The purpose of the trip was to encourage biking and that we did! Our group biked roughly 30 miles per day beginning in Amsterdam and traveling to various cities in the provinces of North & South Holland. Our route included Haarlem, Leiden, The Hague, Delft, Rotterdam, Nieuwport, and back to Amsterdam. We rode bikes during the day and lodged on a boat, the Liza Marleen, during the evening. The boat sailed from town to town each day, mooring in time for dinner at 6.30p. For some reason, I completely misunderstood how the 'bike & barge' was supposed to go. Originally, I thought we would ride on the boat to each city and then bike around it. Yeah, that wasn't right at all. LOL Upon re-reading (okay... carefully reading for the first time all of) the information that was sent, it clearly states that we would bike from town to town. I blame the oversight...on...um...the weather. Yeah. That's it.
Speaking of the weather...it was perfect for biking! Even though I am *always* cold, I found that with enough layers, I was quite comfortable. The temperature hovered between 60 and 70 degrees and the sun shined wonderfully on most days - so much so that my face is nicely tanned. We did have a bit of rain on Tuesday (fourth day), but it didn't last long at all. The wind, however, is not to be reckoned with! The Netherlands is generally flat, but the wind can be a beast - especially when riding against it.
It was nice to meet up with sewing friends from Europe. I had the wonderful pleasure of meeting Sigrid, Marta, Joana, Hilde (all from Holland), and Sheila (from Belgium). How cool is that? Having referred to Sigrid's tutorials on MANY occasions, it was so nice to meet her in person.
I could go on and on about the trip and maybe I will in future posts. I made several observations during the trip:
- Time seemed to stop or move very slowly every day. This was a weird but welcomed (and much needed) sensation.
- Biking in Holland is a way of life and means of regular transportation. It was mentioned that Holland doesn't have drivers and cyclists. It has cyclists who also drive cars. That mentality makes all the difference when it comes sharing the road with a car. After a while, I felt comfortable riding along side of a car.
- I surprised myself by biking approximately 30 miles for several straight days. During the Rotterdam trek, I developed a monster migraine and had to retire to the boat early. I also didn't bike on Friday, the last day of the tour.
- Padded bike shorts are more hype than help. Surely there has to be some sort of padding for the "sits-bone."
- Having completed the trip, I am more encouraged to bike. I've done the NYC 5-Borough bike tour twice and for recreation locally. Now, I will look into more biking adventures and ride more often around town.
Day 1. The hoodie is Kwik Sew 3667.
Renee, me, Trena at our first stop between Amsterdam and Haarlem
He makes and wears clogs. So cool!
I must have these!
Hmm...should I visit the bakery or distillery?
Hint: He's not a baker.
Cognac + Gin + Rum = Conjum Likeur and a bottle that safely made it back home!
They're a little big...
Stroopwafle maker at Keukenhof Botanical Gardens
I don't remember where this was taken!
We visited the beach on the ride between Leiden and The Hague.
Can you tell where the sky ends and ocean begins?
Working a hand-crank sewing machine inside a windmill at Kinderdijk
(I didn't know folks lived in the mills.)
An evening of tea and friends in Nieuwport
From L-R: Joana, me, Sigrid, Marta, Hilde, Renee, Trena
Taking a picture of Sigrid taking a picture!
Wall of lycra at Kantje Boord
This was my dinner at a vegetarian restaurant on the final day in Amsterdam.
There's salad, beans, and poppy-encrusted quiche.
On the sewing front, I managed to make five tops and a pair of yoga pants for the trip. I also completed my third pair of jeans (not in time for the trip) and have begun work on a new top. I hope to blog about them soon!