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Thursday, August 3, 2017

Spaarnwoude breakdown




When I can't decide where to go, I may head for a town that takes no longer than an hour to get to by train from Amsterdam -- Utrecht, Haarlem, Den Haag, Alkmaar, Den Bosch, Hilversum, etc. From there I just strike off in whatever direction seems most interesting and ride for as long as I feel like it. Since every town in the Netherlands is surrounded by pretty countryside laced with bicycle paths, all connected by well-signed fietspad routes, this strategy is entirely viable. If I don't feel like paying the €6 fee to put my bike on the train I can just rent an OV-Fiets at the station of each town.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

North Sea coast -> Amsterdam

LF-1 south of Castricum
Carefree couples stroll the beach. A speckled brown gull hopes for a scrap of my sandwich, warding off other beggars, occasionally letting out a screech. Today it's cool, breezy. A distinct change of seasons mood. This is Wijk aan Zee.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Twente 3.4: Winterswijk West



Now a restful moment on the way to kp 48. This route, west of Aalten, skirts the Boven Slinge for quite a ways, almost to the outskirts of Doetinchem. The Boven Slinge is a narrow canal with green banks, flanked by trees with a sand & pebble sliver of a trail alongside. Quite still and peaceful, just a distant barking. I'm glad that it goes on like this for miles, practically no people on this pristine path on a Tuesday afternoon. I've got nowhere to be this evening so may take my time. Anyway, I'm likely to arrive in Doetinchem in de spits (during rush hour), so won't be able to put my bike on the train.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Twente 3.3: Enschede


Enschede


Change of plans: an extra day in Enschede. Good move as it's raining and Enschede is an interesting place: the capital of the republic of Twente. People are noticeably friendlier here. They seem to enjoy themselves.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Twente 3.2



Breakfast included at least three varieties of hagelslag (yes, grown-up Dutch people eat chocolate sprinkles to start the day) plus locally picked tiny raspberries. The day is "good for cycling," as Jan Knol described it: a slight breeze pushing the cool cloud cover which periodically parts to allow the passage of the sun's bright rays. There may be a bit of rain.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Twente 3.1


Let's go ... back to Almelo.

This fietstocht picks up where the last one left off--cut short due to storms. I would like to see more of the fabled Twente region, which comprises central eastern Netherlands bordering Germany. Today I'll travel to Denekamp, in northeastern Twente, right by the German town of Nordhorn, mostly via the Almelo-Nordhorn canal. Built in the 19th century it turned out unfortunately to be a 'mistake,' since by the time they were done (1904), the freighters were too big to use it. They gave up on it in 1960. I know I traversed this canal on a previous journey, thinking it would be fun to follow it. Now I'll do that.

From Denekamp I'll head south to Twente's main city, Enschede, a university town. This should give me a good overview of the area that Martin, my vriend op de fiets in Nijmegen last year, enthusiastically described as a "great garden." Today, Thursday, is overcast but it is due to clear up and warm up over the weekend. I have nothing else to do. It is mid-summer in Holland and I have a bicycle. 

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Special US edition: Buffalo, NY



General mills
Independence Day here in Buffalo is sleepier than I thought. It's very warm. I find myself in the middle of Deleware Park. I'll be here for another 12 days. Since there's nothing to do, I'll ride my brother's bicycle around. He's got a Marin San Rafael. Not the most comfortable ride but it has good suspension. I was cycling the track around the park, which is also a road, until it occurred to me: I was going the wrong way. All traffic--even pedestrians it seemed--moved in a counterclockwise direction. The place seems dull with its golf course, broad parched lawns and zoo that has a few sleepy buffalos. Some of the trees are nice: sycamores, elms, maples.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Twente Two

Zwolle
On my way to Zwolle. Rain is forecast but I'm itching for another fietstocht. I'm heading for the forests of Twente. I went there exactly one year ago on the third phase of guidebook research. I also cycled the initial stretch -- Zwolle-Dalfsen -- a few years ago but didn't see any of it as it was quite late and I was in a hurry to get to my vriend op de fiets. This time I'll take the LF-16 east along the Overijsselische Vecht as far as Ommen, which is the ominous start point for the Rondje Twente, a three-day jaunt through the eastern region.

I'm leaving it open-ended. Vrienden op de Fiets booked for tonight in Ommen, Monday in Enschede. Like last year it seems difficult to book a friend in between at Ootmarsum or Tubbergen.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Return to Drenthe IV - Reestdal route

Reest stop

kp 4 -> 2 -> 1 -> 85 -> 86
Today is very warm and I would like to do a brief fietstocht to the southeast of Meppel, De Reestdalroute--or just a piece of it, then relax at the Engelgaarde lake, then catch the train home from Meppel. That's the plan.

So far it hasn't been so thrilling though it's nice enough just to pedal in the sunshine. As the name suggests, the route follows the meanders of the Reest along the border between the provinces of Drenthe and Overijssel. The Reest is, along with the Drentsche-Aa, the only 'original' river in Drenthe, in the sense of being naturally formed. But I've hardly seen the river except crossing over it. I have seen plenty of highways and suburban estates, with plenty of dull-ass traffic. Still, the trail generally follows paths shaded by tall trees which keep me cool in the approaching Austinite heat (up to 80F today!).