day 10

Today's ride:

And the ride so far:

We didn't get up terribly early. We disposed of the evidence of last night's grape juice record and I cooked bacon and scrambled eggs. It was good to have freshly-cooked fluffy eggs rather than the more rubbery version provided at hotels.

In principle, we should have been headed to Bergen Op Zoom today, but we had diverted north somewhat to visit Dave, and it was, er, close to noon by the time we left. We thus decided to head directly west and see what we could find accommodation-wise.

We really struck it lucky there as you'll see later. The route was coming out around 37 miles, which turned into 40 with the usual diversions.

The first part of the ride followed the river.

It has to be said that the next part of the ride was not expecially scenic, following main roads and seemingly in 'Find Roadworks' mode.

But things then improved.

At one point, we chased down a peleton and managed to pass it.

The Dutch seem to go in for these walls a lot. I have to say they do look cute.

We had the usual mix of cycling surfaces, but found some smooth stuff.

At the halfway point, we started looking out for tea-shops. Which seemed to be in short supply. We pulled into one mini retail park with a cafe - which was closed. I accosted a very nice lady in the car-park and she suggested we head back the way we'd come, crossing our route, and check in the town square.

A second set of directions from someone else brought us to a cafe that was a little bit amateur hour.

The waitress brought our teas. Or rather, she brought hot water, cups, saucers, sugar, milk and coconut cookies. Just not any actual tea.

We rectified this. The impressive cake list also turned out to be ficticious, with only a few of them actually available, but we managed. (I had to restart my GPS earlier, so the mileage logged isn't correct but the distance to go is.)

We aso visited a cash machine. There was a queue of cyclists which we joined, and I took a photo of some decorative handlebars.

A sculpture on the way out of the town.

We hit a little traffic en-route.

Must find out what these are about - you see quite a few of them in fields, always on their own.

Roundabout sculptures are also popular here.

Back to a brick surface, which pleased the kid on the left. He didn't like being overtaken, and stood on the pedals to overtake us before slowing again so that we passed him again. The trike has to take brick surfaces a little slowly, though, so he was proudly able to overtake again.

Dave had mentioned that Dutch petrol prices were even higher than the UK, which scarcely seemed possible, but he wasn't kidding.

Fortunately, living close to the Belgian border he can generally fill up there.

Some random prettiness en-route.

My GPS took us on an equally random tour of a town, but it was quite pretty.

Then back onto the open road.

More random prettiness.

My GPS route took us across the top of a dyke.

Buying a house at the foot of a dyke seems a little brave.

The GPS turned us onto a dirt track, declaring that we were almost there.

Which we were. Just on the wrong side of the river. Fortunately, there was a bridge a little further on.

Backtracking down the correct side of the river.

The guesthouse was a standalone cottage on a farm, and was absolutely fantastic. We had the whole place to ourselves, and were welcomed with cold drinks, snacks, wine and the offer of a lift into the nearest town for dinner. This was my room.

And the living-room.

In-room tea and coffee facilities.

If you ever need somewhere to stay near Steenbergen, I can highly recommend

Our host picked us up at 7.30pm and delivered us to a very nice brasserie in Steenbergen. Just the one bottle of wine tonight ...

We were given her card to call for a lift back when we were ready - great service!