Sunday 17 June 2018
This was our planned route for the day:
However, Alex had sent us an updated route a few days before that he thought might suit us better. Through the marvels of technology we were able to get this new route onto our Garmins.
We had an early start today so had the bikes out onto the street by 8am. We waved goodbye to our lovely Vrienden op de Fiets hosts and headed off from Den Haag towards the sea.
I used to ride my trike up from Hoek van Holland to Den Haag to catch a train so this was theoretically a familiar route but it looks different the other way round. The last time I rode it in this direction was during a mega wind which meant I was completely sandblasted, as was chum Vince.
The route out of Den Haag was relatively easy and included a rather nice track through some woodland.
We were soon in the dunes again within sight of the sea.
We then rode roughly south along the edge of the sea towards Hook of Holland, a place I have spent many hours in my time! It was a reasonable track so our speeds were fine, although there were some fairly nasty drempels too. But Millie is used to them.
As we arrived in Hoek van Holland we saw how close the Netherlands is to England!
I don’t think I’ve cycled in Hoek van Holland since they redid the main access road with a very good cycle path. It made it very easy to find our way towards the ferry.
And then we turned onto the cycle path that goes alongside the railway towards Rotterdam. Here is one of the lighthouses on the left and the two large Stena ferries on the right.
A closer view of the boat I have travelled on so many times – but never in a Velomobile.
From the Hook of Holland we now followed the Maas river inland. This was also following the old railway line which is now closed (which is a pain for people coming on the ferry as foot or bicycle passengers).
We passed the massive flood barrier:
Alex later explained that this was closed once last year, but if they close it for too long then Dordrecht floods.
The cycle path was pretty good here so we were making progress, although we had the obligatory bricks section where I slowed down a lot.
Our track crosses the river at Maassluis but we had arranged to meet Alex there so I went in search of a cafe for some cake. There was only one open that we found, and I had in fact breakfasted there before many years ago. Alex explained later that this area is very strongly Calvinist so no Sunday trading, even for food emporia.
Maassluis is very pretty, rather like Delft but with fewer tourists, particularly Sunday morning at 9:30am!
(Picture by Klaus)
We stopped at Monsieur Paul and had a cuppa and one of his special cakes which was very tasty!
Alex had arrived at the ferry crossing so made his way across to the centre of town where we were. We had another round of tea/coffee, enjoying the relaxing timetable of an early start and a shorter distance to ride.
We set off again in due course, straight to the ferry crossing.
As you can see from the photo above, the clouds were looking a bit threatening. There was a chance of rain on the weather forecast but we hoped to miss it, which in fact we did over the whole day. Result!
Once on the other side of the Maas in Rozenburg we had a bit of fiddling about to get out of the industrial area and over three more canals.
Eventually we found ourselves on the track variation that Alex had recommended which was a perfectly straight long run along a canal to Hellevoetsluis. This was great fun and fast, although of course we had a headwind the whole time. It seems in our circumnavigation of the Netherlands the headwind is following us round!
The ‘island’ we were on is connected to the next ‘island’ by a dam but just before that there is a restaurant called Quack-something-or-other. We decided to stop there for lunch and then Alex would head back to Rotterdam.
Whilst Alex and I faffed positioning the velomobiles for some photos, Klaus had a bit of a snooze.
Here’s Humphrey looking shiny. This is his good side, the other side has developed several scratches over the course of this tour. But that’s life.
Millie’s paintwork is more forgiving of scratches, dust, bird poo and dead insects.
We enjoyed our lunch and tea/coffee and then waved goodbye to Alex and the Little White Whale (now named Lewwie) and headed across the dam. Into a very stiff headwind. Those windmills were going round very fast!
We were riding along another very long dam.
And then had an unexpected off-road section, but it was a decent surface for the velomobiles so we kept on without much delay.
We were soon back on smooth asphalt, hurrah!
We passed Center Paris Port Zelande and then crossed over the main road the N57. It seemed the world and his wife were out kite surfing on this side of the dam!
There was a fantastic bike path up high on the dike but then suddenly it was blocked off and we had to go down a steep slope to reach a road at the bottom. We then found ourselves riding away from the main road down some lanes, knowing we had just 5km to go but not seeing any signs for Burgh Haamstede. We arrived at what turned out to be a really lovely and new B&B.
The velomobiles were put into a huge locked barn.
We have two double beds in our room (one is in a cupboard!):
a separate lounge and kitchen area:
We seemed to be the only guests. The hostess is really friendly and suggested where we eat tonight in Burgh Haamstede, as well as offering to drive us there. We had a lovely meal and then walked back, although the hostess came to collect us as she thought it was a bit cold (it wasn’t). We definitely recommend B&B Bouwmanshoeve, the lady host could not be more helpful!
Tomorrow we have a longer day again at 118km to Roosendaal but from the map it looks like the roads should be reasonably fast. We shall see! Tomorrow I am also celebrating my birthday.