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Pushing The Reset Button (Part II)

July 31st, 2011 4 comments


We got a real soaking on the first few days of our staycation bike tour around the Netherlands, and it’s at this point, dear reader, that we have a confession to make. We went home.

Getting the train home

Yes, that’s right. We caved. We piled our wet soggy bodies, and our dripping tent and our musty shoes onto a train and we went home. You might think we were wimps. Maybe we were, but sometimes you just have to push that reset button and for us – after 4 straight days of cycling under a rain cloud – this was our time.

In another time and place, we might have done something else (like get a hotel for the night) but that’s the advantage of touring close to home – there’s always an easy way out if things get too miserable.

So home we went, to wash and dry our clothes, hang out our tent and restore our spirits with a good night’s sleep in a warm bed, rather than a squishy, muddy field. Twenty-four hours later, we were ready to set out again, so we checked the forecast and headed for what the weatherman said would be the driest spot in the country; Groningen.

Our mission was to cycle as much of the Fietserpad as possible; a 500km bike path that runs north to south through the Netherlands, and twice enters Germany. As soon as you leave the city of Groningen and head south, the Fietserpad starts to shine. It goes past some iconic Dutch scenery. The dark skies hung over us, but it didn’t rain.

Andrew cycling past a windmill

As we pedalled along immaculately paved bike paths, we couldn’t help but admire the Dutch bicycle infrastructure. Even though we’ve been living here nearly 2 years now, we’re constantly amazed at the diversity of paths, and how well marked they are. This one shows signs for local paths, as well as the direction of a long-distance bicycle route.

Dutch bicycle signs

We were also impressed at how much woodland we cycled through – over 100km and we barely had to cross another road or even see a car, let alone cycle alongside one. How is this possible in such a crowded, densely populated country? Of course, you wouldn’t find this near Amsterdam, but the Dutch are good at preserving what nature areas they have, and all of this is accessible by bicycle. Bliss.

Cycling Through Dutch Woodland

As the Fietserpad wound its way south, we occasionally dipped into Germany, and we didn’t need the border signs to tell us that we’d changed countries. We could guess as much when the bike paths turned to sand, and bumped along the back of fields. This happens sometimes in the Netherlands too, but most of our ride in Germany seemed to be like this.

Sandy bicycle paths

And when we crossed back into the Netherlands, the bike paths magically reappeared. On the German side? A dirt road full of potholes. On the Dutch side? A smooth, marked bike path.

Germany versus Holland

Although the weather had certainly improved from the first half of our bike tour, the second part of our trip wasn’t without its disasters. One night, in a campground, a gust of wind blew over Andrew’s bike before we had the chance to catch it. His handlebar bag was still on the bike, and there was one casualty: our beloved Kindle.

Kindle is broken!

This seems to prove the concerns we had about its fragility when we reviewed it. Nothing else in the handlebar bag broke (there was a camera, a GPS and other gadgets inside), and the Kindle was protected (albeit not in an official Kindle case). Hopefully Amazon will replace it, and we’ll have to think up a better way of carrying it for future trips. We still love this thing; it’s incredibly useful and convenient, but it does require a little TLC.

On we pedalled, through seemingly endless Dutch woods, finishing up each day in one of the great nature camping sites (less developed campsites). We were determined to try some new camping recipes, and the highlight of our camp cookery was sausages and mashed potatoes (bangers & mash for the Brits out there); inspired by a recipe we got from Liz & Chris (we’ll share it soon on the site). It was by far one of the best camp meals we’ve ever made, and a great way to finish our summer bike tour around the Netherlands!

Bangers & Mash

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4 Responses to “Pushing The Reset Button (Part II)”

  1. Doug W says:

    Good for you for getting back out there after you’re day off at home! So sorry to hear about the Kindle breaking — sounds like maybe the camera hit it just right (just wrong!) and cracked the screen’s internals. I know they’re not very cheap, but we’ve not had a worry at all about the Kindle’s fragility inside the protective covers. Kristin has one of the padded Timbuktu Kindle covers for her third-gen one and my leather “hardcover” one has done an admirable job so far as well. We take them everywhere and have never bothered to go gentle with them inside these covers. Best of luck getting a refurb’d one from Amazon!

  2. Nico says:

    My Kindle has also recently packed in, at exactly the same screensaver!

    It’s probably the biggest blow on my trip so far, as it was by far the most useful ‘luxury’ that I have been carrying.

    I was also surprised that it took less than a direct blow to the screen to do this, though maybe it was extended use in campsites and along the coast (sand) that led to this.

    I spoke to Amazon and they will send a new one at no extra cost but I will need to wait until I am somewhere for a few days so that I can receive it by mail. When I get my replacement I will experiment with a new dust/water proof casing instead of or in addition to the official case I have been using.

    Sorry to hear about the weather, I’m about to head into the Baja desert in mid summer so will be suffering in the polar opposite way!

    Nico

  3. What great looking riding country. We don’t have anything like that here downunder. Well done for getting back out there.

    I bailed on a short tour recently have really regretted it and not being able to get back till around April 2012 is not helping.

  4. Zoe says:

    My Kindle also froze and was beyond repair – and it didn’t fall or anything! This happend towards the end of the initial 3 month warranty. I emailed Amazon. They will not do anything without speaking with you first by phone. Some 3-4 months later, after arriving back in Europe, Amazon couriered a replacement Kindle to me without cost. They do require that the old Kindle be sent back to them which they reimbursed me for.

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