This report had so many photographs that it was best to split it into two. For the first part of this report please click here.
The next day (Sunday) I was flying back to Amsterdam but we had a fair bit of time in the morning so walked along the front at Teignmouth.
There were various artworks on the promenade which had the theme of environmental damage. This snail was made out of used plastic milk bottles and was huge.
In order to fortify ourselves for the drive to Bristol Airport (and, then for the rest of them, back to Tonbridge in Kent) we had some freshly-made doughnuts which were really lovely.
They dropped me off at Bristol airport with plenty of time so I stayed landside and ate the food I had bought in a petrol filling station (sandwich, crisps, bottle of water – all costing less than a single small bottle of water airside at Amsterdam!) and then went through security. Of course my metal humerus set off the detectors so I had to stand in a special booth which scanned me but I am used to this.
Bristol airport is a very decent airport with good seating airside and the toilets were good too. I had a book to read so the time passed very quickly and I was soon on the aeroplane – a brand new Airbus. I had a window seat which meant I got a good view of London/Greenwich and the Dome.
And then of Brightlingsea where James’s boat lives.
And Walton, Frinton and Clacton.
I arrived at Amsterdam and was met there by Klaus, Claudia and Lara who had enjoyed a day at the beach near Amsterdam and picked me up on their way home (they had offered to do so which was rather nice!)
The English Quiz
Royals Café in Anrath does an occasional English quiz (questions given out in English) and Babs had recommended that we make up a team. Last month I was unable to do it (was leaving for Berlin the next morning) but this month my diary was free.
We ended up with five (friend Uli also came) – me, Sarah (an English friend of Christine), Christine my neighbour and her husband Andreas and of course Uli the cyclist.
We enjoyed English drinks along the way
And here was the final score…
We were the team ‘The Discombobulators’ and won!!! We got a voucher each for a free breakfast at the cafe.
The visit of the Wowbaggers
My erstwhile cycling companion Peter (otherwise known as Wowbagger) who visited last year with his wife Jan – and took part in the Potato Peeling contest
I cycled to meet them at Venlo and we stopped for some soup.
We rode back via Hinsbeck and stopped at the memorial to the Queen Mum.
Peter and Jan are both definitely not monarchists so this was an amusing photo opportunity!
We stopped for cake in Grefrath on the way back.
A day or two later we did a ride to Straelen via the top end of Venlo and on the way bumped into a chap on a decent racing bike who struck up a conversation with me about handbikes (which was what he initially thought I was riding). He wanted to show me a special bike area they had now in Venlo so we followed him the short distance and were amazed by the facilities – race tracks, BMX tracks, club house building and more.
Here I am with Henk’s lightweight bike.
Here is Henk on Alfie – he went around the longer racetrack once. I think Alfie was a bit slow for him!
Peter and I then had a race around the smallest racetrack (with some gentle banking). Peter won.
We spent about half an hour with Henk there and it was all very interesting! Maybe in the future I can gather up some other weird bikes to have a racing day there. But I will undoubtedly lose any race I start!
Here’s Peter on his bike
And Jan on hers. They are remarkably similar!
And Alfie passed a milestone this month – 40,000km (that’s over 25,000 miles).
With Peter and Jan I did a ride to the Rhein at Uerdingen and then south along the Deich to Lank-Latum which was rather nice.
We also joined a group of friends of Gudula’s (and Gudula and Frank too) on a ride to Kamp-Lintfort and a café named Baerlaghof.
For the ride back to Venlo with Peter and Jan we were joined by chum Oliver who rode 50km in his Mango to my house, then rode with us for 10km towards Venlo before having to head directly home as he was running short of time. He had a 107km round trip to ride with us for 10km. But it was great to see him again!
I waved the Wowbaggers off on the train (it had been good to see them) and rode home.
The next day I rode back to Venlo, this time with Lara, to collect my husband James who was coming for a two week visit.
James came by bike (via the Hook of Holland ferry and train) as we will be doing a cycle tour together mid-September.
Ines from Berlin visits
A few days after James arrived my friend Ines came for a long weekend. She lives in Berlin but I hadn’t been able to see her when I was there at the beginning of the month – fortunately she had some holiday and decided to spend it with me in Niederrhein!
Ines has a friend in Berlin who really recommended visiting the church in Kevelaer which is just 40km away so we headed there by car one day to have a look around.
The first church we saw was quite new – it’s St Antonius. I loved the colour of the interior, very light and airy.
It had beautiful hinges on the doors.
The next church we visited was the Basilika St Marien which is the focal point of pilgrimage in this area. It had amazing decoration inside and although I don’t usually like over-decorated churches I found this one rather appealing!
There was also another smaller chapel which had been the original building at the end of the pilgrimage.
And then another church which was full of shields/badges that people had (presumably) carried with them on pilgrimages. The range of places, names and styles was very interesting!
We also did some general wandering around and looking in shops.
Another day we cycled to Straelen and enjoyed some waffles (photos below), and James posed beside this Penny Farthing.
Ines tried Penelope of course!
It was lovely to see Ines again (the last time I had seen her was at the start of my Berlin to London trip in 2012).
Lara painted the wall in my study as the wallpaper was a bit marked after we moved a wardrobe.
I have been applying for a few selected part-time jobs here. I’ve had one rejection and was offered an interview by one job although I actually turned that down as when I got the full job details it turned out to be full time and looked rather boring. I still have a few irons in the fire and hope for some success soon.
Poppy had a visit from the Hundefriseurin (dog groomer) and she is now sporting a very good short haircut – now winter is coming!
Cakes this month
This has been a shorter report than normal (yes, really!) due to all my visitors – I’ve been doing so much that I’ve had very little time to write my blog. But I’ll be on tour with James in a few days’ time (we are doing the Ruhrtal Radweg) so expect daily posts about the cold weather and the rain…