|The landscape west of Leeuwarden|
I am now in Friesland. Typically, it only takes about two hours to get here from Amsterdam. I checked the NS website and found the easiest way to get to Leeuwarden, capital of the province and starting point of my bike journey, was to go to Utrecht and connect with a northbound train. "That isn't logical," said Max Huwae, after suggesting I leave from Duivendrecht, which is two stops from Bijlmer Arena.
|"11 Cities Route" - Day 1 (ANWB map)|
"I can't use coins, can I?" I asked.
"Don't worry, I have paid for you," he responded, apparently not understanding my question. After I came out, he was still there and gave his frank opinion of the cel phone/toilet system: "It sucks," he said, grinning.
Outside the station I was hit up for change by a fairly comfortable looking middle-aged man on a bike. I showed him my change purse and he asked for 2 euros which for some reason I gave him. Then another fellow asked me for a light for his self-rolled cigarette.
I had some difficulty getting out of Leeuwarden. As in other towns, I found the signage rather weak here and I rode around for a while trying to find a sign pointing me west out of town to knooppunt 77. Wandering a suburban subdivision, I got directions from a nice old fellow on a bike who asked me what I was doing. "Touring Friesland," I told him. "Cycling is the way to go!" he responded.
|The way to Boksum: over a bridge and through the fields|
|Geeske, who helped me fix a flat tire in Dearsum|
Evening. I'm ensconced in a great house on the east side of Sneek (near the Sneekermeer). I'm about to go out to find some food and experience a bit of Sneek Week activity. (The week-long festival revolves around a series of sailing races on the many lakes of southern Friesland.) I wandered amidst the partying throngs and this thought occurred to me: I once thought, while I was in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, that no one could play cheesier music than the Mexicans. But the fact is that what I witnessed on several stages in Sneek was somehow even more banal: that oompah thumping disco so popular among Euro trash. These Dutch groups are content to do the hokey pokey and the decked-out crowds just love it.