After our raucous evening and lively breakfast in Wassenaar it was back on the road relatively early …this is our new vocation after all! Headed off in blue skies and brilliant sunshine with Bairbre guiding us on the North Sea Coastal route. First stop was the North Atlantic Wall, built by the Germans in 1941 to keep some angry allies out, so a bit of history to get us on our way. We veered off the coast to see the tulip fields in bloom, but we were sadly disappointed because we are 2-3 weeks too early, so we had to make do with sea views instead.
Stopped in Noordwijk for a fantastic lunch overlooking the beach..and a few beers as it felt like we were on holiday!
Continued on a sand dune route towards another great beach location at Zandvoort for refreshments. I even saw a deer a few feeet away from me on the path! Reached Haarlem at Friday evening rush hour…on bikes that is. We felt like real locals in the stream of bikes heading into the main square…apart from the fact that we completely lack the balance to text or carry a bunch of tulips while cycling! Stopped for a beer (recurring theme here!) in the very picturesque city centre Square. This was a 60km day so starting to get into our stride a bit.
Bairbre even made a little movie on her Garmin tracker of that trip.
Another evening of great hospitality from more friends of Bairbre’s that we hadn’t met before. Dinner and drinks with Annemarie in their lovely Dutch town house, and breakfast with her husband Jeroen on Saturday morning while Annemarie did her hockey coaching and busy mum duties. Back in the saddles by 9.30am and this time it was through an industrial Tata Steel area with lots of sea locks to manoeuvre. Coffee break at Wijk Aan Zee and then went inland through an amazing national park with lots of Highland cows to behold.
Another fantastic long beach lunch at Egmond aan Zee and then headed towards Schagen to find our campsite for the night. The only sad thing to report in this Dutch story so far was that this was where Bairbre left us to go back to her real life.
What a wonderful, thoughtful, amazing, fun friend she has been for the past 3 days. I cried when we parted..but hopefully we she will join us again somewhere on our tour.
70km under our belts today and our first night camping. Anyone who knows me will know how little experience I have in the whole camping malarkey ….so watch this space!
2 things to note so far:
1. Holland is amazing – we love the country and the people so if you are a cyclist and you haven’t been, you are missing out.
2. People have been telling how brave I am doing this trip, but I have already realised after 6 days that it’s all because of Nigel. I couldn’t do it without him because he makes me brave. There are hills I have cycled up and puddles that I thought I was too scared to cycle through, but because Nigel did it without even thinking about it, so did I. So motto of my story for today is find someone who makes you brave – you will be surprised at how much they can motivate you to do more!