After a non stop tasting of Gouda cheese our bellies look like well-rounded wheels, we could easily roll out of Gouda, instead we are pedalling. Today, where ever we end up, we will have to catch a fast train to the Hook of Holland. We have a ferry to catch back to England. Rotterdam seems a good place to catch a train. Our destination is decided.
The open pastures of dairy-farming lay before us. The distinct black and white blots of the Friesian cows surround us. As they munch happily on the lush green grass we pedal with smiles on our faces… this scene is a reminder of home. The three of us feel as if we are back in rural New Zealand.
Each cross-road starts to look identical to the last. Each one of us think we know which route to take and we begin to ridicule each others decision… The whole process turns into a joke and after a while we assume we will be cycling around the cow covered fields for years looking for a way out…
Thankfully, we are eventually able to take the correct turns and the black and white Friesian cows soon become a blip in the distance. We soon find that the cycle path requires us to pedal onto a sizeable car ferry which allows us to cross the width of a big waterway and continue our journey.
We cycle upon the creaky Kinderdijk Windmills. The pin wheel turns of the wooden blades dominate the low-lying land that they occupy. They sit boldly as if they are the watchmen of the waterway, protecting the water flow before them.
Cycling our way in and around the these ingenious structures allowed our curiosity to be attended to. At any opportunity our bicycles are left as we are inquisitively climbing creaky stairs, peeking in, up and under exploring every nook and cranny of these wooden wonders.
Like cogs in a clock these huge windmills turn so subtly with a calm and beauty all of their own. We are captivated and easily while away the hours learning all about the UNESCO protected site.
Our growling stomachs take us back on our bicycles and in search of much-needed energy. A pancake house hidden behind bushy hedges are what we find and it is a small piece of dutch heaven… Our stomachs are most thankful for the sugary delights!
Onward bound as the city of Rotterdam becomes ever closer – we catch a Water Bus there – a local passenger ferry. We wheel our bicycles onto the boat and relax while watching the world pass us by. We cruise under modern bridges and gleaming towers while the clouds plod about in the sky.
Back on shore we pedal with ease around the busy streets of Rotterdam. In the city centre it is as if Rotterdam is celebrating our arrival. A free concert is happening and we find ourselves caught up among it all. Balloons, free goodie bags and music galore to dance to…
We finally board the train, bicycles and all as the train guard blows the last whistle. The sun light begins to fade as our train speeds towards the Hook of Holland.
The colossal ferry is waiting at the port like a wide mouth refrigerator waiting to be filled. As we pedal aboard the ferry we are in high spirits – I have to admit that the thrill of cycling beside cars and grumbling trucks onto a ferry never fades.
Our cosy cabin provides us with a good night sleep and upon waking we are greeted by the trusty shores of the British Isles. The Netherlands has certainly given us a few days of fun and frivolity and all three of us agree that a return trip is a must!