Sunday, July 6, 2014

Rondje Groene Hart - Day 3

By the time we awoke, the other residents of Sumatrastraat 65 in east Dordrecht had left and we had the run of the place. We had our hard kaiser rolls and brown rolls, eggs, cheese, etc. I decided we would take a ferry to Kinderdijk, then ride on to Gouda (21 km), thus limiting the actual riding time. Dordrecht had several ferry docks, with service to the nearby towns of Zwijndrecht, Ridderkerk and Rotterdam. We easily found the one going up the Noord River to Alblasserdam/Ridderkerk (paying with our NS chip cards). It was a busy shipping lane which we shared with various cargo boats and passed shipyards and hangars. We met a strange young woman in a nurse's uniform with a horsey face. She told me impatiently that she wanted to visit New York some day. I told her to take lots of cash. I asked her what she did for a living and she asked, rather crossly, "What do you think? Look at me."

Future painting
(original date of this entry: June 7, 2014)
At Ridderkerk we crossed the platform to find a smaller boat to Kinderdijk. Alice was upset that she'd missed an opportunity to take pictures of some old ships at a nearby dock. She mentioned this to the skipper, a friendly man with a white beard, and he offered to steer the boat past it so she could take pictures, which presumably she will use as a basis for paintings.

It took no more than 10 minutes to reach the village of Kinderdijk. We rode out along the dike to find the fabled windmills, 15 or 20 of them in a row, standing along the curved strip of earth, now bursting with dandelions and red poppies. Geese and coots floated along the narrow canals strewn with lily pads, and flocks of Chinese tourists filed down the dike, cameras snapping away, though we knew it was but a fraction of the hordes that would head this way in mid-summer. It was overcast, so we were not seeing the molens in their best light but quite lovely and tranquil. Alice, who hails from nearby Rotterdam, had never been there. There was some kind of a museum in a windmill across a bridge but we didn't see it. The windmills, some of which still function, are testament to a former wheat-grinding industry here.

We returned to the dock and got another ferry across the Lek to the town of Krimpen aan de Lek (there's another Krimpen on the IJssel), then cycled up the LF-2, which here joins the N477 motorway. We ended up in Oudekerk aan de IJssel, thus missing the prescribed detour through the Loetboes, but I figured if we could find the IJssel, which abutted the town to the north, then we could head east along the river and follow it all the way to Gouda.

Rondje Groene Hart - Day 3

Approaching Gouda
We reached the river, here quite broad and grand, and turned right. At point 12, we could've followed the LF-2, which runs parallel to the river through farm fields, but instead kept along the river road. The auto traffic flowed along it continuously but the views of the IJssel under the now sunny skies justified riding with the cars, and as Alice said, "We've seen plenty of farm fields, let's do something different now." And anyway, the cycle lanes were plenty wide enough and it was a thrill to swiftly follow the road's curves and admire the ships rolling down the river to a cool breeze. So Tuesday was turning out much better than Monday, and we both found we were aching less.

Windmill of her mind
Past IJsselaan the route cuts inland (to point 14), then continues along the Lek's south bank until Moordrecht. We could've proceeded along into Gouda but I wanted to see how many ferries I could take so we descended to the dock at point 16 and hopped on a basic diesel-spewing barge to traverse the river which took a minute. The boatman stayed in his booth and signaled us to pay him €1 each. Moordrecht seemed old and quaint but we pedaled on toward Gouda, where we envisioned having beer at a cafe. This route afforded no river views. Now it was clouding over. We went over a bridge and entered Gouda. Then it started sprinkling. Rather than seek out a cafe we made for the station. Almost as soon as we reached the train platform the clouds burst and it was pouring all around us. Another case of brilliant timing to conclude an excellent fietstocht!

Lek before the storm

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