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.
Yay rain (my face says it all). The weather did what it did the day and night before, with a fierce but short rain shower, so when it stopped raining, off we set. We cycled not very far before we had to take a ferry. Here’s the obligatory bike onna ferry photos (yes those are crocs, yes my dignity does leak through the holes every time I wear them, no Adam doesn’t have any and yes he was touring on fixed).
In contrast to yesterday, today the cycle paths were pretty much empty. Most of them are segregated and either look like this or like this.
And when they weren’t segregated paths, they were on roads and looked like this, so the cars get one lane and have to wait for a break in the (non-existent) traffic to overtake. I have to say, this cycling is a very stress free kind, not having to worry about cars so much as in the UK.
As the photos above show, we had both blue skies with fluffy clouds, and angry menacing grey clouds that would dump their contents on your head if you let them catch you. We managed to stay remarkably dry all day, only having to shelter once in a petrol station to sit out a rain storm.
We saw a few pretty towns, all with a canal running through the middle. We stopped in Alkmaar for lunch and managed to sit outside, mostly because the restaurant had blankets we could wrap ourselves in. I had an omelette.
Beyond Alkmaar, we were then in the polder, or drained lands, full of windmills (which were used to pump away the water) and dikes, to keep out the sea.
We cycled through the polder to arrive at our campsite, where we planning to stay for a couple of nights. We booked in, sat out a rain storm in reception and went to the camping field. We were told to seek out “high ground” in the camping field, and when we walked in, we realised why. Swamp campsite!
We found a small patch of high ground, which was still really squelchy underfoot, gritted our teeth (well I did), pitched the tent (I was now worrying about my sleeping bag not being warm enough, and the swamp getting into the tent). Ducks in the canal next to campsite laughed at us (I don’t know why they call it quacking, it is definitely laughing). Unsurprisingly, the campsite was deserted. I’m sure it would be a lovely campsite in the dry, but in the wet conditions, well, me no like.
We discovered that by being a “nature” campsite, there was no hot water (unless you specifically paid for it) and no bog roll. We had enough loose change for a hot shower each, but the lack of bog roll presented other issues (until we found some wet wipes in a pannier).
We couldn’t risk using our thermarest chair converters in the swamp, so we sat on my ortliebs to keep our bums dry (yeah, the irony with no bog roll right?), ate our dinner as quickly as possible and snuggled into the tent at about 8pm. I put on thick socks, pjs, fleece, buff, gloves and was actually warm enough, so at least I didn’t have that to worry about any more.
Kilometres cycled: 70
Dinner: Last packet of smash (apparently one pack is for 4 people but we easily managed it between 2) as per instruction, add jar of ratatouille, for Pippas add some chicken, for Adams add something fishy, sprinkle over some grated cheese.