Trip 3 (2011) – Beginning This Spring!

Thursday 13 May 2010

Thanks for visiting us!!

As we plan our next trip, so too will the plan for our site be updated. Be patient, as we hope to make it worth the wait!

See You on the Road………..Soon!

We’re Here!

Saturday 7 May 2011

We Made it to Amsterdam, yesterday, I think!  Yes, it was yesterday morning; what is it about Amsterdam that makes the mind foggy?  In reality, can’t blame it on the city, yet……..maybe it was the overnight flight!

In true Netherland fashion, we bicycled directly from the airport to our hotel in Centre City Amsterdam.  Though our brains are a bit jet-lagged, we were able to snap a “guess where we are” photo.

as well as a “guess where we’ll be” photo

We will have more for you later.

Amsterdam, Netherlands – Wednesday May 18

Wednesday 18 May 2011

So what does one do in a city with 400,000 bikes?  Apparently Walk ……. for SIX straight hours!

Does this guy look like a tourist or what……….camera and all?

Sure Amsterdam has 37 museums,tall blondes (male and female) everywhere, lots of smokers, lots of bars, what seems like more canals than streets, but what is really amazing are all the bikes.

The respect for the bikes is amazing; a separate bike lane, even a separate light at crosswalks for walkers, bikes and cars. Rush hour takes on a whole new meaning with the pedalers on the street.  When the street light changes you look for bikes, cars and trolleys all poised to run you over.

The bicyclers, however, are the most intimidating; they’re quite, riding fast and talking on the cell phones. So sorry Robyn, no photos of museums, just bicycles, bicycles and more bicycles.

Notice the parking is for bikes (and mopeds), not cars, maybe not such a bad idea?

We did manage to see a bit more than bikes.

Miles of street market offering every kind of (legal) item you could ever want to purchase (and a lot you would never consider buying),

fruits and flowers

and lots of nuts!

Tomorrow we’ll see if we can get another picture or two that does not include a bicycle.

Amsterdam Walking Tour – Thursday May 19

Thursday 19 May 2011

Amsterdam is a fascinating, energetic and diverse city.   There are people everywhere

and you will find every type of hairdo on every shape and size wearing every fashion imaginable.  If you can dream it, you can probably find it walking the streets or in the gazillion stores in the center of the city.

Walking is easy and scenic

but your head will spin with the different characters to see,

from top to bottom.

There are beautiful parks around the city with miles of walking and biking trails,

beautiful architecture and incredible museums.

Though we walked by at least half the city’s famous museums, I was only allowed one to go in, so we went to The Van Gogh Museum.  If you are at all a museum fan, Amsterdam should be on the top of your list; experiencing the original works of art and learning a bit about the artists will leave you breathless and at the very least, speechless (so the museum trip was worth it for Jerry, too).

But we’ve played tourist for much longer than I thought possible, so tomorrow we Ride.

Hope to see you on the road.

Day 1, Friday, May 20 – Amsterdam to Dijk Bij Duurstede

Saturday 21 May 2011

It was a glorious morning.

The past two overcast days broke to a crisp, cool breeze and warm sunshine that made the 50 degree temperature very comfortable.  We didn’t get started until 9:30 as our breakfast companions had just arrived from Australia.  We compared notes on our planned trips down the River Rhine and then on to Budapest; of course they were going via cruise.

Biking, versus walking, gives you an entire different perspective on the town and a special appreciation for the ease in which the locals maneuver their bikes; poetry on wheels.  We managed to struggle through the intersections without getting run over or yelled at and find the safe bike paths.

We had not run into a language barrier until we started trying to read maps and street signs, we are sure we lost a lot in translation.  One gentleman even came out of his apartment to chat (and help with directions).  Hank had biked the United States coast to coast when he was 66; he still rides everyday at 80.

Once out of the city we biked a delightful bike trail along the Amsterdam canal. very similar to biking the C & O Canal outside of Washington DC, except this was paved.

and the cruise boat and barge traffic was substantial. The Amsterdam canal is one of the main thoroughfares that connect the commerce of the River Rhine and the North Sea.

By lunch time we’d only done 30 miles, somehow lost the canal but reached the town of Utrecht and almost the end of our navigational skills for the day.  But after some nourishment, caffeine, sugar and questions to a lot of different people, we were encouraged to press further.

We continued through the city to the River Lek.  This bike path took us through beautiful farms, green from the spring rains and filled with horses, cows and sheep.

We stopped at every road to make sure we were heading in the right direction.  It became frustrating that a runner kept passing us.  Jerry finally biked up beside him and they chatted for miles, think we succeeded in slowing him down a bit.

