Monday, October 3, 2011

Leiden celebrates defeat of the Spanish

Monday October 3

I slept very soundly! Around noon Eric and I went to Lisse to get groceries (4mi), then dropped them home and headed for Leiden, celebrating the defeat of the Spanish siege there in 1574. Bike paths the whole way, albeit with some detours due to construction. Many shops are closed Mondays (maandag gesloten) as were both bike shops in Sassenheim as my rear tire went soft. We pumped it up and soldiered on.

The main train line from Amsterdam to points south runs along part of the path so I got to see several trains. Central Leiden was packed for the festivities--rides, games and fried food. I had poffertjes with gran marnier and then we visited a supermarket that happened to be open for drinks and snacks. The health stores in town were closed so we had to stop at one in Sassenheim on the ride back. (15.5mi)

After refilling my tire at home I took the bike out for 3 miles or so to test it and go in another direction. While you can't get lost, you can get stuck in residential neighborhoods.

Beach and Turkish Pizza

Sunday October 2

We headed out after a late breakfast toward the North Sea and the beaches. From De Engel along country lanes to a bike path (fietspad) along a busy road up to Noordwijk and then along brick-paved bike paths through the dunelands to Katwijk and its beach and then up to Scheweningen, which is the beach town for Den Haag. It has a huge double-decked pier with casino, restaurant, bungy jumping over the North Sea. We ate Turkish pizza--large pita bread with meat and veggies and spices. The trams from The Hague run out here and there was a crushing number of bikes parked near the beach.

On the trails, continuous bike traffic. Serious road cyclists with Lycra and helmets, omas and opas, families with kids, electric mobility scooters that go the speed of a slow bike. There are some of the larger hills in Holland along this route. We covered about 40 miles in all.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

All bikes here

Saturday October 1

Arrived Saturday afternoon after sleeping well on an overnight flight. Our friends Eric and Pavel met me at the airport, and after we got to their apartment in De Engel, we headed out on a bike/shopping adventure in Lisse. Pavel had a work event so Eric and I later went out on a ride to Noordwijkhout along the river and railroad tracks. No trains, unfortunately--they were doing trackwork. Also we passed the old Lisse train station which is now a restaurant, currently named Lizs.
And the seasonal flower gardens of Keukenhof and the castle of the same name.

Along every road is a separate bike path--paved and limited to bikes and sometimes mopeds. You can ride across the country this way. Tiny country lanes might not have separate paths but then they also have very light car traffic.

As evening fell I was dozing off so I got a great night's sleep!

Friday, September 30, 2011

heading on an adventure...

I am going to the Netherlands for 6 days to visit some friends who moved there last year. I hope to get lots of biking in and will share my adventures on this blog!