NL2018 Day 3: Haaksbergen to Hardenberg

Monday 11 June 2018

This was our planned route for the day:

But we actually ended up doing this route:

As you can see, the route changed to pass south of Enschede (route supplied by Gert) and then we did a unplanned diversion to Nordhorn in Germany.

We didn’t sleep brilliantly despite our lovely accommodation because there were flies and mosquitoes that were buzzing right by our heads as we were trying to sleep. We managed to swat a few but the majority escaped our murderous tendencies.

This meant we woke up with lots of new bites. I had developed a rash on my neck; this is a new one to me, although when touring I often get a rash on my right arm where it touches the side of the Velomobile and on my legs. It seems I am a bit allergic to sweat. Anyway, the neck rash was new and super-itchy and Klaus was also suffering in the crook of his left elbow.

Breakfast had been in our fridge when we arrived yesterday and it was a selection of bread, cheese, ham, salami, egg. There was also peanut butter and other condiments, pure orange and tea. We ate well and then it was time to get the bikes out of the garage.

They had had a luxurious night in such a large garage!

We left just after nine in the morning. The planned route was 95km with the Enschede diversion. Fortunately only the first 500 metres were this ‘off road’ Fietspad.

Today’s roads were almost all easy and fast. We probably rode for half of the time on a dedicated cycle path beside the road and the other half on the road as it was a quiet country lane. We started at a fairly leisurely pace; I found 22 km/h was comfortable but not much more – I needed to warm up! It was a cooler day too which was a bonus. Later in the day our cruising speed increased to 28-30.

We were rolling well and didn’t need to stop until about 45km when we spotted a Biergarten that was open. It turned out to be only half open, in that they were only serving tea and coffee and no cake, so we had a tea and a coffee and then hit on the idea to do a 10km diversion to Nordhorn in Germany to find some proper cake. I also needed to get some cash out and would have to pay a fee in NL but could find a German cash point for free, hopefully!

So we headed to Nordhorn, stopping off on the way at one of my suppliers at work to say hello. My contact was most surprised to see me at his office and dressed like a cyclist! We asked him to recommend somewhere to eat cake and he gave us directions, so we were soon on our way.

We had a sandwich each first, and then the cake course. I haven’t yet had a piece of cake in NL on this trip!!

We weren’t in a hurry but did have a further 60km to ride so after stopping a bank to get some cash we headed back to the Netherlands.

From this point on the route was great – country lanes where we barely saw any cars, fast cycle lanes beside busier roads, a few villages.

We were a bit surprised by a hill between Ootmarsum and the excellently-named Nutter. I winched myself up the long, gradual climb and had a drink at the top.

The scenery was very green, once again lots of fields of cows and sheep.

We also saw these bands around lots of trees along our route. They are a warning of the Oak Processionary caterpillar

We saw a lot of these trees and as our rashes (my neck, Klaus’s elbow) became more itchy we put two and two together and realised that we must have been exposed to some of the caterpillar hairs while riding. I guess if they are airborne they could have landed on my neck, and Klaus rides with his arms out in Humphrey quite a lot.

Apparently an antihistamine of the Cetirizine variety will help a lot with the itching. We have two packets of these back at home in Kempen but not with us; we saw them in a Dutch supermarket at a pretty high price but will probably get some tomorrow as the itching is no fun. Klaus had this on his legs during his solo tour two summers ago and it took two weeks before the itching stopped.

This was of course a minor inconvenience. The day itself was great, especially as it wsn’t so hot. It was about 21 degrees in the afternoon which is pretty perfect.

Here are a couple of Klaus’s photos:

We stopped at a supermarket 20km from our destination and had a magnum/yoghurt drink before the last section to Hardenberg which was fast and fun, although there were quite a lot of other cyclists on the paths.

Our hosts were a very pleasant couple who made us a cuppa and looked after us well, including washing and hanging out our clothing.

We went for a meal in Hardenberg which was OK but not spectacular. I actually got a bit chilly as it was quite windy where we were sitting and it is definitely getting cooler.

Tomorrow is our longest planned day at 121km to Groningen. We are staying at a B&B rather than Vrienden op de Fiets.

Today’s ride ended up at 111,8km at an average of 21.3 km/h. We both really enjoyed the route today and are hoping for similar tomorrow.

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