Back in the Netherlands,


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Antwerp was in such a furious hurray: It was as if they couldn’t decide what to build and what to pull down. The inner city resembled one big construction site. After navigating around the docks we headed out where the corn fields meet the town. There’s a playful aspect to the Flemish people, evident in the kitsch displays of concrete garden sculptures and topiary.

We cycled out into the countryside saying goodbye to Belgium and hello once again to the Netherlands. Quiet tree lined cycle paths through bucolic rural scenes, friendly sheep, talkative cows and more fruit. Roadside plums, pears and blackberries provided gratis- the fat of the land.

We stayed on a nature park, essentially camping at a working farm outside the pretty village of Oudewater.

Cycling along the crown of the dykes we passed working windmills, old lochs and thatched houses, all the while a pungent fecund vinegar rural aroma wafted on the warm breeze. The canals and farms continued all the way to the edge of Amsterdam itself.

The Amsterdam locals exhibit a casual efficiency as they navigate the cycle ways effortlessly. Texting or talking on the mobile as they go, the only ones wearing a bicycle helmet are the road bike riders.

Every possible type of bicycle imaginable can be seen. Some are neglected or seemingly abandoned. I want to take them home and give them a little love.

We cycled and walked the streets. In the coffee shops there are squads of tourists young and old, smoking dope and gorging on cookies and special cakes. The smell of Marijuana hangs heavy in the air.

A younger me would have been in paradise, but I’m an old geezer now about as straight as they come. I wouldn’t even sample the supposedly innocuous cookies, however, I was happy to take in the various architectural styles and quintessential beauty of the city.

I had noticed previously how the Dutch like to make a feature of their windows. Homes often have a simple but well thought out floral or sculptural display giving a glimpse of what may be inside. A similar effort has been made in the red light district. Attractive, bored looking scantily clad women look back at the passersby with a piercing knowing.

I was determined to sample at least one of the more earthly pleasures on offer. Can I say the local delicacy of raw herring, onion and pickle sandwich was sublime.

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Categories: UK and Europe 2015, World tour 2015Tags: , , ,

8 comments

  1. Hi Nick Can’t work out to comment so hope this gets through. Just missed you in Ghent by the look of it. We have cycled from Barcelona to  Albi for the French cyclo touring week and are now in Kortrijk visiting son Aidan who is working here for a few weeks. Spent a wet day in Ghent yesterday.  Heading to Paris next week Cheers Andy

    Sent from my Samsung GALAXY Note3 on the Telstra Mobile network

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Andy we stayed Kortrijk a week or so back , on our way to Ghent , we seem to be traveling along the same roads , I trust your tour Continues to be as enjoyable as ours has been .
      We are heading off to cycle in England / Ireland and visit with friends , happy trails peace & bike Grease !

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  2. ” Crown of the Dykes ” , Does Amsterdam have a lesbian Queen ?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Looking very fit guys. Please keep both the photos and the blog coming – keep well – it certainly looks like you are! cheers Curtis

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    • Every day above ground & cycling is a bonus , I never loose sight of how lucky I am , such a privilege .
      I trust your both well , happy skies !

      Like

  4. “I want to take them home and give them a little love”. Would that be “sexy time” or just fiddling with their spokes Nikolai ? A man’s gotta have a hobby !

    Liked by 2 people

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