day 07

Today's ride:

And the ride so far:

The guesthouse wifi had gone from slow to catatonic, but was much better in the breakfast room in the main house, so we were able to plot our route and find accommodation.

The route-plotting was a little fiddly, as Basecamp likes waypoints but is fairly poor at finding good cycle routes, while ridewithgps is great at finding good cycle routes but appears to offer no easy way to insert waypoints. I used an unholy mishmash of the two, but can't believe no-one has come up with a better system. I shall have to peruse some cycling and GPS forums at some stage.

Farewell to the guesthouse.

And you'll never guess what we found next? A tree-lined road!

The first town, just a few miles down the road, was Vento. There was an interesting-looking sculpture, so we hopped across the bridge for a look.

Hmm. The architecture nearby was more to my taste.

There was a pleasant-looking area that I suspected would be gearing up for lots of locals with picnics later in the day.

We thought we might be able to follow the path alongside the left-hand bank of the river, but it didn't last long, and the GPS was suggesting we follow the right-hand path instead, so we nipped over a bridge.

Which seemed to do the trick.

Though the view of the river did sometimes look a little like the sea views we often had last year.

And the path did wander in quite a long way from the river in places.

But it was lovely cycling.

We thought after a while that we'd better head inland a bit, in order to hook up with a purveyor of cyclist fuel.

The towns seemed to happen along quite regularly, though the route did get rather rural in between them. We thought better of this one.

Half a mile further down was a better alternative, with concrete path alongside the dirt.

Which twisted and turned and rejoined the other end of the track.

This seemed a popular spot for taking in the view, so we took a look.

There was an eatery at one town, but we weren't quite at the halfway point yet, so decided to press on a little further.

We figured the next place was close enough for government work. It was a very pleasant spot.

JW had said that a local speciality was Vlaai, so in the interests of furthering our understanding of Dutch culture, we tried some.

It's kind of a pie with turnover-type pastry. Or, to put it more succinctly, yummy.

My only concern with the location was that I appeared to have turned into a pylon-spotter, noticing that of the three pylons in view, each was of a different design. If you know why this is, please don't bother to tell me.

Suitably refuelled, we headed on toward the southern-most corner of the trip.

Chain? Check. Padlock? Check. I still can't help feeling these gates are missing something.

We passed through a succession of small towns. Patriotism was in evidence.

I'm not sure why I took this. Probably because it wasn't a tree-lined avenue.

My GPS at one point wanted to turn left and do what appeared to be three sides of a square. I thought I knew better and went straight on.

It knew better. We hit a motorway with no obvious means across. Some zooming and scrolling was required to navigate a network of small country paths.

Which did eventually put us back on our route. I think I heard my GPS give a little sigh.

The Dutch, like many nations, do seem to like their roadside shrines.

With ten miles to go, Eric became suddenly concerned that we might arrive at our hotel before our rooms were ready. By a remarkable coincidence, the very spot at which his concern arose proved to be occupied by an ice-cream place.

Well, I guess if we're going to sit in their seats, we have to order something.

And onto the final stretch, which gave us a moderate headwind.

Eric spotted a windmill which he declared looked "properly old," and got off his bike to take a photo. I could see no good reason for such wanton expenditure of energy.

It was indeed properly old. 1730, from memory.

And then we were in Weert.

I guess they like their football here.

The GPS route throught the backstreets to our hotel was an involved one, but it appeared to know what it was talking about.

As always, I'd requested safe parking for our bikes. The receptionist said that bike theft was a big problem there, and we should be careful leaving them unattended even for a minute. I brought mine inside the hotel while we checked in.

The hotel had underground parking with a steel shutter, operated from reception. Bearing in mind her warning, we used two D-locks to lock them to each other and to a steel railing.

I had a very, very long bath. We then walked into the town centre, just around the corner, to find somewhere for dinner. The first place was very noisy, so we tried the second, which was a Greek restaurant.

We decided to do things properly and do the Greek wine too. It wasn't the best wine we'd had this trip, but when in Greece and all that ...

And hey, we got a couple of free glasses of Ouzo each.

It was 9pm by the time we ate; despite our cake and ice-cream fest earlier, I was ready for food by then!

Tomorrow we'd have an easy day to somewhere in the vicinity of Eindhoven.