Day 8: Scherpenzeel to Utrecht to Den Haag to Hoek van Holland

And so the final day of our tour was a functional day, getting us from Scherpenzeel to Utrecht to catch a train to Den Haag before the final few km to Hoek van Holland.

Once again, we followed the Knooppunts to get us there. It was pissing down with bloody rain all morning, but luckily our route took us through forests so we had some shelter. The forest tracks were all absolutely fine to cycle on. They weren’t always concrete tracks but they didn’t cause us any problems. Continue reading

Day 7: Zwolle to Scherpenzeel

Today we were sort of venturing into the unknown. We didn’t have paper maps and we didn’t have any routes on the garmin, as our original tour was going to end in Zwolle and from there we were planning to take the train to Den Haag to cycle back to HoH for the ferry. So instead we used the knooppunt network (knot network) to navigate. Continue reading

Day 6: Ossenzijl to Zwolle

We set off the next morning and as this was the area in which Adam had previously lived, there were a few places he wanted to show me. So we cycled along the canal in the sun, crossing little bridges which allow residents to get their boats out. We stopped in the old sea port of Blokzijl, which was really pretty and sat on a bench eating cake. I realised that my instincts yesterday were correct and my legs were feeling quite sluggish and we probably should have opted for staying at the campsite and having a short pootle. Adam gave me more cake and I felt better.
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Day 5: Harlingen to Ossenzijl

We sat around thinking about what to do. Our original plan was to spend two night on Terschelling and to then cycle down towards Ossenzijl, so we brought that forward, as we had heard good things about the campsite there. So off we set.

It was warm and sunny and I even managed a smile. We could multi task and dry our clothes on our panniers.

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Day 4: Oostwoud to Harlingen

Today, all our best laid plans fell to pieces. However, in good news, it was sunny. In bad news, the usual westerly winds had changed to easterly, which was the direction we were heading. Boo.

Our aim today was to get to Harlingen to go over to one of the Islands. Fed up with swamps, we had contacted a warmshower host on Terschelling and we were hopeful we might have somewhere dry and warm to stay for the next couple of nights. This, along with the sun raised my spirits.

And then we cycled on very long, very straight roads into a headwind for all of the day. This included the afsluitdijk dike, a 32km road which turned the sea into a lake. Continue reading

Day 3: Oostwoud to Oostwoud via Edam

We woke up and were dry and warm surprisingly. We opened the tent door and it was still swampy. Any clothes that we had washed were still wet. Our towel was damp. It was still squelchy. I ate my porridge in bed and we both agreed that booking in for 2 nights wasn’t the best decision ever. Anyway, we had a circular loop planned today, to go to Edam and eat some cheese. We set off in the grey and damp morning wearing all our dry clothes as it wasn’t exactly summery. Continue reading

Day 2: Driehuis to Oostwoud

The next morning, we were still dry inside, but the tent itself was pretty wet. We had some porridge with yoghurt for brekkie and packed up, leaving the tent till last. Of course, as we took it down, it started raining so we ran for shelter (with the tent) to the toilet block.  Continue reading

Day 1½: London to Harwich to HoH to (just beyond) Haarlem

These blog posts are about our cycle tour to The Netherlands in August 2014.  We took the ferry from Harwich to Hoek van Holland on a Friday night, spent a week exploring before taking the ferry back to Harwich the following Saturday. Continue reading

Our final stats

Tonight we fly back to the UK after leaving London in early January.  Since then we’ve cycled 11,000km across four countries (New Zealand, Australia, Canada & the USA) & ended up doing 113,000m of ascent (or nearly x13 Everests)

During that time we’ve camped for 140 nights (ie 20 weeks) on 117 different campsites

We stayed with 39 different WarmShower hosts for a total of 49 nights

Our longest day was 118km on South Island, New Zealand

The hilliest and hardest day was 1,570m of ascent on North Island, New Zealand

Philippa’s hardest day mentally was leaving Melbourne,

We’ve flown over 42,000km (LHR → SIN → CHC; AKL → MEL; BNE → YVR; LAX → LHR)

We drove 3,300km on our road trip from LA into south-west USA

We’ve visited ten wineries, a gin distillery and a beer festival

We (or rather Philippa) saw more dangerous snakes and spiders in the USA than Australia

We’ve both fallen off, Philippa just the once whereas Adam’s come off twice

Our highlights from each country:

Cycling past Tekapo Lake and Pukaki Lake in New Zealand

Cycling into autumn as we climbed up Dorrigo Mountain in Australia

Our overall highlight of the whole trip was the Icefields Parkway from Jasper to Lake Louise in Canada

The North Cascades Highway in Washington State was the best part of the USA

To see everywhere we cycled click here.

Red rocks and Vegas insanity

philippa-at-the-grand-canyonWe had a couple of weeks to kill before our flight back to the UK so decided to go and do something completely different: this involved a LOT of driving, some hiking in some national parks (NP), most of which were full of red rocks, and some chilling by the pool in the Las Vegas. We were also lucky enough to meet up for one final final time with the Aussies – hopefully see you guys in the UK or Oz at some point soon! I got to see a rattlesnake AND two tarantulas (Adam’s very jealous) and we think we had a black widow spider in the bed one night (and I had been worried about Australia where we only saw dead snakes). Continue reading