Quaint

13 May 2011

Utrecht to Rotterdam, Nederland

What can I say apart from having seen more great sights and experiencing a great sense of freedom? I can say that these things are harder to come by, since:

1.

The wind blowing to the East is even worse today, so I’m constantly peddling against an almighty headwind which requires taking another 100% effort.

2.

My arse now really hurts. I’m not sure how professional cyclists do it, as their seats are about as padded as the road they’re riding on.

I loved how the number of other people and cars reduced to practically zero after I left Utrecht, gradually. Now, it’s going slightly up, then down; up then down; passing through dorp after dorp.

I make a stop in one of the quaintest dorps I’ve been in so far. People, I know, imagine England as having lots of quaint little places, but Holland truly outdoes England here. The ticking of my bike is all I hear, empty streets with stray locked bikes all I see. I stock up on glucose with a milkshake and a bag of lollies from a corner ice-cream store, and wonder how little shops survive in such places. Outside, in the super bustling centre of town, there’s a square full of empty tables and chairs. The town clock dongs away any sort of tranquility, but adds to the sense of emptiness as the sounds echoes down the canals.

To avoid any sore muscles arising, I ‘get on my bike’, feeling incredibly stupid for taking the pump off the bike for security, but it’s not like anybody could have noticed. Back on the welcoming road with the conversely unwelcoming headwind.If you want to cycle through this country very easily then avoid going west, unless you really want to feel like you’re beating Mother Nature which is how I feel now.

I’m not sure how long I’ve been in Rotterdam for but I’ve arrived after having looked for signs to it for about an hour, where I meet another amazingly hospitable family member. Just when I thought Nederland wasn’t futuristic enough, I arrive at my cousin’s place which is part of its own little community, with several enormous shared decks where children laugh and play and adults laugh and drink wine. Talk about modern living.

A warm meal from the barbecue has never smelt so good, but it also comes with the added bonus of making me forget about my aching legs as I limp up the cliff-like stairs.

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