Friday, 21 June 2013

Noordwijk to Ijmuiden, Ferry to Tynemouth, cycle to Newcastle , train to Penrith and Home.

Mileage:- 28 miles in Holland, 11 to Newcastle station and 10 from Penrith home.
Total mileage:- 994 Miles ( there will be more for the total from door to door.)
No hotel - our own bed!!!

A gentle ride up to the ferry, the North Sea Route cycle path is great, well away from everything, gently undulating, and surprisingly busy. We passed a large area where there were thousands of birds, lots of ducks and some highland cattle?

We arrived at the ferry in plenty of time and when we were eventually let on enjoyed a shower and an evening meal before we returned to  the joy of a spacious cabin for 4 people. 4 people who had a very small amount of clothing for a month of strenuous activity, all in a very confined space. But as no one else commented, so we can't have been too bad.
Off the ferry and straight onto the cycle path to the Newcastle Quays. It is really well signed and continues to improve. It is a great way to enter the city, along the river all the bridges and the Sage and Baltic all come into view. In our honour they were cleaning the windows on the Sage.
Onward and to the station, tickets for Carlisle for John & Jenny and Penrith for us. 
I intend to sort the photos out and put them on here, and take some time to think about the trip, trying to remember all that we have done and seen.

Here I am, same place as a month ago, but, the bike is pointing home this time.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Maassluis to The Hook of Holland to Noordwijk. To the end, then turn north, keep sea on left.

Mileage:- 38 miles.
Total mileage:- 945 miles.
Hotel:- Hotel Belvedere. 
Can we find a hotel that can match the very welcome Free Beer we had last night? John P has booked ahead at Noordwijk. 
This is the last day on the Rhine Route. We had an early start, for us, but it did us no good as we went back to where we finished and came off the route yesterday, only to realise we had to go back into town to cross a bridge. Eventually, on the right path we headed off on the final few kilometres. John P had kept a clean shirt for the occasion.
It was a little misty as we rode along an excellent path right beside the river. We came to the Maeslantkering. One of the largest moving objects on earth. 2 giant flood gates.
We chose to ride up the path  to a viewing area. Other cyclists seemed to use it as a training hill. On to the Hook. 
We had to go to the end. The end being a 'mole' that stretched out for a kilometre  into the North Sea. 
Close to 1000 miles, floods, snow, heat, plenty of rain, breakages, lovely scenery, many changes to the river along our route. 
Not quite finished, we had to turn right and head north to Ijmuiden for the ferry.
We are following route 1b North Sea Cycle Route. All very clearly signed and on paths nowhere near roads for the most part. Ups and downs through the dunes for about 50 miles. 
Lovely older hotel for our last night.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Schoonhoven to Rotterdam to Maassluis. Windmills, bridges, ferries and heat.

Mileage:-38 miles.
Total mileage:- 907 miles. 
Hotel:- Pension 'Piet Hein'.
We started by getting the ferry across the river. The along the dyke until we turned off on a loop that would take us to Kinderdijk. This is now a UNESCO heritage site. There are 19 windmills, many in working order. 
Then we started to approach Rotterdam. Coming in from the south was fairly straightforward and we were soon at the Erasmus Bridge.
The temperature today soared. Fine when we were on the bikes, but as soon as we stopped, we roasted. 
We had to get a ferry before Rotterdam, so we followed the route, found the ferry, rode on, off the other side and then realised we had taken the wrong ferry. We had lunch waiting for the right ferry. 
The route through Rotterdam was clear and we were soon over the bridge and heading towards the coast. We stopped at a VVV, Tourist Information and booked an hotel. 
Throughout the day we have seen a lot of wildlife, particularly birds. 
Storks, herons and lots of geese and ducks.
The river continues to change. It is now tidal, the ships are becoming more ocean going than river. We are now 2 metres above sea level. Last night we were -2 metres ie below sea level. Though we did not notice the climb today. 

Monday, 17 June 2013

Rhenen to Veenendaal to Schoonhoven. Bike shops tour.

