|Breakfast at the Vuijks'|
|Ferry cross the Linge|
We continued west along the Linge till we reached Spijk, where a muscular man of about 35 conveyed us across the waterway on a raft by pulling a cable (cost: €1 each). Nice little cafe on the other side run by the raftsman and his woman.
At Arkel we took the highway down to pt 39, then jogged over to a canal lined with houseboats, which we followed down into Gorinchem.
|Gorinchem's street market|
|Rondje Groene Hart - Day 2|
Gorinchem sits on the Merwede River and a big ferry carries passengers and their bikes to two points on the south bank: Sleeuwijk and Woudrichem. Each of the three ferry ports is in a different province: Gorinchem in Zuid-Holland, Sleeuwijk in Noord-Brabant and Woudrichem in Gelderland. We went to the last one. On the way across, Alice and I discussed the possibility of setting up fiets tours of the sort we were doing, though there are inherent perils in such a plan. What do you do if the weather's lousy or someone has an accident?
|Chatting up the locals at Woudrichem|
|Entry to Biesbosch Nat'l Park|
|Taking the bell home|
We were greeted by our host, Arie Besseling, a serious man of around 65 with a bald head fringed by white hair. He took our bikes to the back, then led us up a narrow flight of stairs to a lounge where he interrogated us about what we wanted for breakfast the next morning. We were both exhausted and found his interview rather ridiculous, mostly because of the serious, officious way he made the inquiries. We had to fill out a form indicating which kinds of bread we wanted, whether we wanted our eggs hard or soft-boiled, cheese and/or ham, and so on.
Our room was a small cozy dormer with a pair of single beds at right angles. Apparently all six beds were occupied that evening, the others by hikers and cyclists, all women, visiting Dordrecht for some kind of summit. We met a couple of them, carefree, fit women about our age. I tried to get Alice to go look for dinner with me in central Dordrecht--"about a 10-minute walk"--but after showering all she wanted to do was collapse in bed. So I went out alone.
There was one crummy looking Egyptian showarma joint around the corner and I headed downtown. Nearby was a large beautiful park, the Merwestein. Then I walked down quiet tree-lined streets to the center of town (more like 20 minutes). On the main square were the usual assortment of eetcafes and Turkish joints. I chose one of the latter with a few tables facing the square (chairs chained to the table) and had a quite decent felafel sandwich with baked eggplant. Continued ...