Saturday, March 28, 2015

Returning Antwerp-Amsterdam

54  55 

It feels good to sit here on this foggy morning and see the blurred outlines of the river and opposite bank. From over on the left, the riverside park where I stopped on my way into town, I hear congas, the distant drone of traffic and little else. This looks like a good well-maintained trail with a freshly painted white line down the middle.


A day in Antwerp. Had breakfast with Marleen, chatted about Vrienden op de Fiets, Flemish, families, etc. She is off to the Belgian coast. She's taking a folding bike. She says that a tram runs along the coast. I could go to Ghent tomorrow but the wind is blowing toward east and rain is predicted. Is this the end of my journey? It's been a week.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Amsterdam -> Antwerp V

Bike path, Belgian style


On the way to Putte... After a fruitless attempt to locate the fiets network from the center of Kalmthout, I just got on the N111 west and put on my headphones. There is a bike path along the highway, the signature thin red strip of northern Belgium. After a while I found a knooppunt marker, and now I'm going through the woods toward Puttte, which is to say, back to the Netherlands.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Amsterdam - Antwerp IV

Mastbos, Breda
I stopped in Breda for a day, mainly to get my bike repaired. Something wrong with the brake and it periodically made a dreadful squeaking noise. I had the repair done at a friendly long-standing shop, De Klein Fietsen. The charge was reasonable: €17.50. I also looked at some second-hand bikes there but was not wowed by the Montego or Gazelle that I tried. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Amsterdam - Antwerp III

Breakfast in Gorinchem, a place that no one's heard of, yet it is an attractive historic and utterly typical Dutch town. From my bedroom on the second floor I could see hundreds of children heading to school on their bikes in large convoys--an unimaginable sight almost anywhere else. The town is on the Merwede River. My accommodation is by the highway, northwest of the old center. My hosts are Alyona and Yanni, the women who are members of a sort of group house or group apartment building, which consists of 11 dwellings, some with families, others with single people. They have a meal together once a week. Alyona explained: "Many people are lonely, they don't even know their neighbors." That is true.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Amsterdam -> Antwerp II

The next day, back yet again on the Amsterdam Rijnkanaal, now south of Utrecht. Last time I made this journey I stuck to the LF-7, which veers away from the canal and goes through the town of Nieuwegein, before arriving at the Lek River. This time I'll stick to the canal, or actually a branch of it, the Lekkanaal which feeds into the Lek, then follow the river's north bank to the ferry to Vianen, then proceed down the LF.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Amsterdam -> Antwerp I

So it's back to living like a hobo. Which I can do since the weather is still nice. I found an old piece of wood to sit on--perhaps the abandoned hull of a boat--by the Vecht between Maarsen and Utrecht. Many people out cruising down the river. This is quite near the Maarsen Plassen which I passed earlier this summer on my way back to Amsterdam. Tonight I'll stay in Utrecht, though it's just a half an hour train ride from home. But it gives me a different perspective, the traveler's view. And anyway I want to travel from Amsterdam to Antwerp by bike, without the aid of motorized transport, and Utrecht, about 40km from Amsterdam, seemed a suitable stopover.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Nieuwkoopse Plassen

Another ride around Utrecht province, north of Woerden, where there is a profusion of lakes, the Nieuwkoopse Plassen. In Woerden I rented a bike, which is kind of a clunker, a Liberta (€8, shop closes at 10 pm). I rode through town, then up a road toward kp 67; the trail was plied by many young blond people. The day is perfect.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Utrecht -> Amsterdam Lakeways

A warm humid Thursday, kind of cloudy but might clear up. On the train to Utrecht Centraal. My plan is simply to ride back to Amsterdam via the Loosdrechtsche Plassen (lakes east of Breukelen), then along the Amsterdam Rijnkanaal, a distance of about 35 km.