Days 9 & 10: Breda to Amsterdam
Day 9: Breda to Gouda (45 miles)
As an ignorant Brit, my understanding of Dutch culture consists of the following: beer, cheese, clogs, general sexiness, tulips, ‘coffee shops’ and windmills. It’s this final one that I guess I’d never really thought about ‘why’. We found out the very obvious answer on Day 9.
And lots of it. Lulled into a false sense of security on Day 8, our journey to Gouda was long and started out across wide open spaces, turning in and out of the wind. We made our way around a large road bridge into ‘South Holland’, which in itself was a pretty hair raising experience as lorries lashed past us on the other side of the crash barrier.
We found a lunch spot as we turned away from the main road near a farm which seemed to be open to the public (though with no visitors and just lots of staff). A small pony came out of the gate to greet us and Sam enjoyed a kiss from the little fella.
The rest of the day was a mixed bag, made all the more concerning that we only just realised our route required two ferry crossings to make our destination. The town of Dordrecht protected us from the wind, but went on and on until we finally found the ferry which took us across the water to Papendrecht. It was then town/industrial estate/town/industrial estate/beautiful riverside to our next water crossing via a chain ferry.
By this time it was 5.30pm and we still needed to cover almost 15 miles. Fortunately the scenery improved as we progressed along more dykes across open land.
We reached Gouda shortly after 7.30pm, quickly checked into our AirBnB (by a lovely host who told us we had come a ‘dreadful way’!), and got ourselves to the main square for some dinner. Gouda is like a mini Amsterdam, and one of our favourite stops of the whole trip.
Day 10: Gouda to Amsterdam (38 miles)
The final stretch!
Complacency set in slightly as we creaked into action on the final day of cycling. Finally setting off around 11am, we slowly made our way north along the long distance cycle route LF2. The scenery was gorgeous – open watery landscapes with the most incredible houses dotted along the dykes. We went through Meije, famous for a tall old water tower, and turned north to a swimming spot near Nieuwkoop with a sandy area which was great for Sam to play in.
Not much further north and we reached the river Amstel which would take us all the way into the capital. We lucked out with some fantastic weather and couldn’t help but pull up for a drink in Amstelhoek about 10 miles from our endpoint. Finally pulling ourself away from cold drinks by the river side, we joined the traffic into Amsterdam. And by traffic, I mean cyclists. Hundreds of them. Zooming in and out of town – commuters, old folks, racing teams. It felt like there were 6 lanes of cycle traffic at points.
We hit the ‘Amsterdam’ sign around 6.30pm and we had made it! A little further on we slowly made our way to our hotel, but not before a canalside photo to prove we had done it!