Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Kromme-Rijn Route Oost

A mid-summer ride. Overcast but quite warm, another day in a European heat wave. I rode the train to Utrecht, then changed for Houten, just east. Then I realized it might be easier to access the route from Culemborg so continued another 10 minutes. From Culemborg station I headed north to the Lek river (the western continuation of the Nederrijn, itself an extension of the Rhine river). A barge-like ferry went across to the north bank, carrying a handful of helmeted cyclists. On the other side they all headed east, wind at their backs. I went west, under the railroad tracks toward Houten. This is a swampy area with lots of ducks in stagnant pools. The route follows a narrow road with views of the river, then branches off along a narrow track through swampy fields (to point 64). A horse-drawn cart clops up the trail, then a Sprinter train darts by behind me. It's the middle of nowhere (actually just outside Houten) and I like it.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Rondje Peel en Maas - Day 3

Helenavaart, outside Meijel, Limburg
Cooler and breezier today but still sunny and nice. Pleasant start of the route from 9 -> 96 through woods along the Helenavaart canal, here a tranquil brook, then over a wooden bridge and I'm back on the LF-13a. a promising entry to today's fietstocht.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Rondje Peel en Maas - Day 2

Breakfast at the Kessels: various slices of bread, appelstroop (a thick, viscous black jam made of apples), ham, weak coffee. I joined the son and daughter, who speaks impeccable New Zealand English. She had to get to Venlo, an hour's train ride north, to get to her ANWB gig. Tjeu was up too but took his coffee (and roll-up smoke) in the garden. Not a morning person I guess. The young couple told me they'd expect to see a lot of Germans up in Venlo today, who come to shop an an outlet mall there. "Sounds like New Jersey," I said.

I said goodbye without taking the customary photo of my host. It didn't feel right. Anyway Mia and Tjeu were great hosts, welcoming but kindly unobtrusive. Mia told me she's more of a walker than a cyclist, which seems typical. That generation of Dutch are great walkers.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Rondje Peel en Maas - Day 1

Now heading southeast, destination Roermond. A warm sunny day and in that part of Limburg province the forecast is for the high 70s -- real summer weather. Seems like a miracle when it first arrives. (May was generally wet and cold.)

This is my second trip to Limburg province; the first was one of my first extended fiets tours in Holland. That two-part trip took in the Maas river valley north of Venlo and the plateau east of Maastricht, this one is between those two and goes from Roermond to Weert, then loops back through a forested area called De Peel, then down along the Maas back to Roermond.