Danube River in Austria

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Tot ziens Haarlem

Submitted by mag on Mon, 09/03/2018 - 07:20

Our last days in Haarlem were spent mainly on the logistics of getting the bikes to Bike Totaal Van Tunen in Beverwijk for storage until next summer, and then getting ourselves and gear to the bus stop to get to the plane for home.   We had a very convenient airbnb (complete with resident cats) about 1 km north of the RR/Bus station.   A short pleasant walk that can feel very long with a heavy burden - 2 months supply of bike gear and personal gear adds up.  We need to do better in this area. 

Haarlem's Secret Gardens

Submitted by mag on Sun, 09/02/2018 - 05:52

One thing I always wanted to do was explore Haarlem's  "Secret Gardens" - the Hofjes or Almshouses - tiny houses around a hidden central courtyard - that were orginally, starting in the 13th century, built by wealthy benefactors to house poor women but are now a social living facility centered around a lovely shared courtyard.  A model worth studying and emulating.  Many of the courtyards are open to the public at certain hours.   

Haarlem - De Cruquius Water Management museum

Submitted by mag on Sat, 09/01/2018 - 05:19

In the morning we loaded up and waited for the ferry to take us across the canal from our island.  From Leimuiden we pedaled back to Haarlem to see a bit more of our beloved home base and prepare for the trip back to US.  We enjoyed exploring De Cruquius pump museum- the largest steam engine in the world built in 1830  to drain the Haarlemermeer which had been flooding and raising havoc.

Private Island in Leimuiden

Submitted by mag on Tue, 08/28/2018 - 04:46

On our own again - from Hilversum we had a long windward ride into a 20 MPH headwind and with some unexpected rough spots, but finally made it to our tiny house on a private Island in Weteringbrug near Leimuiden.  Frans picked us up with his private ferry and we had a restful few days exploring the area.  We learned a lot more about historic Dutch defense lines and strategies from WWI and II. 

Amersfoort and Hilversum

Submitted by mag on Sun, 08/26/2018 - 06:03

From Wannaperveen we cycled up to Steenwijk and caught the train to Amersfoort where we stayed at the old Tabaksplant hotel right near the east gate and well-preserved walking zone.  We had a lovely late lunch on the veranda at Madonnas overlooking the canal.  The next day we cycled back to HIlversum stopping for lunch at the Vuurs Restaurant near the Vuursche castle on the edge of the deep woods en route.

Wannaperveen, Giethoorn and Blokzijl

Submitted by mag on Thu, 08/23/2018 - 00:59

A respite of 2 nights in Wannaperveen, a charming cottage on a point of land surrounded by canals in the National Park that surrounds Giethoorn.  We celebrated Marina's birthday with a dinner at Ristorante Fratelli.  At our Windmill BnB Jannika added a birthday bow to Marina's bicycle.  The rest day turned out to be not so restful with a circular ride exploring the area with a lunch stop at the LockView restaurant in Blokzjil.  I was reallly tired so the girls cooked a wonderful dinner for us and served on the patio.  

The Old Wanderer Windmill in Kampen - unexpected treasures!

Submitted by mag on Tue, 08/21/2018 - 03:50

We've stayed in some interesting places and experienced some charming towns, but our stay in the Windmill house in Kampen is our favorite!  Our hosts Ernst and Jannika gve us an enthusiastic  personalized tour of the windmill and produced a sumptuous breakfast.  The Windmill is called "the Old Wanderer" because it was moved to this location in 1952 after 150 years in downtown Kampen. It's still operational and we had bread from flour ground at the mill. The lighted windmill below is the view at dawn from our room. 

Harderwijk - Hanseatic Seaport

Submitted by mag on Sun, 08/19/2018 - 01:18
Off to Harderwijk... main Hanseatic seaport trading city dating from 1200s... when the ZuiderZee was part of the north sea. 

Amazing enigneers and strategic thinkers, these Dutch.  580 square miles was reclaimed from the ZuiderZee.  26% of the land in the Netherlands is below sea level.  

Heather Hills of Hilversum

Submitted by mag on Sat, 08/18/2018 - 01:04

From Lage Vuursche we pedaled on through deep forests, mostly winding paths of compacted crushed stone - the middle of nowhere and then suddenly emerging to the high-tech bridge over the freeway and on to the beautiful heather hills south of Hilversum.  We have a large airbnb here near the heather hills - our daughters are meeting us - arriving from Orlando this morning (hopefully no run in with Tropical Storm Ernesto in the Atlantic).