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.
The ride from Haarlem to Beverwijk is always a joy, through the beautiful town of Bloemendaal where we stopped for lunch at our favorite Bartje Bloemendaal and then on through the incredible forested dunes of National Park Zuid Kennemerland and across the ship channel on the ferry to Beverwijk. This is a route we have taken, more or less on track - sometimes taking detours, occasionally hopelessly lost - 8 times now in our four years of cycling in Europe with Haarlem as our home base and Beverwijk as the home of our "Local Bike Shop" and it's a route we never tire of... always signaling the beginning or the end of a grand adventure.
Once our bikes were delivered we felt our wings were clipped and we were once more tied to the surly bonds of earth... and the reality of having a lot of bike gear that had to get to Schiphol... the handle broke on my big duffel and we had to jury-rig an arrangement where it piggybacked on the small wheeled carry-on. It actually worked surprisingly well.
The actual trip was arduous and long but blessedly uneventful... no lost luggage or missed connections and only an hour delay due to thunderstorms leaving Detroit from Kalamazoo.... Our dear friend and neighbor Cheri braved the storms to pick us up at the airport and deposit us (and a nice dinner - she's an angel) at our tiny house in South Haven...
There is so much more to say about our 2 months in Netherlands and a few weeks in Denmark... we want to publish maps of our travels but more importantly we want to convey how these countries have managed to become the most bike-friendly people-friendly human-scaled countries on the planet. Especially the Netherlands... where does the national will to respect and care for the land and the people and to support every mode of mobility come from, what can be learned and how can it be adapted?