July 18 – Woerden to Delft
deft /deft/ adjective: polished, expert, capable, sharp, skilled, proficient…
Those numbers again..those NUMBERS! You would think we’d have it down by now, but noooooo. Were we deft with the digits? No, no we were not. Did we follow our numbers expertly and skilfully? No, no we did not. After yesterday’s declaration that today I would spot those numbers with Sherlock level powers of observation, instead I was probably more like Inspector Clouseau with a twist of Get Smart. But…it all worked out in the end!
Some sunshine again to start the day and two days in a row felt like a super bonus. We pedalled out of Woerden, beside the canal and amongst some early commuter bike traffic, to be on our way.
Our list of numbers were zipped up securely in my pocket and we pedalled into the centre of Woerden to find our starting number and commence our seamless sequence of spotting. We found the first number, continued along and found the next one and then…the next one was way down the list.
“We just skipped about five numbers,” I called to Steve.
“Is this one of ours?”
“Yep, but down the list.”
“Well, we’re going the right way.”
Fair enough. Just keep going. The ride was great, alongside a canal, with boats and houses lining the water and the sun shone and it was brilliant.
Then a number sign appeared and it was a number from way back on the list, one of the ones we’d missed.
“Are we going backwards,” I asked the navigator, who was coming up behind me.
“Maybe I missed giving you some of the numbers, but we’re going the right way.”
“So now do I start calling from way back at the beginning again.”
Honestly. Do we look like complete dopes? It’s just following numbers people!
We were on the route though and going the right way, so that at least was a plus and I could now resume my bingo calling, with the numbers back in the right order. [Insert eye roll, head shake and head toss with a tsk tsk].
We stayed beside the canal, passing people fishing or working in their gardens alongside the water and it was peaceful and lovely.
Then, we ended up beside a very busy road, as in a highway sort of busy road. We saw a number, telling us to go straight ahead, so we pedalled along, in a straight line, with the busy road to our left. On we went…and on…and on. Steve pulled over.
“I haven’t seen a number for a while. What are we looking for?”
“We should be on sixty-four and looking for thirty-four.”
Don’t tell me we’ve blundered again! Surely not!
Steve looked at the map. “We’ve missed one somewhere and missed a turn somewhere along the way.”
Seriously! We can not be this navigationally challenged, or are we just both in need of some optical assistance? I fear we may no longer be able to claim 20/20 vision.
“Was fifty-six one of the numbers,” the navigator asked.
“Yep,” replied the co-pilot with the numerical flight plan in her hand.
“Well, if we go down this road, we should meet up with fifty-six.”
Off we pedalled…on another attempt at rectifying a number blunder…down an unplanned route…in search of elusive numbers…AGAIN!
We did eventually find a sign and it did indeed have a number on our list and then we were once again, back on track! After all that, it was time for elevenses and as we pedalled through Zoetermeer, we spotted a park with a table and plonked ourselves down for a break.
We pedalled on, uneventfully at last, along cycle paths, beside more canals and then along a path through trees and into the outskirts of the town of Delft.
We’d decided to stop in Delft because it seemed like a place worth a look, so we checked in and then headed out for a roam. What a gorgeous town! Delft is full of beautiful old buildings, cobbled streets and canals.
Delft has two main claims to fame, one being the home of Johannes Vermeer, the artist probably best known for his painting Girl With A Pearl Earring, amongst many others and he was born in Delft and lived his whole life here. The town’s other claim to fame is Delft Blue or Royal Delft porcelain, with those distinctive blue and white designs seen on vases, bowls and decorative plates. As well as those features of note, it is just a lovely, pretty, historic, beautiful town.
We roamed the streets, crossing the many small bridges across the canals and strolled along the cobbles, up narrows lanes and through squares.
We walked into a court near a walled garden and it looked like there was some sort of event taking place, with something being set up. As we were walking out, we had to stop and wait as a van was making its way in through the gates. This ended up being one of the entertaining moments of the day. The driver was finding it a very, very tight fit and people were beside the van, telling him what to do and he was nudging the van forward inch by inch. I felt for the poor fella because there was now a group of people standing, waiting to walk through the gates, so while he was in the middle of a piece of precision manoeuvring, he also had an audience and more than one “helpful” stranger trying to give him instructions. We stood for quite a while, waiting and watching as he inched forward, pulled his side mirrors in and listened to the various calls of instruction and encouragement. He did eventually get through and as soon as he was clear of the gates, he honked his horn, waved his hands in a flourish and took a bow in the cab of his van. We all applauded!
We continued roaming, taking in the sights of Delft, up, down and over the canals, along the cobbles, until the sky darkened and it began to drizzle rain. We made our way back to our pitstop and called it a day. What a day. Another lovely ride beside a canal in the sunshine…then a not so picturesque ride beside a highway, because…we can’t follow numbers! Then, we got back to the nice paths again, beside canals and through trees and after proving once again that we are far from deft at following numbered signs, we eventually made it to another gorgeous Dutch town and Delft delivered in spades. We’ll continue our onward pedal tomorrow and try to redeem ourselves with the highly skilled task of…following a simple set of numbers! So… in an attempt to improve on our record of blunders, I am going to try the reverse of yesterday’s declaration of the level of skill I shall employ and instead of Sherlock, I will say…I’ll spot those numbers with the skill and vision of Mr Magoo! Maybe that can jinx us in a positive way! But…if we go awry again, I will just adopt the attitude of that famous rabbit who also had the occasional navigational difficulty, shrug it off and simply say…”I knew we should have turned left at Albuquerque!”
Distance ridden: 47.4 km
Time in the saddle: 3 hours 26 minutes
Weather: mild, a bit of a headwind today, sunny then cloudy, 21C
Number of windmills seen: 2