The Netherlands is the most bike friendly country I’ve ever visited, and probably THE most bike friendly country in the world. There are more bikes than people in this country, so anyone who drives a car is used to sharing the road with bikers. There are endless miles of paved bike paths and the flat terrain makes biking so easy in this country. So, Drew and I decided to do a four day bike tour through Tulip Cycling. I say “through” and not “with” because what’s great about this company is that you can go on your own. Yup, you tell Peter (one of the friendliest business owners you’ll ever meet) what you want to see and how many days you want to bike for, and he’ll arrange it all for you. Just meet him on Day 1 and he hands over to you a bike, map, and GPS system all programmed with your route. Then you set off on seeing some of the most beautiful parts of this country that you probably wouldn’t see if you drove. Peter books accommodations for you each night and has your luggage transferred & waiting for you at your next hotel. What an awesome way to tour the country!
On Day 1, Drew and I met Peter in Weesp, a small town right outside of Amsterdam. After getting all set up, we took off on our bikes as Peter took off with our luggage to our first destination that night, Noorden. We wanted to see windmills and waterways and Peter did a great job mapping out the most scenic routes for us to explore. We biked anywhere between 22-28 miles each day and since it was all flat, it was actually a lot of fun! (Well, minus that one incredibly windy & rainy day. That was no fun. More on that later.) Starting in Weesp, we got our first dose of waterway and a cute little drawbridge to go with it. Peter never mentioned flowers and lily pads everywhere either, but I’ll take it. This bike trip was off to a beautiful start!
First windmill sighting! We were so excited. It was a Sunday, so folks were taking their boats out to play, along with their bikes.
Waterways galore! With a third of the country below sea level, the Dutch have become masters of water engineering.
Though at first we wished for some sunshine, we were REALLY glad the clouds were out while we biked. Windmill #2! Tons of farm animals along the way: cows, sheep, horses, goats. Anytime I’d stop to take a picture of them, there’d always be at least one that’s gotta mad dog me. (Notice cow in upper right) A whole gang of them this time!
Horses don’t mad dog, they say hi. Isn’t that right Mr. Horsey? =)
This is a country full of cyclists. No wonder the gold medal winner for cycling was a Dutch woman. I was so ecstatic when I got this shot! (Yes, while riding my bike. I became quite adept at riding and snapping photos at the same time.) Cyclists, waterway, windmill. Check, check, check!
We were blessed to be in this country at a time when so many flowers were in bloom. And every home seemed to have a professional gardener or landscape architect living there because they all look like they were on the cover of Sunset magazine at one point.
Someone couldn’t resist…
It rained on and off during our first day, but it was never too bad. Ponchos made everything ok.
As we got into Noorden, the sun came out and the angels sang as we biked past these heavenly homes. We’re not worthy, we’re not worthy!
Or, are we? Our stop for the evening was at the Restaurant-Hotel de Watergeus. LOVED it! The hotel is right on the banks of a huge lake. What an incredible view while we dined outside that evening.
And yes, dinner was delicious.
After dinner, we decided to take the boat out for a little joy ride. Just kidding. Drew just wanted me to pose next to the boat & pretend that it’s mine, but I guess it’s really Albert Adriaan’s!
The view from our balcony.
The best cloud parade I’ve seen in ages! We spent a good part of the evening watching them march on by. It was a beautiful way to end our first day.
Day 2-4 in the next post!