Day 31 – 30th July 2020 – Lelystad to Herpen, NL
Still can’t get the coffee machine to work, so give up. As I am packing up the bike, the owner, Adrie, comes out and asks if all is ok… I say yes, but I can’t get the coffee machine to work. I do also say I think it is probably me, I’m sure I am doing something wrong… she proceeds to explain the procedure, which is exactly what I have done, but to no avail. She then asks if I would like a filter coffee when I’m ready, oh yes please says I.
I finish packing up and make my way in to the lounge to have my coffee… she tells me a little about Lelystad.. it has only been in existence for 50 years and it is actually below sea level. This is where they have reclaimed the land from the sea and built the two great dams to keep the North Sea at bay, very clever, you just wouldn’t know it was once all water here. I ask where she was before this? ‘Utrecht, but I have been here 30 years… I didn’t like it here at first, too quiet, but I am used to it now and when I can no longer manage the stairs or to get around on my bicycle I will move back to the city’. ‘Ahh yes, I know what you mean, it will be hard for you without a bicycle here’ ‘Yes, everything here is quite far, but now we have the electric cycles… everyone is getting them, even the young people so I will get one of those’. ‘Cycling is so easy here, the country is made for it’ ‘Yes indeed, here we learn as babies to sit up, walk and then cycle, it is our way’.
I finish my coffee and make my goodbyes, back on the road now towards Nijmegen, this is where I will meet up with Annemarie for lunch tomorrow.
The weather is glorious, really warm and sunny, much better than the last few days. I toy with the idea of riding across the Dams up to Zurich and then down to Nijmegen, I definitely have the time, but in the end I decide to leave them for another time… I will be back of course.
I forgot to start the Relive recording until I am already on route, so I pull over to start it and find I forgot to stop it yesterday so it is still recording… bugger… ok so the Relive today will be from Oldenburg to Nijmegen via Lelystad…
I really enjoy the ride…
and stop for my first koekjie bij de koffie of the day, fab.
I also avail myself of the facilities… TMI I hear you shout, but I just wanted to show you this.. so classy
No Dyson hand blade or paper towels here… individual little terry cotton towels no less…
I am riding some of the back roads as I have plenty of time today… I stop to fiddle about with something next to a field and suddenly a deer buck runs past… I mean with a full head of horns… oh wow!! I jump off the bike to try and get a photo of him, but he is gone… damn.. I then notice there is actually a group of them over by a clump of trees.. ok better than nothing
Soon I am nearing Arnhem and of course am immediately thinking of WW2 and the infamous ‘Operation Market Garden’. I have been here many times before and indeed was stationed just over the border in RAF Rhinedahlen near Moenchengladbach back in the late 70’s.
I pass by the airborne museum and memorial
and decide to stop at the cemetery in Oosterbeek
Many of the young men here were glider pilots, lost when their flimsy aircraft crash landed. The most poignant stones for me are the ones with no name… known only to god… but especially where they have partial information such as
‘believed to be’, that says volumes to me about what was found of him… unrecognisable apart from his uniform probably… makes me shudder.
Back on the road towards Nijmegen..
In Huissen I pass this, what I think is, or was, a convent, judging by the small figurine
I enter Nijmegen and make my way towards the famous ‘bridge too far’.. except this was not the bridge in question, that is in Arnhem and it’s not even the bridge in the film of the same name, that is elsewhere.
There are actually 3 bridges here, the single span arch is THE one.
I am parked next to this artwork… I think it is interesting that it is horizontal rather than vertical…
I look up into the town and see a church, of course, I like the look of so try to make my way up to take a photo… and end up not only getting lost, but getting stuck and having to turn around twice because I find myself in a dead end, one of which I think was someones back yard and the other was extremely steep…. but of course Pogs!
I give up attempting to photograph the church, but the centre of the old town is very quirky, I would like to come back here at some point for an explore.
Leaving Nijmegen, I try to avoid the main roads as much as possible so am riding through many small villages
I have booked accommodation at a place called Herpen, it is a Brasserie/hotel so I am hoping to be able to have some down time to sit in the garden and drink coffee while catching up my blog. I also need to book a table for lunch tomorrow, we decide that Annemarie will cycle over to meet me.
Well… that was the plan.. I arrive and the place is closed due to Covid… what! I message the link on booking.com and await a reply. Just then a very elderly man appears from the rear of the property and is waving at me… ok… I walk over and he starts to speak to me in Dutch, but I recognise him saying booking.com so I say Yes, that’s me. He doesn’t speak any English at all so everything is done via gesture. He lets me into a side door and takes me up to my room, just one flight of stairs yay, shows me in and gives me the keys… one key will open the outside door and my room so easy peasy.
Back outside and he indicates that I can park my bike around the back of the building, so that’s good, but I need to unload first. I try and ask about the restaurant, but he shakes his head and just says Covid. Ok so we will need to change our plans for tomorrow… no problem. He then gets in his car and disappears.
I need to eat so I see there are a couple of towns really nearby, but first I investigate Herpen itself. There only seems to be one restaurant and they are just setting up so I ride past and come to a small cafe/bar and stop there for a coffee, with cookie of course. While I am there I have a look on google maps and decide to visit Ravenstein, it’s just 5km away.
It is indeed a lovely little town
Whilst I am exploring I find a windmill…. fabby
great isn’t it. Directly opposite is a cemetery and I have a quick look in to discover 4 war graves at the back.. they are just everywhere here, very reminiscent of northern France and Flanders in particular; again immaculately looked after.
I find a place to eat and order…. no not pizza… schnitzel. I have to say it isn’t actually very good, a bit on the greasy side. However, what is good is that I notice people ordering Bitter Lemon… now I haven’t had one of those in years and so I order one and it is sooooo delicious I have to have another, extremely refreshing.
Back to the bike and I can’t find my gloves… they are a favourite summer pair and I remember now that I put them on the luggage and then decided to ride gloveless, but didn’t put them away…. bloody grrrrrrr!!!
I ride back the way I came checking all the while for the gloves.. nope nothing… I go back to the cafe/bar in Herpen, but no joy. I ride the route again twice… nope they are gone, so pissed!
Anyway, I take this photo of the church in Herpen before I go back to the hotel.
Hard to believe looking at this photo that just a few hours later there will be a huge thunderstorm… yep honked it down for about 15-20 minutes, hope that doesn’t mean a crap day tomorrow.