Netherlands & Belgium

Three days before completing my Northern European loop, my laptop broke down after I spoiled some boiling rice water over it. It’s being send back for repair. Hopefully it can be fixed, as all my data and gps tracks were there.

My first goal in the Netherlands was the ‘Hoge Veluwe’ national park.  It appeared to be a nice rural area, but nothing really spectacular.  The 3 nights I spend in the country, I slept every time on one of the natural campgrounds, a network of simple campgrounds for people who like it quiet and don’t need swimming pools, bars or any other unnecessary facilities near their tents.

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National park ‘Hoge Veluwe’.

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Continuing south after the Hoge Veluwe, I crossed the three ‘big’ rivers, Rhine, Waal and Maas.  Winds were close to a storm, right from the opposite direction, of course.

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Feeling like a king (the chair !)

dsc05408Exactly 5 months after I started this trip, I’m returning to Belgium. I cycled via  the historical towns of Antwerp, Ghent and Bruges towards the coast, all car free along canals.
Total trip is 11.000 km, of which I had to cycle about 80% against the wind, but also had mostly sunny and warm weather.

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New building for the harbour authorities in Antwerp. Something with a ship & diamonds.
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Not sure I like the building.
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M.A.S. museum, Antwerp.
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‘Het Steen’, Antwerp
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Antwerp cathedral. The second tower will never be finished.
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Typical pub, Antwerp
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‘Groenplaats’, Antwerp
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Republique Populaire du Congo airplane.

 

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Ghent
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Last picture of the trip, near the Belgian coast.

I hope to recover my gps data so I have the exact distances, altimeters, etc and I can make a map of my route.

Total kilometer in Netherlands & Belgium: 528 km
Average km per cycling day: 105,6 km

Total kilometer of the trip: 11.038 km
Total altimeter: 76.887 meter (I believe the total gps data will show a bit more)
Total time on the bike: 724 hrs 50 min

Nights slept inside: 0
Nights slept outside: 4 (4 on campgrounds, 0 wild camping)
Average daily costs Netherlands & Belgium: 21 euro

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A training for Patagonia ?

DSC00371After entering The Netherlands from Belgium, I continued cycling along the LF1-North-Sea-Cycling Route. I was surprised in a positive way by the landscapes. Dunes & car free cycling lanes. The only negative thing was that I was freezing my butt off. Temperatures were unusually cold for the time of the year and all the way through the Netherlands & Germany, I woke up to white, frosty lawns.
But it were the wet days that were spoiling the fun. And the terrible head winds.
One night in Groningen province, hail bolls of more then a centimeter were torturing the new tent.

Lf1 entered Germany shortly after Delfzijl and followed the German coast in Ostfriesland. At a certain time though, one get’s enough of sea views (oh, and did I mention the head winds ?), so I turned inland a bit and started following the ‘Jutland Bicycle Route’. It mainly follows existing old routes like ‘Ochsenwegen’ in Germany and ‘Haervejen’ in Denmark.

And then….. the weather turned and all became great. Except for my health. Upon leaving the town of Schleswig, Germany, I felt a bit weak already, but at the end of the day it seemed like I cycled it out of my body. Only for the sickness to kick back twice as hard the next day. It kept me idle for a day, but the diarrhea would last for a week so I started making shorter cycling days, but at least I was outside, enjoying the sun. Not sitting under artificial lights in a concrete block. If it weren’t for those continuous head winds ….

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After 1.700 km from Belgium to the tip of Denmark, tomorrow will be my first ever cycling day in Sweden.
Quite excited about that.

Total kilometer in Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Denmark: 1.710 km
Average km per cycling day: follows later
Total altimeter so far: 5.534 meter

Nights slept inside: 2
Nights slept outside: 24 (21 on campgrounds, 3 wild camping)
Average daily cost: 25,85 euro

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Route BE-NL-DK

A Start.

16th April 2016.
10:26 hrs. 11 degrees C.
It’s cold and windy as I ride away.
 This is the first time I’ll be starting a long trip from home.
16/4/16 must be a very auspicious day to start such a trip.
Everything seems in balance.  
I don’t feel so balanced.
It’s not because of the heavy bike.  
Last months have been way too hectic and I feel ill-prepared for the trip.
Still, that bike really is seriously overloaded.  All the space and weight saved since I travel with an e-reader instead of (too many) books, is now occupied by other electronic gadgets which seem to be compulsory nowadays (they ‘re not).
We’ll see.  Stuff can always be posted home.

I’m on my way north.  I don’t know why.
I like it warm, so should go the opposite direction but I’m always drawn to the North because of the spectacular nature, the wild camping opportunities, the quietness.

I’m heading North along the Plassendale-Nieuwpoort canal. Later, after crossing the Dutch border, I will follow the LF 1, North-Sea-Cycling Route.

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The over loaded bike with the Belgian coastline in the background.

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Going opposite directions.
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Along the LF1 North-Sea Cycling Route

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Rob, a cyclist from Alkmaar who joined me for some km’s today.

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