day 11

Today's ride:

And the ride so far:

Each day, we plug in a town or village arund 40-50 miles away into and to see what our accommodation options are. In this case, there was precisely one guesthouse which had no free rooms and one hotel within a sensible distance of where we wanted to be. The hotel had rooms. We'd be going to Brielle, then.

Our host asked if she could take a photo of us before we set off, so I handed her my iPhone too to take another.

The driveway, heading for the gates at the top.

Back across the bridge over the river.

Where a boat was passing through the lock.

And back onto the track we'd come down the day before.

With some very complicated instruction (which Ian tells me says 'No motorised vehicles allowed on the track except for the people who live down there').

Hey, a tree-lined avenue!

We had a bit of a headwind this morning.

Into the first town.

Where my foot was suddenly very loose on the pedal. Removed it to find the cleat at a very rakish angle.

I affected an actual repair! Ok, so I initially put the cleat back on upside-down, but that doesn't count, I are an engineer.

One of the threads had stripped, so it was only held on with one bolt, so we decided to have a look in the town for a cycle shop. The shoes had done around 8,000 miles, so it wouldn't be unreasonable to replace them.

Pulling up in the high-street, I went to retrieve my wallet from my pannier. To find it wasn't there. I called the guesthouse to find out whether I'd left it there. While she looked, I had a horrible feeling I remembered temporarily putting it into the pocket of my shorts and then not transferring it to the pannier.

We decided to start cycling back. I reckoned that if I had set off with it in my pocket, it wouldn't have stayed there long, so was likely close to the guesthouse. But we cycled all the way back (about six miles) and didn't find it.

Because I have good mirrors on the trike, I generally cycle to the left of Eric so I can spot cars approaching from behind and pull in. It had been in my right pocket, which meant it would have fallen pretty much into the middle of the road where the next person along would probably have spotted it.

Ho hum. I called my bank and cancelled my cards. They offered to wire me some cash via Western Union, but that would have meant diverting to a WU office somewhere, so Eric kindly offered to be my Bank of Netherlands.

Retracing our steps did at least provide the opportunity to take an extra couple of guesthouse shots.

So, 13 miles in, we were back where we'd got to before.

Our route took us to Willemstad, a walled town Eric wanted to visit and which we were told was very pretty, then across a bridge. The bridge had two lifting sections, the first of which was raised, with very long tail-backs.

We would be crossing it later, but right now were headed to Willemstad.

As we got sight of the moat and outer side of the wall, Eric took a photo. His two-wheeled bike means he has to stop to do this.

The wall.

Eric's windmill detector was activated, and we turned right.

They're quite noisy close up.

The town itself was, as advertised, very pretty. We found a coffee shop.

There were some sofas with cute (gas-fuelled) fire pits.

No, the wine wasn't ours, Eric had gone native and was drinking coffee while I was still remaining resolutely English.

We were 22 miles in, so cake was legal.

It started raining while we were there, so we decided to sit it out.

We watched a couple of boats arrive and do very competent 180s before mooring. They were, naturally, equipped with bikes.

There were one or two boats there. usually charges your card immediately, but not always, so I thought given my cards had now been cancelled, I'd better check. Just as well I did, as the booking said my card would be charged 'within 72 hours.' I had visions of the hotel trying to charge the card, being refused and cancelling our booking.

I tried to call the hotel, but the number on the website was wrong. I called, they called the hotel and said all would be well: the hotel would hold the booking regardless.

With that and the rain done, we set off for the bridge. This appeared to be on a slip-road to join the motorway, but it declared itself to be a cycle path so we trusted it.

The bridge was, by this time, back in its horizontal form.

There was an island in the middle.

Before the second bridge. This was about a mile long, and we of course had a headwind.

This was the first let-down we'd experienced in Dutch cycling facilities. This is a two-way road, barely wide enough for two cars, with no separate cycling provision or even marked cycle lane.

And then back into the countryside.

With pretty houses.

It had started raining again. Not heavily, more a fine mist. But we were on day 11 of a 12-day ride, and this was only the third time we'd needed to put on our jackets, and the first time for more than a few minutes.

There was one part of the route that gave us just a tiny bit of concern: a ferry across a small river on a small road. If it wasn't running when we got there, it would be quite a detour. Fortunately, it was.

The length of the ferry was about half the width of the river.

After the ferry, the cycle path claimed to be closed for no good reason that we could see. There were a couple of local cyclists on it, so we followed their example.

At the next junction, my GPS wanted to go straight on while Eric's wanted to go left. Our simple approach to resolving these instances was to follow whichever one showed the shorter distance to go, which in this case was Eric's.

My GPS, however, grew increasingly insistent that this was a Bad Idea, pointing to a stretch of water we would be unable to cross. We stopped to check, and Eric's GPS insisted that everything was fine while mine declared that it would all end in tears.

We decided to be brave, and finally spotted a cycle path map which confirmed that Eric's GPS was right,

I showed it to my GPS, which remained unimpressed. Perhaps it thought the cycle path was still a railway line.

On we went.

It was very pretty. At one point, my GPS said that we were going to end up in the middle of a river. I shouldn't have scoffed at it; it was right - the path went onto an ismuth.

The route off of same appeared to be a bridge which turned out not to exist, but fortunately there was a second one off to one side.

My route would have involved quite a lot of oil refineries. Eric's route couldn't really compete.

But I suffered in silence. It had been quite a long day, but we finally reached the outskirts of Brielle.

Opposite this lake was a supermarket. As it was ten to eight, and restaurants in small towns have a habit of closing very early, it did occur to me that we might be returning here for dinner ...

Brielle was another walled town.

With, you know, old stuff. I must confess that by this time my main interest was newer stuff. Food. Wifi. Baths. That sort of stuff.

We found the hotel, which had on-site bike parking, and found this welcome message in our rooms.

That sounded good to me after 50 miles and a certain amount of rain.

We both had fish-and-chips. It wasn't a bad effort, for Dutchies, but we really ought to have explained that vegetables are not usually involved.

We did have some fruit with it, of course.

Which ran out. I tried to order another glass, but it was only available by the bottle. Oh well, needs must.

We were now very close to Hook of Holland, so would have a relaxing final day before the overnight ferry crossing home.