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England and the Netherlands

October 8, 2010

So firstly sorry for the lack of posts, we’ve had a few issues with our old computer but now in Prague we’re back online and drinking some beers to boot so all is well.  Here’s a quick run down on what we’ve been upto –

The leaving day

Wake up feeling as though it’s just another day so hit the snooze button, despite all the the last minute preparations to be done.  Feeling the bike fully laden i’m seriously unsure of how i’m going to ride this thing for 10 months.  Late to leave, we realise that sashas rack isn’t looking so great, it’s wobbling all over the shop so we race to the nearest bike shop and plead with the guy that we’re leaving on a world tour and so skip the queue – Never under estimate the power of a fully laden bike and a sad face.

After an emotional departure from my house were off into the Essex countryside with some pre-made sandwiches (thanks mum) and some left over pizza.  Our late start has left us in a sticky situation with the ferry leaving at 11pm we decide that its best to say goodbye to the parents in Marks Tey at a reasonable time and head to the ferry via the train for the last few miles.  Cycling on to the boat –  this is all becoming quite real.

The Netherlands –

Looking lost in the Hook of Holland fresh off the boat we experience our first taste of generosity and only 5 minutes off the boat!  Conny invites for tea, some bread and some grated parmesan before she heads to church.  She’s a happy single lady she tells us and has a fine view of the Stena line from her kitchen window.  After a brief explanation of our trip we bid farewell and head off into the white abyss – the air thick with moist fog.  Cycling in Holland is super easy, the bike paths gently guide you from place to place and you really don’t need a map.   Guided past Rotterdam on our way to the first camp spot we found on the internet, we see some abandoned buildings, their guts spilled out – Check out Tim Edensor for the joys of industrial ruins .  Finding our stomachs rumbling we make friends with a kebab shop and he gives us a good deal on some meat and chips.

We make our way along the dyke towards one of the few free camping (government allowed) spots in the area.  What we thought would be a gentle cycle has turned into a bit of a slog but we’re looking forward to setting up camp for the first time and getting the stove burning.  Finally we come across the hallowed free camping sign – despite being nowhere near where we thought we would and set up camp on a small island surrounded by water and complete with our very own water pump.

Enormously excited that the site is available Sash rushes over the slim wooden bridge and slips over, slightly sodden and smelling distinctly swampy we dry his stuff and get started on setting up and cooking dinner. 4 portions of pasta and mushrooms entail and we head to bed ready to hit it early tomorrow.

Laughing at the free camping logo – we still haven’t grown up, we head off in the early morning mist.  Stopping at the first house i enlist my best rendition of “Mack ik drink water gusubleeft.” Works a treat.  As we headed towards Tiel the rain started and became rapidly worse, 30km/h average seemed the best way to deal with it so we ripped along until we arrived in Tiel slighlty drenched.  Stocking up on paprika crisps and other lunchtime goodies we bartered with a kebab shop to allow us to eat in the dry if we bought some chips.  He obliged and we made chip, cheese, smearkass (A dutch treat sasha proclaims – tastes like PVA with a few bits of bacon in it!) sandwiches.

We cross the water to Wassel and make quick sharp to our proposed destination – a campsite just outside of Nijmegen.  Approaching the city a huge indsutrial site looms ontop of the landscape, plooms of smoke dominate the sky.

We get directions from some cleaners in the city.  It’s a long wet road and approaching 100km in the rain the funny side is beginning to fade – we push on driven by the prospect of a warm shower.  We negotiate a price reduction for some wet brits arriving late.  Sweetening the deal further we’re told there is a sauna.  Warm showers make the world of difference and the sauna soothes our aches – Back to feeling normal and then some! After a great meal of pasta, frankfurters and mushrooms we head to bed.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Nick Craddock permalink
    October 8, 2010 8:51 pm

    a great read – look forward to further progress updates.

  2. Tessa permalink
    October 15, 2010 1:27 pm

    all sounds great fun as well as a real challenge – hope the bums are not too sore – look forward to more installments, All The Best!

  3. Tessa permalink
    October 15, 2010 2:31 pm

    all sounds great fun as well as a real challenge – hope you are not too saddle sore! – look forward to more installments, All The Best!

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