Planned unplanned

We cycle the Mittelland Canal always to the west to the Weser lock, then the Weser upstream with destination Bielefeld.

The former industrial sewing machine manufacturer dominates the cityscape.

We do not reach the targeted campsite. A few kilometers before arrival, such a heavy rain comes down so that we barely manage to book a room by mobile phone. Princely we spend the night in Bielefeld’s fancy youth hostel. Princely we eat in the fancy ‘1001 Nights’, just around the corner.

In the morning we continue towards Holland. The first 50 kilometers we have prominent accompaniment. Cousin Micha from ProTour Team Alpecin/Fenix rides with us.

In Udo Lindenberg’s birthplace Gronau we shop for dinner. ‘All the best and take care of yourself’, an older couple calls us afterwards. They cannot believe that you transport your entire household on a bicycle. After 135 kilometers we actually land on a wonderful Dutch campsite with a place on the lake.

Continue towards Rotterdam: with shorts at the sea – second attempt!

Instead of a campground, we end up in a recreatie park, a few kilometers behind Apeldoorn. After unsuccessful online booking, we are at a loss at the closed reception. A friendly, travel bike enthusiastic camper offers us to set up our tent on his place. We get his shower brand for free. Super! We experience how the Dutch enjoy holiday in their own country. So far we thought that they mostly travel to other European countries.

The next day we go through royal avenues to Gouda.

Here you will find the real Gouda farmer’s cheese.

On the beautiful farm camping we are warmly welcomed. The Wi-Fi does not ask us for the password. Ah, we were here two years ago. Right next door the cows which go noisily into the mobile milking machine in the evening and … also in the morning at 4 o’clock.

Already freshly showered

We are heading for Rotterdam. The weather is still perfect. We cycle through the Krimpenerwaard, the best kept secret of the Netherlands, according to the brochure 🙂

Then through the middle of Rotterdam, the big city with the imposing station building.

Rotterdam
Out into the big wide world

the skyscrapers and the small canals and of course the Rhine and all its tributaries.

Childhoods dreams: Soft ice cream with pearls, just before we cross to Zeeland.
Done, in Zeeland in shorts at the sea, balmy 23o celsius in the evening.

The next day we continue through Zeeland. Still a bit of dunes, sea, sea buckthorn and dikes. And we see flamingos. Flamingos in Holland ? We thought they more likely live in North Africa.

For this photo a truck driver stopped on the road and let me over 🙂

That was Holland: windmills, 1000 canals, animals with short legs, cheese, Rudi Carell or one of his doubles and … no masked ball! See you soon again !

We set course for Antwerp. We have two addresses and check the city camping. After crossing the Belgian border, the idyll is over. The whole of Belgium seems to be industry, built-up, huppelige bike paths, incredible traffic. We do not want to stay here. We whistle on Antwerp, ask the internet and decide in the late afternoon with almost 100 kilometers in our legs for another 50 kilometers.

The weather is good for us, the wind blows from behind.

Camping Houtum, a paradise at Kastellee ‘A stay to remember regardless if you spend a day, a week or a year’. This is not an exaggeration. This campsite is in the top 10 with us.

Maastricht, we drink caf̩ at the Cofeelovers, we eat at the Lumi̩re Рhotspot in town Рand drink a last beer in the Brandweer-Cantine.

After eating you can go to the cinema.
Céramique district

And tomorrow we will take the train home via Aachen.

Petra (and Jörg) met in Aachen

Three weeks of best summer weather, 1900 kilometers mostly on developed bike paths, planned unplanned,

  • one night in four walls due to bad weather,
  • an evening on which we were not able brush our teeth due to exhaustion,
  • two days where at the end we did not know where to stay,
  • an evening when we thought we had to go hungry into the tent, and
  • an extraordinary campsite that goes into our list of favorites.

We are happy about the spontaneous, cordial encounters in Western Europe.

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