July 23 – Haarlem
Our last full day in The Netherlands. Our last full day in mainland Europe. Tomorrow we sail for England to continue our tour in the UK. Not much to share today, not much to report because not much happened. Today was spent getting ready to move on.
I went out for a morning run and the day was already warm. It was a fantastic morning to be out on the plod, with a blue sky, no wind, past a canal, past a duck that was shouting very loudly at me, letting me know I was not, under any circumstances, to come anywhere near her kiddies. She tucked them behind her and shouted loudly at me, then made her way towards the water with them in case she needed to make a quick getaway from the plodder coming her way. I passed by, reassured her I was not in the market for a ducking and continued on my way, taking in the glorious morning.
On my return it was simply getting jobs done and preparations in place, with laundry complete and then looking over maps to get a sense of our onward journey. The good ol’ UK Cycle Route Planner map was laid out on the table and we traced our fingers over the lines to see where the various cycle ways were, which ones were traffic free and the best routes to look for. We had an earlier version of this map on our last tour and it was great. We used it until it virtually fell apart, so I bought this latest version as an essential replacement. Steve likes to look at screens for maps, I like to have the paper version, so I can see the big picture before me in one huge sweep, rather than having to swipe or zoom in and out. We spent some time planning, in as much as we plan, which was just to develop a vague idea of the general direction we’ll head, still without any idea where we will be day to day, we’ll decide that on the road as we go. After tracing along the big map, Steve then checked some distances and elevation profiles on his online route planner and we learned that our weeks of nice flat riding is going to come to an abrupt halt, as we come across some major climbs in merry England. We were expecting that, but we’ve seen the figures now, so we’ll have to psyche ourselves up for some leg and lung busters.
By the afternoon, I was in need of some fresh air, even though it was a hot day, so we set off on the bikes for a bit of a ride around. We ended up in Aerdenhout, which apparently is the wealthiest area in The Netherlands. That particular area, around Bloemendaal is popular with commuters to Amsterdam and The Hague. Riding through the leafy avenues, yep, you could see where the money was. There were a lot of huge houses, with huge grounds and many with their own forests. We’ve been riding through forests in national parks, but these houses had their very own forests and huge estate grounds. Of course, one way to instantly lower the tone of a place like that is to put two scruffy Tasmanians on bikes there and then have one of them continually stopping to point a camera at a house to try and photograph it. We were probably lucky to escape without a posse of Neighbourhood Watch on our tail. I couldn’t actually get any decent pictures because most of the houses were behind huge hedges or gates, but they were very stately and some of the newer ones could have made an episode of Grand Designs. We were certainly a bit out of place. I saw at least one lady who bore a striking resemblance to Barbara Cartland and silver haired gentlemen who looked to share a gene pool with either Ralph Lauren or Kenneth Williams. It was Poshville indeed!
After a tootle around, we headed back and finished off some preparations and that was the day. Tomorrow we ride for IJmuiden where we’ll catch the ferry to Newcastle. It’s supposed to be 33C tomorrow, so a nice hot ride for our send off.
There won’t be a blog post tomorrow, on account of the wifi situation on a ferry across The North Sea. So the next instalment of our Grand Tour will come to you from bonny British shores. The adventure continues across the water…
Distance ridden: 19.5 km
Time in the saddle: 1 hour 23 minutes
Distance run: 12 km
Weather: sunny, hot, 31C