Old Zeeland

Current Location:Alkmaar, Holland

I found it more than a little difficult to get out of Brugges even though I was only there for 2 days.  I could easily have found myself sticking around a few more days enjoying more hot chocolate and breads.  But I figure being on the road is a bit cheaper.  I ran into one girl who was panicking because she couldn’t make her flight to Ireland due to the whole volcano thing and my only advice to her was enjoy it, you’re in friggen Brugges.

Border crossing in Europe is a lot more different than what I’m used to in Asia or even America for that matter.  It’s as if borders barely exist, the only significant change that can immediately be seen is the signage is different and then the language of signs also shifts, sometimes more slowly than the symbols themselves.  Crossing into the Flemish area cycling becomes a lot more prevalent as well with every age group cycling, along with the ”pills” (what I call the speed freaks in their Lycra outfits.)  And now that I’m in Holland pelotons can form up around me as I wait at traffic lights, it’s weird because at that point all I’m thinking is don’t fall over.

I met a group of 6 french kids cycling north so I kinda tagged along with them for a few days making it as far as Rotterdam with them.  It was fun not having to navigate for a few days, mostly because I lacked even a map to navigate with as I planned on picking that up at the visitor information but it was closed the day I crossed over.  I did enjoy having company, even it was for two days.  They spoke pretty good English and we stopped a lot for coffee or beer depending on what time of day it was.  Their pace was a lot slower than what i’m used to but it was good to change, I kinda figure I’m probably doing at least 140k a day (this is based on the fact that I typically cycle for 9 hours a day and my average speed back in NZ was about 12mph putting me around that distance.

Spending some time in the Zeeland region was nice, lots of beaches and camping grounds.  Some towns are centered around the camping which makes me wonder what happens to them in the off season.  They must evaporte into thin air until the following year.  Getting into Rotterdam was a bit hecktic as it is either the biggest or busiest shipping port in the world which meant a lot of lorries moving freight around.  Luckiliy I am in Holland which means cyclists typically get their own lane and when they don’t motorist are well aware of who has the right of way.  I got into Rotterdam to find a map of the country and spent way to much on a map which I’ll probably barely use, but at least I have something to look at while I sip my coffee in the morning. 

I got out of Rotterdam with no particular target in mind and ended up in the outskirts of Lielle.  I figured on waking up the next morning it would be worth visiting the Kuekenhof gardens, kinda like the Disneyland of flowers.  It certainly had that atmosphere with a huge parking lot full of buses disgorging their passengers and ice cream and hot dogs for sale on the grounds.  It certainly is a sight to see all these gardens and a photographers dream really, I probably took over 100 pictures which I’ll let mom sort through when I get home.  I think it ended up being worth the visit.

I’ll post pictures when I get a computer that allows me to work on them, so far the library computers don’t allow it.  It’s gonna be a huge task.

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