|Arrival in Enkhuizen|
Instead I chose a klassiek fietsrondje that is not too far from Amsterdam, the Rondom het Grootslag route. It starts off from the harbor of Enkhuizen, on the east end of a peninsula that juts into the IJsselmeer, across from Friesland. I'm getting a late start - sitting in Centraal Station waiting for the 1:38 to Enkhuizen. But it's a mere 37 km, which now seems manageable after last week's journey to Friesland, where I did five days straight of 50 km rides.
|Rondom het Grootslag-route (ANWB map)|
It didn't matter. The next train departed in half an hour. I seem to be one of the only persons on it.
|Herring, the national fish|
The first thing I noticed is that Enkhuizen is a terminal for ferries to Friesland. They go three times a day to Stavoren, I was told by a young woman at the VVV (tourist office).
I had a herring and headed out of town. Had some difficulty getting started. The fietspad goes west by Enkhuizen's marina, then continues to Broekerhaven, "since the 15th century the harbor for Bovenkarspel." But it appeared that the path to point 27 was closed, so I had to figure out an alternate way up to Bovenkarspel. This was quite boring, just a path along the main road into town, trucks and tractors, suburbia. I guess I went through the center of old Bovenkarspel but it was unremarkable. Now finally I enter the Streekbos, a recreation park reclaimed from old polder lands. I stop at a picnic table, chomp on a smoked mackerel sandwich, and a little dog trots up to me, his snout trembling, until the owner, a 60ish woman on a bicycle, comes to get him, commenting on the event in unintelligible Dutch. I nod and smile.
|Outside Zwaagdijk-Oost; note the entry bridges|
But this has been one of the less captivating - and at times more hazardous - fiets tours by ANWB. It's very busy up here. Every inch is cultivated or developed and the traffic is horrible. I keep waiting for the route to leave the road but, though the roads are narrow and old, they're still very much in use.
I am now taking the western edge of the route, from point 91 to 56. Then it appears I will turn back east along the northern coast.
|Seniors hit the fietspad|
Finally emerged from traffic hell, to some extent, up here along the Westfriese Omringdijk, which skirts the northern coast. It's a continuous panorama, with some nice views of the IJsselmeer, marinas to the left and town to the right. "Around 1320 the whole of West Friesland was protected behind a 126 km long surrounding dike. The golden age began with the opening up of the marsh area within the dike."
The IJsselmeer, by the way, is the largest lake in Western Europe.
It now seems that 37 km is no big thing. I feel perfectly relaxed about making it back to Enkhuizen, which means that any time I've got the urge, I can pull out one of these tours and make it in an afternoon.
|Panoramic ride along the Westfriese Omringdijk|
The fietspad continued along the top of the dike for many kilometers, always looking over the sea on the left and houses and road (here practically unused) on the right. The racing cyclists generally take the road; atop the dike I spotted maybe eight or nine riders the entire way. It is such a pleasure following that thread along the coast that it definitely redeems the noisy, hazardous first part. Now I'm coming into Enkhuizen and found a seat on the boulder embankment next to a little sand beach.
|IJsselmeer at dusk|
Had a superb dinner of bouillabaisse and a couple of Gulpeners at a gezellig (cozy) restaurant, called De Boei, on Enkhuizen's main canal. The waiter brought a big shallow bowl of the freshest cuts of fish and a couple of mussels, which tasted slightly sweet and had a sensual texture. Then he ladled a soulful fish broth over these morsels from a tureen. Muy sabroso.