross the main dike that holds back the sea. The asfluitdijk, a highlight pointed out by Renas. However the dike was closed to tourists. It’s almost 18.5 miles. The Dutch have put on a free bus service especially for bikes with a modified bus.
I pleasantly cycled through farm land. The wind seemed to have changed (turns out only temporarily). And the landscape was changing. More grassland and dairy farms.
I had contacted a warmshowers host, short notice. Juuk Slager just south of leeuwarden. Juuk has done many tours. On bicycles in cars etc. and had lots of stories. We spoke about all sorts. One of the issues facing the Netherlands is too much electricity being generated by solar and wind on quiet days. Juuk was a planner for the local area and was keen they converted the energy to hydrogen. His argument was compelling.
On the way to Juuk’s. I had stopped by a church to eat some food I had been bought. A lady leaving the church told me they were serving coffee inside. She took me in and introduced me. I was given a coffee and biscuit. As soon as the coffee was gone it was filled up again. The church I asked, how old. I was told 100 years. But it was rebuilt on the site of an old church, built by the community. Congregations are dwindling though. I didn’t take any photos inside the church. There was a sign saying no mobiles on the way. Probably meant for during service. I didn’t want to appear disrespectful.
On my way heading east, I passed through Groningen another city and now I’ve entered Germany, on the way to Bremen.