Thursday, September 22, 2016

Guidebook Research XI: Twente

A few days in Amsterdam and now back on the road. Now in the town of Tubbergen, gateway to the Twente region, which Maarten from Nijmegen and Koen from Eindhoven insist is a great environment for cycling. Having dinner at a notably good value eetcafe, De Burgermeister. Also my Vrienden op de Fiets pad is outstanding: I've got a veritable apartment on the Bosweg, about 1.5km west of the center. So it appears Phase 3 is off to a good start.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Guidebook research X: Dwingelderveld National Park

In a reserve called Ter Horst Zand at the northeast corner of the Dwingeloosche Heide/Dwingelderveld National Park, western Drenthe province. I know I'm near the highway (A28) because I can hear the drone, though all I can see is clumps of heather and swamp. It's a typical late spring day, alternately warm and sunny, cloudy and windy. It's the last day of Phase 2 and I'm wrapping it up with a spin around the park, then ride to Hoogeveen and my train back home.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Guidebook Research IX: Westerbork

Kamp Westerbork as they saw it
So peaceful here at the southeast edge of Assen. Cloudy. Sitting by the trail to Anreep/Geelbroek/Hooghalen, I see it is moderately busy with cyclists, walkers and runners. I'm looking at a field of cut grass, a creek in front of me that splits to wrap around an isle of clay. The fragrance of many blossoms, distant birdsong.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Guidebook research VIII: Assen & Drentsche Aa National Park

Wonder boy of Assen
Rainy morning in Assen. As Wika Spoelstra, my 70ish vriend op de fiets is off to Sweden tomorrow, she made some calls to set me up with another friend of the cyclist, Anja, about 500m away. Not only did Wika phone my new hostess, she escorted me to Anja's place by bike. She also printed me out a route through Drentsche Aa National Park, east of town, but I think I'll follow the route in the ANWB cycling guide.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Guidebook research VII: the hunebedden

Hunebed D17 at Rolde

Today it's all about hunebedden, 52 of which stand in Drenthe (two more in Groningen). They are the remains of 5000-year-old dolmens, or burial tombs. At the Hunebed Center, a museum dedicated to the ancient monuments, I learned that they were built at the dawn of the Neolithic era and first excavated in the 19th century. It is believed that the granite boulders used for these dolmens arrived with the glaciers from Scandinavia during the Ice Age.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Guidebook research VI: Into Drenthe

Southeast Groningen
Bourtange was a tour-bus attraction, so a different experience. It's a reconstructed fort dating from the 1500s in the extreme southeast of Groningen province, with a handful of little museums. Nothing earthshattering but the film in the museum called Terra Mora is pretty good, plus photos of local wildlife and the chance to shoot cannonballs at your friends. There is also a reconstructed synagogue (dating from 1842) and the docent Gerrie is endlessly effusive, telling me all about how the rabbi comes over from Amersfoort to conduct services on Hanukah and Passover, and about how someone came and blew the shofar on Rosh Hashana. But clearly what most people enjoy is sitting on the plein in the sunshine. I had a dull salad at the cafe. It was nice to walk on the ramparts under the trees while the mostly elderly tourists took the cobblestone road below. After lunch I rode toward Vlagtwedde. The knooppunten direct you off the road along a nice country lane and I came across a tiny Jewish cemetery.