He did mention a town we MUST stay in, so we had a goal.  By 5 pm we reached the enchanting town of Dijk Bij Duurstede.  Like going back in time, which is very romantic if you have a hotel reservation; not so happy when you’ve biked almost 50 miles for the first time in two years.  Luckily, we found a room in the ONLY hotel in town.  A hot shower, deliciouso bowl of pasta and a stroll through the town center to watch the sun kiss the roof edge (at 9:30 pm)

then off to bed.

Day 2, Saturday, May 21 – Dijk Bij Duurstede to Nijmegen

Saturday 21 May 2011

Our lovely hotel, De Oude Lantaarn,  served breakfast at 8 am, so we stuck around; and SO glad we did.  A typical and bountiful Netherland breakfast of many fresh breads, homemade jams, meats, cheeses, granola, fresh yogurt and cream, not to mention some seriously good coffee awaited us.

After breakfast, we walked around town, even sat on the hotel rooftop trying to find a good internet signal to post the blog, but when the church tower rang 10 am, Jerry said we had to go.

So we pedaled down brick-paved roads past the bakery, butcher shop and windmill to the bike path along Amsterdam canal.

Almost the entire ride today was on a nicely paved road that was lined for one car and generous bike lanes on either side.  Though there were a few cars from time to time, it was filled with bikes of all kinds enjoying the weekend’s beautiful weather.

The path was along the top of the dike, so we were afforded delightful views of the little towns with tidy homes and perfect yards

and beautiful churches.

At two o’clock we took a break to make a plan for the rest of the day.  With a 24 oz beer down the hatch,

we decided to take the small trek across the bridge, find a place to stay and enjoy the oldest city in the Netherlands, Nijmegen.

As we checked into Hotel Courage, directly on the River Waal, we learned of the historic bicycle museum that adjoined our hotel.  Though quite small, it had dozens of bikes dating as back as far to the early 1800’s, looks pretty comfy, hmm?

After our quick history lesson, we strolled the waterfront enjoying the constant traffic on the river and the sites and foods from the riverside restaurants.

We enjoyed a couple delicously fresh dinners at La Pasta and some very entertaining conversation with the owner, Mike.  We are still trying to get used to the sun being high in the sky at 9 pm; so we slowly strolled back to the hotel and called it a night.

Day 3, Sunday, May 22 – Nijmegen, Netherlands to Wesel, Germany

Sunday 22 May 2011

We awoke to the sound of a lovely Sunday morning rain, perfect time to roll over and sleep in…..wait a minute, this sounds like a line out of Kurt’s book of “why I’m late”, excuses.
The smell of coffee finally pulled us from our cozy bed, so we stumbled downstairs for another hearty breakfast, complete with Brotchen (THE most wonderful breakfast roll).

It would have been a lovely town to spend the morning, but with our short ride yesterday, we were both ready to ride.

Once again, as the church bell tolled 10 am, we rode out of town during a break in the showers.

Actually, the break in showers turned into a beautiful day.  In a word, a Magnificent morning ride.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We were not the only ones enjoying a Sunday morning ride.

With the bike path like this, you can’t but help wanting to ride, everyday.  At some point during all the beautiful countryside, we unceremoniously crossed the German border, though we cannot tell you exactly where.

A shout goes out to Klaas, whom we met last evening and blew by us today on his 100 kilometer ride (sorry we couldn’t join you).

A side note from yesterday, and probably again during our travels:  we are actually traveling UP the River Rhine.  Which gives us a certain amount of satisfaction when we pass the river barges as they struggle UP river.  So if we again mention, down the river, we have not changed directions (yet) just a mistake!

I was informed today, however, if we don’t do 50 miles a day, we’ll not make it to Istanbul this year.  So either we’re not making it to Istanbul, or we’re not making it home this year.

We crossed the longest bridge in Germany (3/4 mile)

into Emmerich am Rhine, the most destroyed (bombed) German city during World War II.  The town seems to have recovered beautifully as we biked over brick paved roads and past beautiful old churches on our way out of town down along a dedicated bike path.

After about an hour with the wind at our back and feeling good, we decided to go the more scenic route.  So we took a turn into the town of Rees.

Though there was a huge street party, we managed to get out of town unscathed.  Probably should have stayed for the party as we somehow strayed way off course.  It was satisfying though, that the sport car road rally followed us down our wayward road.  As the road turned to dirt, everyone realized a backtrack was necessary.

Back on track, we still had another 15 miles to town.   Though the wind had gotten very gusty and the sky threatened rain,

the day was still fabulous.

By 5:00 we made our destination town, Wesel,  a quick beer

and a hotel by 6:00.  We had talked about having a traditional German dinner and didn’t have to walk far.  The first restaurant we came to,

Galland Restaurant was all German food, all German menu, all German waiters and no English spoken, except us.  We managed to order the two things we almost recognized and were not disappointed.  The restaurant treated us to an after dinner aperitif to put a perfect finish on a perfect meal and day!