Mileage:-50 miles.
Total mileage:- 869 miles.
Hotel:- Hotel Belvedere 
Acting on advice from our hotel, we took the train to Veenendaal, as there are a number of bike shops there. We arrived and found the first one by 10.00. He could not help. The next three were closed on Monday. The fifth one could not do it but sent us to number 6. This shop Rein Veenendaal, was very large,
had a big service area and a very nice gentleman who said, yes take the bags off and bring it in. In no time he had the rear cranks off, and showed us the damage.
Can you fix it? Yes no problem. In fact it was all done in about 45 minutes. 
Brilliant. It cost us 45 Euros. 
We were back on the road at 2.00. About 45 miles to catch up with the Parkins. 
One of the staff in the shop gave us directions to get us on our way. 
We made good progress with a helpful wind and once near the river, the Lek, we were once again on a dyke. The bike was running smooth again, 
It was good to be on route again. We had thought the damage might be more of a problem. In the end I think must have caused it when changing the chain before we left home. An expensive lesson learnt. 
We stormed along, taking shortcuts through windmills, and enjoying the good weather. 
We got to Schoonhoven just after 6, the welcome party were already imbibing. 
A very welcome beer, shower and meal in a lovely hotel with a balcony looking out over the river. 
The very satisfactory end to a long day. 

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Rhenen. Staying here.

Mileage:- none. 
Hotel:- same as last night. 
We had noticed a problem with the tandem as we arrived yesterday. The problem literally appeared on the last few hundred metres on yesterdays route. When we looked this morning , it appears to be a problem with the crank bearings. As we don't have the tools we need, it will have to be a bike shop. Unfortunately, the local one is closed today, Sunday, and unfortunately Monday. So our plan is to get a train to a bigger town, find a repair shop and hopefully continue. Rooms were in short supply here, so John and Jenny carried on to the next stop where they have a room. Hopefully we can join them as soon as possible. 

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Millingen to Rhenen. Holland and hills.

Mileage:- 31 miles.
Total mileage:- 819 miles.
Hotel :- Hotel Paviljoen
After a brass band welcome and a pensioners party in Millingen we were ready  to continue.
As we arrived at the hotel there was a wedding party taking place. A short while later a brass band marched through the town and stopped outside the hotel, they played a couple of tunes, then the bride joined them playing the French horn. 
The pensioners evening entertainment appeared to be a 3 hour session of bingo. We enjoyed a good meal on a buy one get one half price deal. 
John got his bearings sorted, new pedals, Jenny got her squeak sorted, lubrication. 
We got a small ferry across the Rhine, and before Arnhem recrossed the river on another ferry. Then the heavens opened. Add a very strong wind and we had unpleasant riding conditions. We also saw some strange creatures along the route.
In Arnhem John P and I spent a long time in the Tourist Information trying to get rooms for tonight. All rooms in the area we wanted were booked, apparently by a multi-national company celebrating 25 years. We eventually got this hotel. 
After having a short stop in Arnhem for lunch and a look around, we set off. Arnhem apparently is the only Dutch town built on a hill. After leaving the town we had an enjoyable ride through old forests until we got back near the river. Once back in the open the wind reappeared in force. Not a lot of miles but hard work today. 

Friday, 14 June 2013

Ossenburg to Millingen an dee Rijn. Going Dutch.

Mileage:- 45 miles
Total mileage:- 788 miles.
Hotel:- hotel Millings Centrum. 
We enjoyed our evening meal in Rhine Berg Hotel, much quieter than in the night before in Dusseldorf. 
An early start today and we were on good cycle paths. We made good progress up to Xanten. Stopped here to visit the cathedral and buy lunch. There were also Roman remains and an amphitheatre, but did not have time.back on to the path and the dyke. No flood diversions today, but one diversion due to work on the dyke.
We had lunch on the dyke, with a view of both the river and the Wunderland Kalkar. A theme park, built in an old disused nuclear power station. We were not tempted. 
Jenny has had a squeak for a couple of days, it is now loud enough that heads turn as we go through towns. John P has had bearing problems. Thankfully both ate to be sorted at a bike shop close to the hotel. 
We saw a tour group in Xanten, in order to listen to the guide they all had to wear clogs.
We are now in Holland, the sign shows Eurovelo 15, the first for a long time.