Friday, June 23, 2017

On the road again, wherein we say Tschüss to Germany and hello again to Holland

Today was yet another (partial) day of train travel, and it went mostly very smoothly, except for the moment of panic when we realized that we were on the back half of a train that was about to split in two, and the front half was going to our destination – not helped by the fact that the announcements were only in German and Dutch. So it was another mad scramble with the bikes on the platform to move up a few cars... But all's well that ends well.

The train voyage took us to the German town of Emmerich am Rhein, maybe 10 km east of the Dutch boarder. We cycled mostly the D8 route along the Rhine, where it became the LF3 in Holland (and the Rhine became the Waal). The path took us through lots of rural countryside; we definitely were no longer in industrial Rhineland here! We even saw some spoonbills!
Yeah... those white things... take my word for it. 

The road signs in Holland are always good for a laugh too.

I think this means that cyclists are supposed to ride "on the effing shoulders!" 
The destination today was Nijmegen (which, a kind Dutchman on the train told us, is pronounced Nigh-meh-jen... easy for him to say). About 8 km before arriving, however, Sonia finally found a place to swim. And fortunately, there was a nearby pub, so both of us could indulge in our passions. 

But mostly, today was about the joy of being back on the road. My butt was happy about the 4 days off, but as we have come to know well by now, the real pleasure in these vacations comes from getting up every morning and heading into an unknown landscape; the journey truly is the destination. Even the moderate Dutch headwind, the strongest we've had to contend with on this trip so far, could not dampen our spirits. And while Germany was lovely, it was also nice to return to Holland, where we spent so many nice days in the saddle on our last cycling holiday.

We got to our Airbnb shortly after 4 pm, had showers and rested, then headed out for supper, where we found what is perhaps the first really good burger place we have encountered in all our travels in Europe. Didn't hurt that they had a decent beer list, and I was able to reacquaint myself with Mooie Nel IPA from Jopen brewery, which I remember fondly from our last trip. 

Mooie Nel and mooie Sonia. 
Tomorrow, we're continuing down the LF3, along the Meuse. 

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