Amsterdam – city of tiny cars that drive in the bike lane and park on the sidewalk.
We’re back in Amsterdam, one of our favorite cities, on our way to South America! With we said goodbye to Asia with heavy hearts and are on our way to Bogota, Colombia. We’re excited, as none of us have ever been to S. America. Our Spanish is weak to nonexistent (ahem, that would be me), so this is going to be a great opportunity to learn a language, or at least some of it!
As usual, we don’t have a full agenda planned out. Our idea is to land in Bogota, stay for a week or so and figure out our next steps. We’ll likely explore Colombia a bit, then move on to other countries. As we do our research and formulate a plan we’ll be looking for interesting subjects and themes to guide our adventures and learning. There is no shortage of things to explore in S. America. We’ll let you know what we find….
Speaking of that, we are waaaaaaaaaaaaay behind on blog posts. We’ve been slowly working on “flashback posts” to try and catch up. Here are the places we’ve been which we have yet to blog about:
- Berastagi, Sumatra, Indonesia
- Lake Toba, Sumatra, Indonesia
- Medan, Sumatra, Indonesia
- Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
- Colombo, Sri Lanka
- Bodufolhudhoo, Maldives
- Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka
- Galle, Sri Lanka
- Mirissa, Sri Lanka
- Kandy, Sri Lanka
- Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka
- Ella, Sri Lanka
- Udawalawa, Sri Lanka
As you can see, we are waaaaaaaaaay behind! We’ll catch-up with “flashbacks” as we can, and try to do a better job of staying up to date as we hit S. America. I hope the internet connections there are better than what we’ve had lately.
That’s all for now. I have to go run some errands to get ready for tomorrow’s flight to Bogota. Hasta luego!
With our “Rhine from source to sea” trip officially complete, we still needed to get back to Amsterdam, so this morning we got up, had a big breakfast at the hotel, packed our bikes again and hit the road. The plan was to ride to The Hague (Den Haag) and catch a train to Amsterdam.
Ready to roll
We took a route that followed a long bike trail all along the coast, hugging the beach and this turned out to be another really nice ride and one of our favorite days on the bikes, simply because the landscape was once again surprisingly beautiful. The past few days in the Netherlands have been such a pleasant surprise and really a highlight of the trip.
Yesterday as we rolled into Hook of Holland, we saw a playground that looked like a good one (we are in the Netherlands after all!) and I promised Jette we could stop there today. So, on our way out of town we took a very slight detour and stopped at the playground, which was tucked into the landscape between the edge of town and the beach.
Walking down to the playground
It is frustrating as our photos don’t even begin to capture the subtle beauty of the landscape. In addition the the typical playground equipment, this park also features a long zip line tucked down in a small, green crevasse. The whole park is full of lush grasses and small wildflowers that dance in the wind and almost glow in the sunlight filtering through the clouds. To the eye, there is a most beautiful and subtle variation of color, texture, and motion that is totally lost to the camera, at least in our quick snapshots.
Diverse and beautiful landscape
View towards the ocean
A little black cat hunting in meadow
Anyway, we parked our bikes and walked down the little, winding footpath to the zip line and had some fun on the zip line and the other playground equipment.
Will the big kid break it?
We hopped back on our bikes and rode along the same path that we took yesterday to get to the beach. As we reached the dunes along the edge of the beach, we turned right onto a path that runs along the beach, and goes all the way up the coast to Den Haag.
Back towards the beach
Our route was North and little bit East which meant that the strong southwesterly wind coming off the North Sea was an almost perfect tailwind for much of the day. That made pedaling easy and was certainly a welcome treat after battling the headwinds yesterday!
As we rode North, we sometimes the path ran right along the top of the dunes at the edge of the beach. At other times we curved inland, up and down along dykes, with the dunes and the beach to our left.
Hurry up dad!
Pretty colors in the landscape
In a couple of places we passed huge complexes of greenhouses.
Sunlight reflecting on the roofs of the grreenhouses
Along the dykes, everything was green and spotted with windflowers. Among the dunes, the grasses were taller and more heavily textured, and the colors of the plants shifted to a softer green and picked up the creamy yellows of the sandy dunes and the beach.
Amazing light, colors and textures
Dancing in the wind
At De Zandmotor we took a break and walked down to the beach. De Zandmotor is a massive coastal protection project where they have dredged sand from the sea bottom and deposited it at the shore. They have constructed a giant penninusula that is 1km by 2km and over time, the winds and tides of nature will shift the sand along the coast, incorporating it into the existing dunes and beach, making them bigger and providing more protection. They call it “building with nature.”
Reading about the Sand Motor
Views at high and low tide
Walking down to the beach
The dredged sand is full of tiny shells
Handstands and a double horizon
Mila at the water’s edge
At the water’s edge
We hopped back on our bikes and before long we were in Den Haag where we headed to the central station and bought tickets for Amsterdam. Fifteen minutes later we were on the train with our bikes, and an hour or so after that we rolling our bikes off the train at Amsterdam Centraal. We hopped on our bikes and once again rode to Camping Zeeburg and pitched our tent.
At the Den Haag train station
Back in Amsterdam and looking down at Camping Zeeburg
Up goes the tent – for the last time on this trip!
After a month in Amsterdam, Mila’s broken arm has healed enough that we are giving the Eurovelo 15 Cycle Route another shot. We’re taking the train to Lindau, about 100km from where she broke her arm in Chur, to give it another go. Our visas expire and we have a flight out of Europe on Sept. 27th, so we will have to cover more kilometers per day than we originally planned. We also have a new bicycle trailer to help carry our load. We’ll be traveling for some months after our bicycle trip, so we are carrying more stuff that one might normally carry on a bicycle tour like this.
This post is backdated. I’m actually writing and posting this from Basel on our 8th day back on the road. Trying to catch up on blog posts now that we have power and internet.