To Germany 

Angerer, Holland to Neidermormter, Germany (may 8)
What a day of cycling. Lulled by many beer and a full dinner out the night before, we slept in (til 8!), enjoying breakfast in the hot sun. Amos played out in the lake on the raft and paddle boards. This campsite even topped some of the best in Australia: two pools, water slides into the lake, campfire, arcade, Cafe, restaurant, tennis, spotless bathrooms. Wunderbar.

   
  Loading up is getting easier; only took us 2.5 hours total from wake up to get out of the site! We needed to get out of the campsite just before 11, when the road in front was being closed for Day 2 of the Giro. We passed many houses and villages decked out in Giro pink (pink clothing on clothes lines! Balloons! Street parties! Pink bouquets of flowers!) but opted not to stay on for the festivities. 
We pedalled along dikes and through picture perfect farms and farmland, many with a stork nesting on a tower out front. As best I can describe it, we’ve been biking through a cross between a Richard Scarry book and a Playmobile set. Most of the route is not right on the Rhine, but rather a few 100 metres in. We passed a defunct nuclear reactor-turned-amusement park at one point. LIke I said, this place is hard to describe!
There has been a relentless headwind coming from Germany. The upside as Joop reminded us is that the weather has been amazing; the downside is that the wind is in our faces, and the many wind turbines are going at full tilt, showing us just how strong it is! Out of the wind, we can go a comfortable 24 km/h. In the wind, it is more like 17 km/h. Amos’ lack of enthusiasm for pedalling isbn’t helping, nor is his constant moving (feet on handlebars, feet on crossbar, foot on one pedal, foot on other pedal, no hands. Repeat).
We crossed into Germany with little fanfare. In fact, there was no border or even a flag to show you’d crossed. Just a street sign that was suddenly in German. I guess this is what open borders means.
We had our shortest day yet – 48 km- and pulled into Neidermormter (across from Rees) around 3. Lots of time for showers, lying in the grass and reading. Ahhh. 
Little hiccup around dinner time when the camp stove refused to start. It was 7:30, in a village in the middle of nowhere, on a Sunday (read: everything closed). THe camp reception was closed early for MOthers Day. We were in a half empty caravan park. I looked through the provisions: uncooked pasta, pesto, chocolate bar, salami, 3 juice boxes. That’s it. Uh oh. My usual overpreparedness hadn’t planned for Sunday ruhetag in GErmany. Thankfully Ian and Naeva came up with the idea to find someone at the campsite to please boil our pasta water for us. Ian walked up to a lady he’d seen at the playground holding our stove and a wrench to show it was broken; she graciously welcomed us and our pasta pot into their trailer to use their stove. Her family had gathered for Mothers Day so we (Kristina and Joop) chatted for 15 minutes while our dinner cooked. Oma couldn’t believe that our children would be full just on “nudeln”. She insisted on sending us home with all of the leftovers from their Mothers Day dinner. I came back to camp with our pasta, potato salad, two other kinds of noodle salad and two gigantic Berliners for the kids. Gemutlicheit! Dinner disaster averted.

Here we are with our extra big dinner:

  

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Ian’s perfect day

So it started with a beautiful sunny morning beside the Rhine, hot enough for a t-shirt at 8 am. Packing up went smoothly. Ian enjoyed a coffee lying in the grass over breakfast  (TWO Nescafé packets to make it eXtra strong for the project ahead). Ferry across the Rhine, steady biking for four hours, along the river, through forests and even found two hills (this country is very flat). Kept an eye on the clock. Didn’t stop for kuchen. We made 40 km by 12:15. 

And then, in the distance, Ian could see nirvana. All. Of. The. Pink. By sheer luck, the Giro d’italia was starting in Arnhem, coming towards us on the same route. We joined the throngs of people watching in Oosterbeek, cheered like crazy and poof! It was gone. Ian hasn’t stopped smiling all day. (Those of you who know Ian know that he doesn’t do early mornings, with two exceptions: watching the Tour de France, and the giro on TV. This was a very big and lucky coincidence)


Even the fountains were turned pink. 

The perfect day continued with another 20 k along dykes to an amazing campsite for a dip in the lake, schnitzel dinner, and cognac to wash it down. Now, an orange sunset and early night. We cross to

Germany tomorrow. 

116 km – Delft to Rijswijk

Enjoying the end of day two of a successful bike trip down the Rhine. (63 km on day 1 and a more leisurely 53km today) Amos is playing in the playground and Joop and I are having beer on the patio. K and N walked to town for groceries … May have been further than they thought!

We are at a large busy campground on the Neder Rijn (lower Rhine). It is warm and sunny, their first real warm weather of the year so the campground is full, barbeques everywhere and lots of boating and  fishing. Australia campgrounds were spectacular for their facilities (but expensive ish). Thus far Dutch campgrounds are cheaper, less facilities, but spectacular for their beer patios! 

The biking has bee great. As described by Kristina the bike network is jaw dropping impressive –  paths, separated lanes, shared routes, small country roads, shared ped areas. It is very varied, not perfect everywhere but almost 100% connected. Between my gps and online bike route map and Joop’s map we have taken very few wrong turns. We are getting into the rhythme of it. Amos sometimes pedals well enough to help and the bikes are great. We have it setup so Amos and Naeva can go with myself or Naeva… All that is required are pedal changes and a seat switch. If it weren’t for the slight headwind we would have no complaints (other than saddle sore  bums). The country side is tidy and extremely picturesque. I don’t think I realised the extent of the engineering that has occurred for centuries to create their network of waterways and keep or move water to where it is wanted and away from where it is not. 




On our way! 

Not sure what happened to Amos’ post about our day trip to Rotterdam, but I’ll try to find it. We’ve had very full days since arriving in delft, getting the bikes ready, packing, shipping things to resupply points, and of course test driving these fabulous machines. In spite of Naeva s comments, they really are great. There are some minor adjustments to be done, as we expected. Ian is still out fiddling with a front handlebar panier at this late hour,  as the road bike design makes it tricky to hang anything off the bars. We have 8 panniers, one each for clothes, one for dishes/ cooking, one for food, one for diabetes and one for rain gear/ outerwear. Tents and mats strapped to the top racks, along with a daypack with more diabetes stuff. Ready to go!

   
 We have absolutely loved delft. The town in beautiful and we are staying with Joop in his lovely townhouse near the centre. The biking is, well, I don’t really have an adjective for how great it is. Such a good introduction to our bike trip. It may be hard to beat! Kids are getting squirrelly from so many days of errands. Will be good to get on the road after talking about this trip for so long. 

Time to go and do some more packing. Heading out tmrw mid morning, heading for the Neder Rhin arm of the Rhine. Joop will join us for a few days, and show us some of the backroads. Not sure that we will have wifi until Germany, likely 5 days away. 

   
    
 

Test ride #1

Yesterday we went for a ride to The Hoek Van Holland and it was quite good that we did because we have noticed quite a few problems… We planed to start around noon but in when you say that in the Scott-Bouris family it actually means that you would like to start around noon but you know that you’ll only start at 2! Once we got out of delft we realized that the bikes were starting to make some strange noises, some very strange noises. My mom and Amos’s derailleur was rubbing, our brakes were starting to sound like they had some trapped snakes in them and all the gears were very loud. Some of the people were also emitting some strange sounds. Most of us were moaning about our backsides, Amos was complaining about EVERYTHING and was being REALLY annoying , the 3 of us were getting mad at him